Last July, on a hot and humid afternoon, an older man walked into our Newtown Square office asking for help. He’d just broken down along Route 3 and wanted to know if we could call a cab. Naturally, we obliged, and were told it would be at least 50 minutes before a taxi could make it there.
I suggested Uber, which I’d experienced only in Center City. Someone made the call, and the man had his ride in about 15 minutes. Is it any wonder Uber is such a remarkable five-year success story?
“We all want convenience and the ability to get what we want, when we want it,” says Michael Bradley, who did a fine job of reporting and writing “Easy Rider”, this month’s piece on the Uber phenomenon. “If we don’t have to worry about having enough cash or even a credit card to pay for it, all the better. Put it on my tab.”
Interestingly, the person we helped on that steamy afternoon wasn’t your average Uber rider. “With the 20-something nightlife crowd, Uber is as commonplace as skinny jeans, selfie sticks and Armani Code cologne,” says Bradley. “Just as it’s ridiculous to imagine someone under the age of 30 using a camera to take a picture of friends, so is it unreasonable to think that an age group that does all it can not to talk on the phone would dial a local cab company for a ride home.”
Not everyone loves Uber. My sister-in-law has a friend who had an unsavory run-in with one of its drivers. On a chilly November night, she and my brother refused to use the service, choosing to walk to a family event several blocks away in downtown Boston while the rest of us grabbed an Uber minivan. Undoubtedly, this new car-hailing trend needs regulating—which is among several reasons why cab companies can’t stand it. Nonetheless, the demand is there—and getting a cab in the suburbs is still a frustrating exercise.
“At a time when just about everything is being done in a new way and technological savvy is more important than old-fashioned knowledge, Uber is cool and convenient,” says Bradley.
Also pretty cool is Bradley’s sports-obsessed alter-ego, El Hombre, whom he has so kindly resurrected for a new weekly blog on our website. Check out the latest El Hombre Knows Sports here. The primary focus is on our local teams—and, if nothing else, it’s the only place you’ll see Bradley anywhere near a sombrero.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: We’d been batting around the idea for a story on divorce for years. But only recently did we find the writer to execute the honest yet upbeat treatment such a hot Main Line topic deserves (“Split Decision”). Bravo to associate editor Melissa Jacobs, and a hearty thanks to the local experts who helped to make it such a great piece.