Polish Uber’s travels
The first time I got into a car ordered through the application was on the 14th of March 2015. Since then I have taken 312 rides through Uber. Unfortunately, I don’t remember anything from that first ride, but there are a few other rides that I remember perfectly
“We rode down a bypass road, off on the horizon the sun was slowly coming up illuminating the gray serpentines of the road.”
Article by Kamila Szuba
There was a time in my life, exactly three years ago, that I would end nearly every Warsaw party or social gathering, which tended to go on into the early hours of the morning, by telling someone about how Uber works. After giving exact instructions on how to use the application I would say: “You get in and you speed off. You don’t need to have cash on you. The bank and the application take care of everything. You just get a notification of how much they charged.” I had no personal interest in this. I did it because I had really fallen in love with Uber, thanks to how much easier it had made my life. I wanted to praise it and help it make others’ lives easier as well.
A UNIVERSAL REMEDY
Ever since I can remember, I have found it difficult calling a taxi on the phone. I hated doing it, especially in the middle of the night, when it would be difficult to get through, and once I did, I would sometimes end up having to convince a stranger over the phone that the intersection at which I was currently standing did in fact really exist.
Uber had also won over my heart with its payment method; I no longer had to carry cash. Since I live on the outskirts of Warsaw, fifteen kilometers away from the city center, every weekend ride with a regular taxi company would cost me a small fortune. To top this off, the price could fluctuate by even 1/3 – it seemed to be dictated merely by the mood the driver might currently be in. I could never quite calculate what a reasonable rate for a kilometer might actually be or understand where one zone ended and the other began.
People who lived a similar distance from the center as me, but in neighborhoods still within the city limits, paid half of what I was being charged. This felt like a great and incomprehensible injustice.
It was also rarely nice. The vast majority of the drivers were glum and weren’t very talkative, they would listen to irritatingly loud music, and their cars had that specific stench of aged upholstery. They would make snide remarks about the distance, or my heavy baggage or the flowers I received for my birthday.
After these experiences, I was thrilled when I heard about Uber. It was like a cure for all my problems. It didn’t require calling any corporation’s headquarters or having any cash on me. It didn’t care about zones or city limits. The rates I had to pay went down significantly and didn’t depend on what day of the week it was. The impossible became possible. Finally, I felt I was paying a fair price.
YOU MAY READ THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW HERE (page 34-39)
Kamila Szuba – professional photographer, graduate of Polish Philology at University of Warsaw.
Adopted text from Magazyn Miasta / Cities Magazine vol. 2