Ride-hailing apps have transformed the way that many people think about getting around their cities. With easy-to-use apps like Uber and Lyft, people don’t have to drive their own cars. They can have someone else do the driving for them.
Of course, taxis have provided a similar service for decades. What you see now is a battle between taxis and ride-hailing services. Which one you should use depends on a few factors.
Ride-Hailing Apps Offer Convenient Options in Most Places
If you live in an urban or suburban area, then you can probably get someone from a ride-hailing service to pick you up within a few minutes. Getting a taxi, however, may take a little longer.
Wait times vary significantly from city to city. In Manhattan, the average wait for an Uber driver is only 2 minutes, 25 seconds. In the outer boroughs, riders can expect to wait 3 minutes, 8 seconds on average.
Having a taxi pick you up at a specific location almost always takes longer than having a ride-hailing service do the job. You may find a steady stream of cabs on Broadway, but taxis don’t waste time looking for customers in residential areas.
Unless you’re on a busy part of a popular street, a ride-hailing service will almost always pick you up sooner than a cab.
Ride-Hailing Services Don’t Always Perform Background Checks
Taxi companies perform extensive background checks to make sure their drivers haven’t committed any serious crimes. By checking backgrounds, taxi companies can help ensure that you get a ride from a law-abiding person who won’t hurt you.
Unfortunately, ride-hailing services don’t always follow the same rules. In fact, nearly 11 percent of ride-hailing drivers fail Massachusetts’ background check. Despite failing the background checks, they still work for companies like Lyft and Uber.
If you make safety a priority, then you should choose a taxi over a ride-hailing service. With ride-hailing, you’re getting into a stranger’s car without any protection.
Taxis Often Cost Less Than Ride-Hailing Services
Many people use ride-sharing services because they think they can save money by avoiding taxis. This is true in some cases. In other cases, you can save money by choosing a taxi. According to Consumer Reports, riders can usually save money by choosing taxis for short trips that cost less than $35.
Surge pricing can also make ride-hailing services more expensive than taxis. Companies like Uber and Lyft use surge pricing to get more drivers on the road when people need rides. Adding drivers makes ride-hailing more convenient for riders, but the convenience can come at a hefty price.
If it’s last call on a Saturday night, fares can quadruple. Fares can also double, triple, or quadruple after sporting events, concerts, and other large events. If a lot of people use ride-hailing services at the same time, then you can often save money by scheduling a cab to pick you up.
Ride-hailing services and taxis provide a necessary service. The next time you need a ride, think about convenience, price, and safety to decide which option you will use.