Only in Vegas! Uber Stories I Almost Don’t Believe

I travel to Vegas pretty regularly on business and the one thing I’ve come to realize is that Vegas is different.  I know, obvious, right?  But, it’s not just the glitz and glamour or the desire by tourists to party 24/7.  There’s just an eclectic mix of people here and things you just don’t see elsewhere.

Uber hasn’t been in Vegas (legally) very long, but they now have the ability to pick up and drop off passengers from the airport, so the business is growing.  I had heard from someone I knew that there were some crazy stories of Uber rides, so I was curious to hit my first couple of rides in town to ask drivers what they were seeing. I spoke with two separate drivers who shared a few awesome stories with me.

From a fairly benign standpoint, though something I found interesting, I had one driver tell me that Uber’s cut was 20% from Uber X fares, 25% from XL and 35% from select.  Even though Select earns the driver quite a bit more (I think it’s a 50% premium to X) 35% seems like a steep cut.

One driver shared with me the typical “drunk people” stories you might expect in a city like Las Vegas.  There was more than one instance of someone throwing up in the back of his car and even one drunk girl who decided it would be a good idea to change her shirt in the back of his car.  The same driver also shared with me that there were a number of young, rich guys who were doing Uber as a way to meet girls.  Not sure if I buy that one completely as it sounds a bit like water cooler talk.

Another driver story I heard was when a driver dropped someone off at the airport and the customer found out shortly thereafter that his flight was severely delayed.  He had a meeting in Los Angeles 4 hours later that he was now going to miss, unless the Uber driver was willing to drive him there?  He said he drove this customer frequently and had given him his number (something Uber frowns on but I’ve had a number of drivers offer).  He ended up driving the customer to his meeting in LA, though he would only tell me the fare was “quite large”, not how much it was.

Lastly, there was the story of the older wealthy man who has a collection of high-end cars.  The driver who shared the story with me mentioned a Rolls Royce Ghost, a Phantom and a Ferrari.  Retired and a bit bored, he’s taken to driving these cars for Uber rides.  He makes conversations with his customers as a way to meet new people and even takes some of the customers out to lunch.

All of these stories could be true or none of them.  And, although they could happen in just about any city, I’ve been traveling to Las Vegas enough that none of these stories seem all that surprising in Vegas.

At any rate, I’ll continue to ask Uber drivers what their strangest stories are and I’ll be sure to pass on the best ones to you.

 

11 Comments

  1. Speaking of Uber/Lyft… last week I used Lyft from LAS to my hotel. They have a promo offering $5.00 off rides to/from the airport (total of $10). The code is FLYLAS. Feel free to pass this along. Nothing in it for me.

    Anyway, the GPS tells the driver to take the highway. Keep in mind this is a Sunday morning. I tell the driver to take the fast way, not the payable by mile suggested way.

    Here’s my question. Do these ride share companies intentionally program their rides to produce more income for unsuspecting riders?

    The cost of the ride to/from the hotel each way was ~$15.00 – $16.00, less the promo. So approximately $11.00. This is cheaper than a taxi each way.

  2. I had the worst Uber experience in Vegas 4 days after they re-opened. My driver arrived 30 (!) minutes after I requested a ride. His car was a disaster; garbage on the floor (old food wrappers, empty cups), the cup holder had gum or something that had spilled and congealed, crumbs on the seat, etc. The driver didn’t know how to use the Uber app for directions, so he called OnStar and had me tell the lady where I wanted to go. Unfortunately his car GPS shut down so I had to get my iPhone out and give him turn by turn directions. He was so distracted that he ran two red lights. I ended up being late to the MilesToMemories meet up — took him 25 minutes to drive what my map said would take 12 minutes (on top of the 30 minutes it took him to arrive at the hotel).

    When I reported him to Uber, Uber Vegas said they would follow up with me which they never did. I hate to say it, but I longed for a taxi that day.

    I have taken Ubers since in Vegas and it has been fine. This past weekend I was there and ordered an airport pick up. It was the driver’s first airport pick up (Uber has just started doing airport pick ups) and it is unclear to both drivers and passengers exactly where you are supposed to be picked up (after talking with the driver, it sounds like you are supposed to meet your driver on Floor 0 of the parking garage).

    Clearly a few kinks to work out.

    1. Alan, I’m surprised Uber didn’t follow up. The few times I’ve had complaints they’ve responded quickly. If it were me, I would follow up again. That sounds like a truly horrible Uber.

  3. I was in LAS a few days ago and out of curiosity asked the Uber driver about people taking Uber to LA. The driver told me that one of his friends took a passenger from LAS to LA, and that the driver’s cut of the fare was $800. Not sure how true this is, but it’s what I was told.

  4. dhammer53 – It is not the Uber GPS. It is the mapping software since the highway route is probably a minute or two quicker. I have suspected that they program the long route before but when I check my google maps on my phone it is always consistent with Uber’s directions.

      1. Returning to the airport, the driver told me he was a cab driver when he wasn’t working for Lyft. Why on earth he’d recommend we take the highway from the Mirage to LAS at 5:00pm is beyond me. At 4:45, from the top floor of the Mirage, I saw that traffic was backed up.

        On the way to the hotel, from the airport, the driver thought it would be faster to take the highway vs surface streets.
        These drivers ‘should’ know better.

        I’m afraid that many unsuspecting riders will ‘trust’ Uber/Lyft, and that won’t be the case.

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