Have you ever wondered which service is the best? I have too and here are the answers:
Whether you travel for business or leisure, one thing we tend to overlook is how much can be saved using a car service compared to a taxi.
Recently, I traveled to Miami for business. One my concerns was how much to budget for transportation to and from the airport. After researching options and comparing costs, I created a table for the three different services – Uber, Lyft, and a standard taxi.
First, before using any service, it is important to determine what your transportation needs are. How many people will need to be transported? How many bags? Are there any over-sized bags, golf clubs, skis, backpacks, etc.? Answers to these questions will affect the size and type of vehicle needed.
The following outlines the transportation needs for my Los Angeles to Miami trip.
- Myself and my colleague would need a ride = 2 passengers
- We had 2 carry-on suitcases and 2 computer bags
- We did not want to car share (carpool option) as we couldn’t afford the extra time it would take to stop for the other passengers.
- I did not utilize any coupons or specials to discount the costs for the transportation.
The following chart details the costs for the different services in each city:
Uber and Lyft are car services that offer a free downloadable application for your smart phone. It takes little time to set up a new account, add identifying information, and add a credit card (or two – business and personal). A customer can then request a car using the app. Uber and Lyft will send the closest driver to that location using the phone’s GPS signal. The fare is charged directly to the credit card that you select. Once you have requested the car service and a driver is found, the application will provide you with the estimated time of arrival, the driver’s name, contact information, color and make of the car, and the license plate number. This way you can identify the car before entering the vehicle for safety. I often call the driver to provide more detailed information regarding the pick up location, airport exit door number, etc.
Explanation of car codes and car services:
- POOL: Share your ride with another person and split the cost. Only available in a few cities (check app for availability)
- X: The car seats 4 passengers. Drivers use cars such as a Toyota Prius, Honda Accord. Known as UberPop in Europe.
- XL: Seats at least 6 passengers. An UberXL car will be an SUV or a Minivan. Higher fare price than UberX
- Black: A luxury car that seats up to 4 passengers
- Lux: A luxury sedan that seats up to 4 passengers. Expect a slightly higher level of car such as BMW, Mercedes, Tesla. Formerly known as UberPlus in some markets.
- Lux-SUV: A luxury level SUV that seats up to 6 riders. Higher fare price than a Lux.
- Standard: A standard vehicle. Seats 4 passengers. Drivers use cars such as Toyota Prius, Honda civics, etc.
- Plus: Seats at least 6 passengers. Drivers use cars that are standard SUV’s
- Premium: Luxury vehicles such as a BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, etc.
Having the above information in hand, I decided to try all three during my trip in Miami to reach a fair comparison:
I selected their standard car which turned out to be a 2013 Prius. Though in good shape, it did not meet my cleanliness standards. It needed a car wash and a vacuuming of the carpets. The driver was a little young (appeared to be around 21) and seemed rather inexperienced.
This time I selected an UberX. The car was a nice 2014 Honda Civic. The car was very clean. The driver was older and seemed experienced. He spoke with me and offered several tips on good restaurants and his conversation was informative and friendly.
The car was a typical yellow taxi. The interior smelled of smoke and did not meet my cleanliness standard (yuck). The driver was rude, drove recklessly, and way too fast. Some of my scariest ride experiences have been in New York City with a taxi driver. I am not a fan, and am happy there are other alternatives.
I have used these three services across the United States while traveling. Based on my experiences, I am an Uber fan. Their service has consistently been reliable, and the cars and drivers, have usually been of good quality. I have had just two slight misses over this past year. I have heard from many younger people that they prefer Lyft. The company seems to be focused on the younger crowd. Overall, I find Uber to be the better choice. Though slightly higher priced in some instances, the consistency of the car cleanliness and the capabilities of their drivers, make Uber my recommendation.
🌟Websites that are excellent with assisting with ride comparisons and prices are:
- What’s The Fare: http://www.whatsthefare.com/
- Ride Guru: https://ride.guru/
🌟American Airlines is currently offering a special code for American Airlines AAdvantage® members. And, Uber is rewarding new users with two discounted rides — up to $10 each. Sign up for Uber and use promo code AA2RIDES1 to receive a discount on your next ride.