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As a Miami resident, one of the things I hate most about this city are the taxis. While I don’t like to make sweeping generalizations, the drivers are generally aggressive and will do everything in their power to not let you pay with credit card (to the point of breaking the swipe machines. Beyond that, in most areas of town you can’t simply hail them on the street- you need to call one of the few taxis companies and hope that they come. Usually they do, but during busy times like Art Basel, you simply cannot get a taxi. This is dangerous because with no reliable taxi system people inevitably drive when they shouldn’t and being stranded is a terrible feeling, especially as a visitor to a city.
Link: $10 in Free Uber Credits
Link: Free Lyft ride worth $25
However, that all changes today, the first day that UberX is available in Miami. (Uber is the livery service where you can expect to be picked up in a black SUV or towncar, whereas UberX allows screened drivers to operate their personal vehicle, like a Prius or Accord, for the same service.) This has been a long fight against outdated Miami laws that protect the taxi cartels. However, it appears that Uber is going to launch despite not getting approval from the city in order to stay competitive with rival Lyft, who started offering rides two weeks ago. So far, Lyft drivers have gotten 11 fines worth $22,000, but apparently the company is willing to pay the fees in order to get a foothold in the market, and it appears Uber is willing to do the same.
When a friend texted with a screenshot that UberX was available, I actually let out a “Wahoo!” that everyone in a one mile radius could hear. I am an avid Uber user- whether in New York, Los Angeles, Cannes or Paris– I use it religiously (even earning Uber VIP status) and have had nearly universally good experiences. The drivers are friendly, cars are clean and come with water (and sometimes candy and other goodies) and it is EASY. You store a credit card on file, fire up your app and within minutes a car is waiting to take you wherever you need, safely. No need to find parking or wait for annoying valets.
When I loaded Uber in South Beach there were multiple cars ones minute away. Pretty impressive for day one! Hopefully, the service catches on and more and more drivers sign onto the service. I keep seeing Facebook ads targeting people in Miami to drive for UberX and make $60,000 a year, so it definitely appears UberX is aggressively targeting the Miami market.
I’ve never used Lyft, but it’s a similar concept to UberX, where every day people can become chauffeurs and register to drive you around town. I pulled up their app and there were no cars on South Beach, but it seems like there was good coverage in downtown and midtown Miami.
Arrival Plus Angle
A couple weeks ago, BarclayCard announced new categories that would be eligible for reimbursement under the new Arrival Plus card: Buses, Taxis, Limos, Campgrounds, Trailer Parks, Timeshares, Tourist Attractions and Exhibits, International railway. I had a $60 Uber in France recently and sure enough, it is now eligible for redemption using Arrival Miles, so it would cost 6,100 Miles to wipe off a charge of $60.38 and then you get 10% of those miles back (610) because it is a travel redemption. Plus, I earned 122 Miles on the purchase itself (2x on all purchases).
If you don’t have the Arrival Plus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred awards two points per dollar on all travel expenditures, which includes Uber as well.
Overall, this is great news for anyone who lives in Miami or wants to visit. Hopefully the city’s lawmakers and politicians will realize that this is going to be a boon for the city and they’ll stop fighting or trying to enforce penalties against drivers.