Last year, in the midst of the biggest festival of Cluj, Uber thought it would be a good idea to start its services here, too. Naturally, the demand was a lot higher than the local drivers could support, so Uber supplemented its drivers from other cities of Romania. Despite the small scandals that arose between local taxi companies and Uber, the initiative cought on and soon I also decided to try it out.
My first rides were small disasters, but I decided to overlook the fact, that the first few drivers had no idea where I was and went to completely different quarters to pick me up, after all, they were newbie drivers. It is true, that I never had such an issue with a local taxi driver, it did happen though, that Uber had a car to pick me up, while NONE of the local taxi companies could get me a car in a reasonable time. So, related to the ease of finding a ride, the local taxi companies do not have a clear advantage: after the first few hard pickups, the Uber drivers got the hang of it and could eventually pick me up in time regularly 😉 .
So what about price? Well, normally it is a bit more expensive than a taxi. There are, however, many promo codes, which reduced the price quite significantly… There is also, a minimum price you have to pay, no matter what. I’d say depending on where you want to go Uber can become much more expensive than a taxi.
So, why would I pay more for Uber? Well, for starters, I do not pay the driver (i.e. no cash involved), Uber simply charges my registered credit card, depending on the ride, the promo code or sometimes, the weather :). HUGE advantage for Uber, welcome to the 21st century, local taxi companies 😉 . Another reason why I’d pay more for Uber: the ride quality. On average it is miles better than a local taxi. I also found out why: Uber drivers do it for fun, taxi drivers do it cause they have to… imagine the difference in attitude.
Unfortunately, a couple of months ago the local authorities decided to interpret the law in a way which brough Cluj back to the 20th century: Uber is banned in the city. I mean, if there is something old and not working, why would we even try to change it? Really disappointed… this is not the city attitude I got used to in my 13.5 years living here… at least it should have been a wake-up call to taxi companies: it is possible to do MUCH better!