Student View: How I Survive Without Uber

Uber is every college student’s lifeline, right? At least, I know that’s how it is at my university. Well, how it was.

I go to school in Austin, Texas. My freshman year, we Ubered everywhere. I didn’t have a car at school with me, and neither did a lot of my friends. I used Uber to get to restaurants, parties, events…pretty much everywhere.

And then, it happened. On May 9, 2016, Uber left the city of Austin as a reaction to regulations enacted by the city requiring Uber drivers to go through extensive background checks, placing limits on pick-up and drop-off spots, and more.

Once Uber left, all the students around me went crazy! Though this may not seem like a big deal, Uber was how we got… everywhere. Most students had never even used a taxi in their life (I know I hadn’t). Things were about to get really different, or so we thought. We were about to learn how to survive without Uber.

Initial Struggles

So, Uber left Austin on May 9th. I left Austin to go home for the summer on May 18th. This gave me a bit of time to figure out how this whole thing was going to work. And let me tell you, it did not start off smoothly.

A friend dropped me off at a restaurant downtown to meet up with someone for dinner. We enjoyed our time, got the check, and then realized we couldn’t just click a button on our phone to have an Uber arrive within 3 minutes. Then, we also realized, neither of us had any idea how to call a taxi. After some googling and calling, we finally got in contact with a cab service on the phone.

“Yeah, yeah. I can be there in like 30 minutes.”

30 minutes?!

After just one experience, we had already learned the adjustment wasn’t going to be a happy one.

Saving Grace

After a few months of distress and avoiding going anywhere further than walking distance, something came about that made our survival a bit easier- alternate transportation apps! Finally!

Ride Austin, Fare, and Fasten were all new developments that sprouted up in efforts to ease the pain of the loss of Uber for all of us sad, desperate college students. These ride share apps work about the same as Uber- download an app, set your location, and click “request.” We could all venture out into the city once again.

Now, these apps weren’t perfect. They were still adjusting to the large amounts of people searching for rides in such a populated city, and things took a little bit longer than Uber. But, we weren’t complaining. 10 minutes is a lot better than 30 minutes with a taxi.

For me, I’ve had the best experience with Fare. They seem to arrive the quickest, and I’ve had only good experiences with the drivers. I don’t use Ride Austin as much, just because they always seem to have a longer wait period for rides.

Living life Uber-Free

Now, it is months later, and though there is talk of it, Uber has not returned to Austin. However, I have to say that I’ve mostly adjusted to living Uber-free.

The other ride share apps such as Ride Austin, Fare, and Fasten, have all proven to be very adequate substitutes. However, I do hope Uber will return to Austin one day as they still run more efficiently it seems, and they have more frequent “rewards” such as ride credit and free rides.

Maybe one day, but as of now, I will remain strong and continue to survive these hard, hard times without Uber.
Have you tried an alternative ride sharing app? Which is your favorite? We want to hear your opinions!

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