SO, it’s 2.30am and you’re in a house party in Mount Eagles. It was a good idea to make the trek at the time but now that you’re sobering up and the party is dying you realise the chances of getting a taxi home to the Grosvenor are lower than zilch. The taxi places aren’t answering and the ones that do; tell you you’ll be waiting two hours at least.
You start checking your phone for anyone you know that is working and will pick you up and bring you home for a tenner petrol, that tenner rises to a score the more desperate you become but they either ignore you or bullshit that they’re home in bed and all.
Sleeping on your mates settee is out of the question because you don’t want your neighbours thinking you’re a dirty hoor getting into the house at 10am in the same clothes they seen you leaving in the night before. Nosey curtain twitching bastards.
So what can you do? Try this new Uber thing that’s coming to Belfast.
For a start, it’s not new, it’s an effective taxi service that has already been in operation in sixty seven countries. It’s just that Belfast is thirty years behind real life and it is only coming here now. So here’s a localised guide to never being stranded in the arsehole of nowhere ever again.
Q. How to I get registered?
A. Download the app and create an account. There’s an iPhone and an Android version. Create a profile with your real name and best selfie. Don’t pick a photo of you being a moonbeam or nobody will pick you up. You can even log in through Facebook, so you can annoy all your friends with details of every journey you take.
You can enter your credit or debit card information, I chose to pay by Paypal as it already has my card number and I can’t be arsed doing all that again. And, I can pay for taxis using the credit from shit I’ve sold on eBay.
Uber sends a verification number to your phone, you need to enter that number to confirm registration. Once you’re confirmed, it finds your location. It picked me up as being in my next door neighbour’s house. I wasn’t there but close enough. Q. When’s it coming here?
A. Uber launches in Belfast on December 11, 2015.
Q. How do I get a taxi when it launches?
A. Open the app, make sure your location is switched on and ask for a cab. The app will tell you if a driver is near, how long it will take to come and get you and how much the journey will cost. You can cancel for free within five minutes but piss about and you still pay the fare.
Q. I’m a skint tramp and always do a runner on my taxi, can I do the same with Uber?
A. No, they only pick up people that are registered with them and have a history of being a good passenger. Also, you are shown the price of the journey and pay for it through your credit or debit card so tough tit, bogger.
Q. I’ve heard they let all sorts of dodgy bastards drive for them, is that true?
A. Any driver with a PSV licence and a decent car is eligible to be an Uber driver. The same rules apply to normal taxis. They all get the same police clearance. You may even see an increase in female drivers as it’s a safer way of taxiing because clients are already known to the service and no money changes hands.
Q. My driver was a cheeky bastard, what can I do about it as there is no depot to complain to?
A. You can rate your driver and they can do the same for you. So it makes sense for both of you to be civil. You receive a follow up email with your driver’s number and receipt for the journey. Try to keep the drunken shite talk to a minimum and you might escape with sound feedback.
Q. I have a taxi licence, can I be a driver?
A. Yes. The driver chooses their own hours, waiting location and can refuse to pick up known annoying or smelly clients. You just need to know how to work computery things.
Q. Just say you don’t like all that internet stuff and can’t be bothered learning?
A. Stick to what you know and give your local depot a ring.
Q. What happens at 1am when every bar in Belfast empties and there’s no taxis available anywhere?
A. Blame the DUP
I asked a local driver if he was thinking of signing up to the service. He was told Uber takes 25% of every fare so it’s more expensive than paying a set amount of depot rent. He wouldn’t rule it out and says the service will take off in the city centre but not in areas where people rely on local depots and low fares.