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Elizabeth Malleus

Pick up artists

Have you ever noticed how few subway stations in New York City are handicap accessible? No? Neither did I, until I fractured my hip. Getting around New York City on crutches, as it turns out, is nearly impossible.

Hail a yellow cab, you say?

Indeed, in the four years that I’ve lived in the city, I’ve been around the block in a few yellow cabs.

During those yellow cab rides, I’ve been rear ended three different times and was once pulled over while a cop gave the cabbie a ticket for an illegal left.

That’s not to mention the drivers who try to bargain a free fair for my phone number, or open the door and vomit while stopped at a red light, or eat out of a Chinese takeout container while also trying to drive, or get out of the car and try to fight the driver of the car beside us. (Yes, all of these things have actually happened to me when taking yellow cabs.)

There’s also the questionable safety of riding in a yellow cab with the speeding and selective-red-light-obedience that some New York City cab drivers feel entitled to.

To say the least, my yellow cab experience has been dismal.

Enter my new brand crush, Uber, an app that allows you to call a car on demand. It totally saved me when I was hobbling around the city this summer.

Uber proves it’s not just about getting from point A to B. It’s about the entire brand experience.

I’ve never felt unsafe riding with Uber and the number one reason is because the drivers do not use their cell phones (or any type of hands free device) while driving. (They don’t eat Chinese takeout while driving either!) I also swoon for Uber when my driver offers me a bottle of water or gum. Better yet, when they have a phone charger hooked up for passengers to use or actually help me with my luggage.

Uber never cramps my style or legroom. You always have a choice when you open the app between calling an electric car (usually my go-to), a black car (usually a Lincoln town car), or an SUV (for when you have more than 4 people or just need extra space).

When you open the app, you can see available cars in your area, pick the type of car you’d like, and see as your driver approaches your location. Everything is taken care of through the app including fare and tip. Pricing is on a sliding scale based on demand and availability, and if I’m riding with a friend we can split the tab right on the app.

When I was on crutches, my choice in transportation was made based on convenience and safety. Uber was always, and is always, available. Middle of the night? No problem. Need to get to the airport at 7 am? Absolutely. You have to be uptown at 6 pm on a weeknight and its pouring rain? You may wait a bit longer and pay a bit more, but Uber can still get you there. Uber is also convenient for the simple reason that I don’t have to deal with paying in cash or swiping my card. I know that sounds menial, but sometimes digging through my purse to find my wallet is like trying to find Waldo when he went to that barber pole factory.

Uber is a complete 180 from my yellow cab experiences. Call me crazy for jumping into a relationship with Uber so quickly, but I much prefer being alive over getting to my destination quickly.

I’m not saying Uber is perfect. We’ve had a few lovers’ spats over their surge pricing and the occasional outlier driver. But compared to my ex yellow cab, my disagreements with Uber seem petty.

Now that I’m back on two feet I’m also back to my daily commute on the subway. I rarely take cabs these days but when I do, Uber is my main squeeze.