Last Friday we had ourselves a spur of the moment contest. We were headed to The Green Zatar for the first column in our upcoming Hole in the Wall series and we were discussing the best way to get there from the square when we decided to pit ride share/transportation services Uber and Wandervan against one another.
Uber is the "world's largest taxi company," and was valued at 18.2 billion by investors a few months ago. They opened up their oft-infamous ride sharing program in Denton earlier this year. Wandervan, the local, vintage-friendly upstart owned and operated by Jason Upshaw, showed up a few months later. The latter is a lot more obvious to spot riding around town. We downloaded both apps, headed out to the sidewalk on the downtown Denton Square and called up some cars. Below is some story from the night accompanied by tweets from our live-tweeting session. You can search the hashtag #WDDIdrives on Twitter for more info. The night even end up with a sick local PhD getting free ice cream, because that's just how life is. Read on for more.
We decided to pay attention to a few things during our contest. There's more to a good ride-sharing program than speed alone. We also paid attention to price, user-friendliness of the app, cleanliness and all around experience.
Both apps were extremely easy to download, open, and request a ride. We've used Uber outside of Denton before and knew what we were getting into, but Wandervan was just as user-intuitive. After a short two or three minute wait, Uber showed up in a Chrysler van. Alyssa hopped in and got a head start to The Green Zatar. Wandervan showed up about a minute later and Glen and Will hopped in after a quick photo-op. Both drivers were friendly and the inside of the cars were nice and clean. Wandervan was a lot more of a fun ride and we enjoyed the Denton advertisements running on the screen and chattin' it up with Jason.
Alyssa ended up arriving about thirty seconds earlier than we did in her Uber. Round 1 went to Uber. The ride was faster and slightly cheaper than Wandervan and while both were vans, our Wandervan was a lot more hip than Alyssa's Chrysler. Sorry, Alyssa.
After a delicious dinner at The Green Zatar that we will talk more about later, we once again got our phones ready and requested an Uber and Wandervan at the same time. This time Wandervan showed up first and an Uber followed a few minutes later. The Wandervan easily arrived to the square with a significant head start. Our Uber ride this time was a Cadillac that took an interesting route to the square and discussed with us the nature of tipping when it comes to ride sharing. Round two went to Wandervan.
@Uber_DFW requested a round 3. It may be forthcoming.
While Wandervan was the overall time and style winner, Uber did have them beat on price. We're eager to find out how things change once Wandervan adds additional vehicles to their fleet.
The evening didn't end at our ride back to the square, though. After discussing the evening's events on Twitter, Dan Krutka requested for Uber or Wandervan to bring him some ice cream while he was sick at home. Wandervan actually followed up and swung by with some Beth Marie's, which was, in our eyes - the sign of a true winner.
Have y'all had a ride from Uber, Wandervan, Zip Car or another ride-sharing service in Denton? If so, what was your experience? Let us know in the comments!