While I typically enjoy writing about all that is savory, sweet and delicious at Baltimore’s best restaurants and bars, I am compelled to also share one of the best ways to get yourself to those restaurants and bars, and home again.

In the last year, Uber entered the Baltimore market, providing high level black sedan service at the touch of a button from your mobile device. Upon the first usage, all the rider needs to do is enter his or her contact information, take a picture of a credit card (or enter the information) and then request a driver. Within 2 minutes of downloading this app, potential riders can have a driver on the way.

This service came in particularly handy when I found myself in a cab desert. Unable to hail my yellow chariot home after an evening of fantastic food, wonderful wine, and the best of company, I wandered into a local establishment to warm up a bit before I attempted, once again, to find a ride (or resort to calling the cab folks).

While I had heard of Uber, I was as yet unfamiliar with its cost and how to use it. After a bartender recommended it, I downloaded the app and, as described, had a driver on the way in no time.

This rescue from an area without transportation was a godsend. The driver was fantastic, the service was amazing, the timing was reliable and I would feel quite posh showing up just about anywhere using this service. However, the fact is that I, truthfully, have little need on the regular to show up in a high end sedan.

And then? Uber introduced UberX to the Baltimore market. For those of you, like me, who prefer to not deal with parking (when I go out, or when I get home after my night out), or who want to go out and enjoy a few drinks yet still get home safely, this is where you should be hearing those angels singing. The UberX service is all that the original service is, yet at a lower cost.

Here’s the deal: UberX is a rideshare service. This means that regular folks with decent, clean transportation apply to UberX as drivers. After background checks and interviews (and probably other procedures as well, all to ensure your safety), they become drivers, using their own vehicles to transport you to your destination.

UberX riders still get to use the same app and enjoy the same timeliness, reliability and professionalism of the drivers as with the original Uber service. Most drivers in rideshare programs such as these are working professionals whose supplementary income is derived from working for UberX. Rideshare drivers, such as those who are employed by UberX, can be anyone from firefighters to medical professionals to writers and any other number of professions.

One of the best aspects of using UberX, besides the low cost (with gratuity already included – no cash necessary!) is being able to see who the driver is, what the vehicle is, and exactly how long it will take the driver to get to you as soon as your ride request is accepted. In my book, this is far superior to attempting to hail a cab (with an inevitably questionable meter) in cold weather, or calling for transportation that takes anywhere to arrive from 5 minutes to half past never.

And? If customer service is your thing? This company has it in spades. Recently, a promotion was sent out to use the service with a credit. For me, the timeframe was too short, but I really wanted to try UberX, since I had already experienced Uber. With one quick e-mail, one of the representatives was able to quickly adjust the timeframe so that I could still use the promotion. Many companies use promotions such as that as pure advertisement. UberX clearly wants people to try their service. Why? Because once you do, you will wave goodbye to dirty cabs and city parking and costs, and hop into a clean vehicle, at a competitive cost (my ride that would have cost 20 dollars or more, plus tip, in a cab cost me $11.43 including gratuity via UberX) with a professional driver, who, really, you might want to make your new best friend. They are that amazing.

Try it, and feel free to drop a post and let me know what you think!