News Apr 15th 2016

Hailing A Ride: Taxi vs. Uber vs. Lyft

yellow taxi car

Finding and choosing between the main ride hire apps in a busy city can be very tricky, with different companies charging very different prices for the same journey, especially during special times like holidays or important event days.

Uber, arguably the most popular ride hire service in the current climate, operates something called surge pricing. Surge pricing is a system that determines that cost of any particular journey depending on how in-demand the service currently is. To put it plainly, if there are more people trying to get a ride at the same time, the more expensive your Uber ride is going to be. This can be particularly striking during holidays like New Year's Eve but can also be a less seasonal thing like a major sporting event in a city or a public transport breakdown.

Uber use this system to encourage their drivers to get out on the road when the demand is at its highest, cashing in on the increased fares. When more Uber drivers are on the road and the demand for journeys goes down, the fares go back to a cheaper and more reasonable rate.

To make sure that Uber customers are aware of these sometimes sudden fare surges, the company's dedicated app operates measures to ensure that users are made aware of all current price surges that may be in place. A notification can also be set up to alert an app holder even if were not immediately considering ordering an Uber. Equally, the app can be set to notify you when a price surge ends.

The traditional taxicab is something that does not apply a surge pricing scheme, but instead, any and all time a customer spends in the car, in traffic or waiting for any reason, is added to the fare and can quickly escalate with no control on your end. So if the streets are full of cars because there has been some kind of incident or simply because it is rush hour, a classic taxicab can often be the most expensive ride hire service on the road.

A lesser known competitor, Lyft, also operates a what they call price adjustment technique named ‘Prime Time', which means that should there be more demand on the roads than Lyft cars available, the fares will begin to increase by a certain percentage. If you happened to need a ride in the middle of a seasonal or just plain busy situation, then the best thing to do would be to check both Uber and Lyft to compare their price surges with one another. Just because they employ a similar technique, it does not mean that the rides are going to cost the same. It is always sensible to shop around and assess your options before committing to a company.

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