Can I travel to and from Paris using just Uber? I tried


aWhen I arrived at the Sunday Times newsroom at 7.30am on a Friday morning, I was hoping to finish work early, have a fun evening with my girlfriend, and then hit the road for the weekend. But my editor had other ideas.

“Go to Paris,” he barked. A long weekend for the two of you to explore the bars and restaurants of the City of Lights? Not likely. Since Uber now claims to be able to provide us with almost everything, he told me to use as many modes of transportation as possible to get to the Eiffel Tower and back, all via the Uber app. I ordered a test to see if it could be done. By the way, just as I was about to step out of the office, he called out to me, “Don't eat.” Or have a drink, unless it’s from Uber.

Things seem to be improving for Uber. The company reported its first quarterly profit of £255m in August after 10 years in the red. “For most of our company's history, when you asked someone about Uber, the word 'profitability' was not the first thing that came up,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said. . Since its founding, the company has been trying to expand by borrowing money to provide customers with cheap rides, losing billions of dollars in the process. In another bid for growth, the company is also working to diversify its offerings. These days, his five million Uber users in the UK can use the app to book flight and train tickets, and even order takeaways delivered to their doorstep. So I spent the next day putting Uber through its paces, traveling by boat, bike, train, and even ordering a bouquet of flowers through the app.

After collecting her passport and phone charger, Rice hops into an Uber outside her home and heads to St. Pancras International.

After collecting her passport and phone charger, Rice hops into an Uber outside her home and heads to St. Pancras International.

Joshua Blatt, Sunday Times

ferry

I headed to the lift, mentally plotting my route to the Eurostar terminal, when I realized my passport was back at my apartment in south London. I dashed towards the London Bridge stop for my Uber boat. The 10 minute ticket cost him a searing £8.60 and I winced a bit as I watched the sights go by.

Electric bicycle

From the London Eye pier, I used Uber to rent one of Lime Bikes, the green and white electric bikes that dot the city (and sometimes the Thames). The bike worked fine, although the front basket contained a half-eaten fried chicken leg. In ten minutes I completed the two-mile journey to Kennington's apartment.

car

After getting my passport and phone charger (which is very important for any app-based adventure), I gingerly booked a car with Uber. Since the coronavirus outbreak, waiting times have increased significantly in London due to a driver shortage. He had a Eurostar train leaving King's Cross in less than an hour, but would he make it in time? My driver said he would arrive in 7 minutes and was carefully assessing his chances. But, he added, “nothing is impossible.” As I was driving, I booked a Eurostar ticket on the Uber app. It's surprisingly easy and you don't have to enter your credit card details for the £230 fare as was required on the Eurostar site.

london eurostar

We arrive in St. Pancras just before 9am and hop onto the waiting Eurostar. It's a blissfully smooth and relaxing feeling. Two and a half hours later, we arrived at Gare du Nord, with its pleasant views over the Gallic countryside. But that's when things started to fall apart.

plane

Uber told me I could buy tickets through the app, so I decided to fly home. I had already seen lots of seats available in the UK, but when I tried to book with Uber, no flights showed up at all. It turns out you can only buy tickets with Uber when you're in the UK.

paris eurostar

So, shivering under my watch in the chilly Gare du Nord, I switched the app to Eurostar, only to find that seats were in very short supply. There were only two cases at 15:42 and one case at 16:09. The price for each was well over £200, but as there was no other way to get home, it was the only option available. Then, when I tried to buy tickets in a hurry, the app started glitching.

Every time I tried to pay, the same red message appeared on the loading screen. “We are unable to process your request at this time. Please try again later.”

But after that, it wasn't there. Soon her tickets for 16:09 were sold out, leaving her with one option: 15:42. It was 1:15 p.m. Can I go to the Eiffel Tower and come back by then? perhaps. But it was all academic as the error message kept popping up. I started thinking about spending the night at the Gare du Nord.

Eventually, after “hotspotting” my phone signal with a Sunday Times photographer in Paris, the app started working slowly and I got a ticket. (I'm still not sure if this is my problem or Uber's.)

The Uber app now offers electronic tickets that give you access to the entire Paris public transport network

The Uber app now offers electronic tickets that give you access to the entire Paris public transport network

nathan line

Metro

Now it's Uber Transit's turn. The app provided me with an electronic ticket that gave me access to the entire public transport network in the city. wonderful! It even told me which route to take by simply swiping my phone on the fence. So we took the metro to Trocadero station and soon arrived at Europe's most famous landmark.

French cuisine

I hadn't been to Paris since I was a toddler, so I couldn't help but stare up at the Eiffel Tower for a while until I realized I was hungry. So I launched his Uber Eats and ordered McDonald's, the epitome of French cuisine.

While waiting for the 20-minute delivery, I took a quick tour around the area on Lime's bike, and at 2:15 p.m. on time, the driver offered me cheese (Quentin Tarantino would have been proud) and a piping hot Royale. They delivered a portion of (very delicious). ) french fries.

Rice rented a Lime bike using the Uber app and took a short tour of Paris before returning home.

Rice rented a Lime bike using the Uber app and took a short tour of Paris before returning home.

nathan line

taxi in paris

As I munched, I suddenly realized that my train to St. Pancras was leaving in less than an hour. I ordered an Uber taxi and it arrived so quickly in 2 minutes that I had to pack a box of fries.

I was really happy with the quick response. We were soon stuck in Paris' infamous traffic jams. At 3pm, with 10 minutes to spare before the Eurostar gates closed, I got out of the car and parked in my place. I managed to rush into the customs office just two minutes before it closed.What did the people involved think about this sweating? roast beef I don't know as I was a straggler with no luggage, but they let me through and I was quickly settled into a seat on the way back to St. Pancras.

Rice opens an Uber Eat takeout for a picnic at the Eiffel Tower.

Rice opens an Uber Eat takeout for a picnic at the Eiffel Tower.

nathan line

food and flowers

Ordering my last lime of the day on the London Uber app, I cycled back to the News UK building on Tower Bridge, feeling pretty happy to have returned home victorious. But I had to order groceries when I got home and flowers for my girlfriend who was expecting to go to the movies on Friday night to keep the house fires burning. had to order. Uber organized dinner for me, but I couldn't get roses because the florist was closed. I ordered it the next day instead.

verdict

Overall, aside from the heart-stopping glitch at Gare du Nord, Uber performed pretty well. But without full international integration, it will be some time before it becomes the seamless travel tool it aims to be. My advice to anyone traveling around the world with Uber is to plan your trip in advance instead of booking it on the spot like you would a taxi or a meal. And remember, sometimes there's no shame in going back to ancient times and using your feet to get around.



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