I reviewed the expense report and thought it was both odd and cool at the same time that I was reviewing Uber expenses in the U.S. and The Netherlands. I learned that Uber drivers are not as plentiful in Amsterdam. I was still stuck in the fact that there were Uber drivers in Amsterdam.
I had a choice tonight. Take the train and arrive home at 11 p.m. or Uber it and arrive home by 9:30 p.m. When my day started at 8:00 a.m. it seems like a no brainer: Just Uber it Craven.
But I hesitated. I faced this conundrum a few weeks ago when I missed my train – doors closed in front of my face – and I was left to wait another hour which meant a two hour delay before arriving home. It sucked. I was out for a work event and I just wanted to get home. Later I was told “You should have just Uber’d it”.
A disruptive technology changed personal transportation in a very short timeframe. Uber is to “call a cab” or “take a taxi” as “Kleenex” is to “tissue”. But I haven’t changed as quickly. I look at the expense. Should I really do that? Am I really worth it. And my colleague asked me recently, how much is my time worth?
Tonight it’s worth $40. Just to put that in perspective, a cab ride 20 years ago to the South Side of Chicago was $75. That was about 13 miles. Today my Uber 24 miles west of the city is $40. That is the impact of the disruption.
I’m sitting in the backseat of a black Infiniti and heading to the Glen Ellyn train station. The driver just got off at the wrong exit from the toll road and will add five minutes to the ride. I feel a bit elitist to have the ability to get a ride outside of the city. And yet, the only reason I would consider it – not because I value my time – but because the cost of the Uber makes it acceptable.
I wonder how many things do we compromise in life like this? The cost floor shifts, attitudes change, and our values meld with it.
It’s weird being a passenger on a route to a place where I normally drive solo. But there’s also something reassuring in knowing that whether I’m in Chicago or Amsterdam or Glen Ellyn, I can tap my phone and know that someone is ready and waiting to get me to where I want to go. For a price.
Note: I wrote this post on my way home sitting in the back seat of my Uber driver’s black Infiniti.