When you need a rideAre you sure you know what’s bestthe cheapest option? Should you open one of your carpooling applications, where are you better go old school and skip in a cab? It’s hard to know off the top of your head which one is going to be cheaper. After all, ridesharing app pricing formulas are intentionally fluid, but you are also going have no idea of the cost of your taxi ride until you reach your destination.
Opacity aside, there is is a small lack of available information that you can use to read tea leaves to determine which option is best in a particular situation. To do this, let’s start with a look at the average prices of a taxi versus carpooling in the country’s largest cities.
Initial price: $2.50
Distance charge: $0.50 per ⅕ mile
Time charge: $0.50 per minute
Initial price: $2.55
Distance fee: $1.75 per mile
Time charge: $0.35 per minute
Initial price: $3.25
Distance fee: $2.25 per mile
Time charge: $0.25 per 36 seconds
Initial price: $1.87
Distance fee: $0.85 per mile
Time charge: $0.30 per minute
Initial price: $3.10
Distance fee: $2.97 per mile
Time charge: $0.33 per 37 seconds
Initial price: $2.30
Distance fee: $0.80 per mile
Time charge: $0.28 per minute
Right off the bat, Uber offers a more competitive pricing model than your typical yellow cab-If only it was so simple. Due to some additional factors, there are certain situations where to take a taxi pick up a car from ridesharing apps no matter what city you are in.
When a taxi is less expensive
Despite lower upfront fares and time/distance charges, it’s not always cheaper to use a ridesharing app. During time windows when transportation is in high demand, ridesharing apps will implement “rising pricing,” which involves taking their regular rate and increasing it by a pre-determined percentage based on the number of people trying to use their service. Typical times when power surges occur are weekend evenings, as well as weekdays during morning and evening commutes (think 7am to 9am and 4pm to 6pm).
Also, “outgoing” holidays like New Year’s Eve and Halloween are great for surges.price increases. During these windows, your best bet is to hail a Taxi, which does not modify its prices according to demand. Price aside, Taxis also tend to be much more accessible during these hours; you don’t need a smartphone or internet connection to hail one if you’re in an area where they’re prevalent—just an arm you can wave and a bit of enthusiasm.
When a ridesharing app is cheaper
There are a few instances where using a ridesharing app can be cheaper than taking a rideshare. Taxi. The first case is when traveling solo. Indeed, some carpools allow you to opt for their swimming pool option, which can save you a good part of your trip. With UberxShare, you can save up to 20% off your total fare while being assured that no more than eight minutes will be added to your total travel time. This discount can bring your total fare below the cost of a taxi ride, with fairly minimal inconvenience. Under the right set of circumstances, this choice is a no-no.brain.
The second case where a carpool is the better option compared to a Taxi it’s when you go to the airport. According to Money.com’s Sergei Klebnikov, of the 25 busiest airports in the country, there are only three airports where it’s cheaper to take a taxi than to take an Uber (sorry, airport bosses Laguardia, JFK and Logan). It’s because taxis usually have fixed prices for rides to the airport, while rideshares use an algorithm to decide their prices (meaning if you go to the airport outside of peak hours, you’ll likely get a fare inferior).
The third case is during off-peak travel hours. If you are looking to pick up a car in the middle of the afternoon or early in the morning, you probably won’t encounter a price premium. For this reason, you will be able to take advantage of the relatively low initial carpooling rate, as well as the low time charges and distance charges.