When we landed in Ottawa, I thought our hotel was attached the airport. After following signs, asking a security guard, and a taxi captain, I found out it was just beyond the airport, about 2 km away.
The taxi captain said we should take a cab to get there. We got in the line to grab the next cab. When he pulled up, he scowled seeing a family of 4. He had bags and papers all over the front seat. He muttered passive aggressively about having to clean everything up, while my wife waited to get in.He also apparently didn’t know where the hotel was, discussing it for a few minutes with the taxi captain. The hotel was on the one and only road out of the airport, just beyond the grounds. This driver would pass it daily as he served the airport. The 2km trip cost us $10. When we pulled in to the hotel, we found out there was a free shuttle provided by the hotel that the 3 people who worked at the airport we encountered didn’t tell us about.
So that was our taxi experience in Ottawa. Here’s my Uber experience:
Our first ride was to go from this airport hotel to a new hotel downtown. We were greeted by Abubakar in an older Toyota Corolla. He had a big smile. The car was clean. There was no shuffling of papers, he popped the trunk, helped with our gear, and we all got in.
We smiled and chatted for the 15 minute ride to our new hotel downtown. It cost $14. The scene would be repeated when we got in Fraz’s Prius for the $6 ride back to our hotel after wandering around downtown doing some sightseeing. Then Marc picked us up in his Versa and took us to the parliament buildings where we met up with our tour. It cost $8. Then when our sightseeing weekend was done, Stephen’s Montana picked us up at the hotel and took us back to the airport for $15.
Four separate Uber rides over the course of the weekend, each leaps and bounds ahead of the taxi experience. Each driver was happy, friendly, and helpful. It felt like we were getting a ride from a friend doing us a favour rather than a driver who had been on the road all day. The transactions were quick and painless as we each clicked off approvals on our apps. I could easily use PayPal or a credit card to complete the cashless transaction with no sneers ever.
There was no confusion over directions. There was no frantic making room for us. There was no standing on a corner looking around for a ride. I clicked my app, saw someone nearby, asked for them to come, and they did. Each with a smile that made our visit to Ottawa so so so easy.
Calgary doesn’t have Uber. There are hiccups and red tape in City Hall, and even unfortunate name calling. Whether or not it is Uber or another brand, the taxi industry has been disrupted. The sharing economy is friendly, easy, and more affordable. And there’s no turning back.
So while Uber won’t work in the Stampede City, it is a genius tool for when you travel. And they love it when you spread the word. I’m giving you a free ride on the Uber app (up to $15). To accept, use code ‘buzzb5’ to sign up. Enjoy!