I must admit that using Uber in Saint Petersburg was an experience that I will not forget.
I used my Uber App to order “Uber X” on 12 September 2017 from Ligovsky Prospekt where I was staying. I wanted to go to the Hermitage at 9:30 AM. The hotel location was accessible and for some reason the driver came 20 minutes late, which literally put me off. Secondly, when he came, he was talking to me in Russian as if it was my fault that he was late. Obviously, he got lost or did not use the Uber location App. From my hotel, the Hermitage was only 4 KMS and it’s a 15 minutes’ drive. He purposely took the long route without using the Uber app and used his own GPS that took him to the wrong route. Then he circled around and around and went somewhere else. By the time I reached the Hermitage, I was 45 minutes late and we drove 8 KMS. Instead of paying 120 Ruble (original quoted fare by Uber), I paid 228 Ruble (revised fare due to the extra time and KMS) via Uber.
The worst part of this trip was his offensive behaviour. For example, on the street, a nice lady was crossing the road and he was asking me if I wanted to have sex with her using his hand/finger gestures. Initially I did not understand what he was talking, later his body language brought out my worst fears! It was obvious to me that he did not have any respect for woman.
At this point in time, I just ignored him. After another 1 KM, another nice lady crossed the street and he again was asking me the same stuff. This time I lost my temper and I asked him to stop. He then took his phone and called his friend about me and was talking about how not interested I was in woman (which I could clearly make out)! For the first time, I felt so unsafe with an Uber Driver.
I came back to my Hotel and I reported him to Uber through an official complaint process.
Uber’s response within the first 2 hours of me reporting him was “Thank you for writing to us. We are sorry about what happened! We received your appeal and will soon consider the situation. If you have any additional information that can help us, please let us know!”.
Uber’s response within 20 hours after me lodging the formal complaint was “Hello ZZZZZ. Thank you so much for taking the time to write in, and for making us aware of this incident. Firstly, I'm so sorry to hear about what sounds like a very upsetting situation! The behaviour you describe sounds far from professional. I can understand how uncomfortable you must have felt. While the drivers using the Uber platform operate as independent transportation providers, we take any allegations of this nature extremely seriously, and take every effort to ensure that any driver using the platform adheres to the highest quality standards. Clearly, your driver was far from meeting these standards. Rest assured I will personally be following up with your driver to take appropriate action internally, and ensure a situation such as this is not repeated again in the future. In the meantime I have refunded your trip and you should see the refund reflected on your statement in 3-5 business days. What gives me confidence in the Uber system and it's safety for riders, which is a obviously primary concern in the private hire industry, is the traceability. While things like this should definitely not happen in the first place, at least in the unlikely event that they do occur, we have the full details of the driver, trip and rider on our systems, so that we can immediately investigate any concerns raised. Again, I am so sorry to hear about this and I hope you are doing ok. I want you to know how much we appreciate your timely and honest feedback, which allows us to keep Uber a respectful and professional place for everyone. If you need help with anything else please do not hesitate to get in touch.”
To other tourists using Uber X in Saint Petersburg, I recommend NOT to use the Uber Driver – Mirzoali or Мирзоали. He drives a white Skoda Rapid. His experience in driving Uber is just 1 month (as of 12 September 2017) after looking into his profile on Uber app. Unfortunately, I cannot remember his car licence plate number.
After this incident, I stopped using Uber X and I used only Uber Black. Yes, it is thrice the price of Uber X but the service provided by Uber Black in Saint Petersburg is EXCEPTIONAL. All cars were a Mercedes-Benz/BMW/Lexus. All drivers were professionally and neatly dressed in black suit’s and were very respectful.
Yes, I did use Uber Black everywhere in Saint Petersburg to travel (short, medium, and long-distance travels) with no issues at all and enjoyed my Uber Black travel in Saint Petersburg!
Likewise, I did not allow my negative experience with Uber X to spoil the rest of my trip in Saint Petersburg :)