When you decide to leave your vehicle at home, there are several alternate options for getting around by car. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of three popular choices, whether it’s travel for work or pleasure.
Many people love using services like Uber and Lyft, and it’s no wonder: It’s hard to beat the convenience of summoning a ride on a mobile app. Uber alone served 41.8 million riders per month in 2018.1 Payment is seamless, so all the consumer needs to do is check that the vehicle is clearly marked with the rideshare provider decal, and that the license plate number matches the one in the app.
Pro: If you live in an area with lots of drivers, you can often get a ride in minutes using a ridesharing app. And if you need a ride to the airport, you can prearrange a pickup the night before.2
Con: This may not always be a transportation option when you need a ride. Not every community is equally well-served by ridesharing companies ¬– and some have enacted legislation regulating the use of these services.3 Sometimes, surge pricing can push the price of a ridesharing service above a cab.4
Taxis have long been one of the most convenient ways to get around urban and suburban areas alike. There were 378,394 taxi and chauffeur drivers in the U.S. in 2016, a 12.1 percent increase from the year before.5 And contrary to what people may believe, taking a taxi isn’t necessarily more expensive than using a ridesharing service.4
Pro: Most taxi drivers are a trained, reliable and regulated force of the commuting culture in many cities.6 And catching a cab can actually be more economical than using a ridesharing service. For short trips with fares less than $35, taxis often cost less.4
Con: The taxi industry has been slower to adapt to the technology revolution than the ridesharing industry, so there may not be an app you can use to summon taxis locally.7 That could mean you’re left waiting to hail one. For long rides that cost above $35, research shows taxis may be relatively more expensive than ridesharing services.4
A limousine or large SUV may be more luxurious than a rideshare or cab, but sometimes that may be exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re carrying a number of items and want to be sure you have assistance at an unfamiliar airport, prearranging a car service can give you peace of mind. And using a car service may be a nice touch if you want to make a group of visitors feel welcome.
Pro: Car services often have well-trained drivers who thoroughly know the cities they serve. They can be valuable guides if you don’t know your way around.8 And if you’re tired after a long trip, it might be more comfortable to relax in a plush black car than a typical rideshare or taxi.
Con: Car services will usually run you significantly more than a taxi, so the cost can add up.9 Many companies set up ongoing accounts to provide employees with transportation home when they work late, which may enable them to get volume discounts.10