Which user are you? Yellow or black?
If you live in a mid-to-large-sized city and take taxis, you have probably already tried Uber. What you may not know is that the transportation app has different rates in each city. New York City is arguably the taxi capital of America and home of the classic yellow taxicab. Which is the quickest and most economical ride in New York: Uber or yellow cab?
Getting a Ride
Yellow cabs accept street hails anywhere in New York City. You can also arrange a yellow cab through uberT (by calling a yellow cab through the Uber app).Uber is only accessible through an up-to-date smartphone. If you do not own a smartphone, your smartphone is not up to date, or you forgot your phone, you will not be able to use Uber. New York City regulations prohibit street hails for private ride services (also called livery services).
How it works:
1- Schedule a ride. Open the Uber app, then tap the car-and-lock icon to schedule a ride.
2- Provide pickup info. Set your pickup date, time, location, destination, and ride type, and get a fare estimate.
3- Get set to ride. Confim the details of your upcoming trip and tap schedule. Edit or cancel anytime before your ride.
Getting into a taxi in an unfamiliar city can be nerve wracking. You have no idea how much the trip should cost or if the driver is taking the most direct route. In New York City, taxi riders cannot get an advance estimate for taxi fares. The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission’s official stance is that “it is impossible to pre-calculate a fare, because the meter rate depends on traffic, construction, weather, and route to the destination.” Uber does provide fare estimates within the Uber app, but it does not guarantee the final fare because road conditions can change during the ride.
A taxi is likely to also be the better option when demand is high. That’s because during such times,Uber rely on surge pricing to boost fares by up to four times the price…Through the app, riders can be quoted a fare price and pay with a stored credit card number.
Uber is often the more economical choice outside of large cities. But there are many times when a taxi is a better alternative. For quick trips when the fares are below $35, for instance, a taxi could be the cheaper option. But Uber can charge up to four times the actual price when the demand is high.
Uber has something called surge pricing, which refers to the higher fares it imposes during times of high rider demand. Surge pricing can take effect during rush hour, during a natural disaster or during a random spike of requests on a Saturday afternoon. The Uber app notifies users of surge pricing when they request a ride. Taxis do not have surge pricing, but riders might have to wait longer when demand exceeds supply. Taxis do, however, add a $0.50 surcharge in the evening (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and a $1 surcharge during rush hour (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.), Monday through Friday. If Uber’s surge pricing is in effect, you will probably pay a lot less by taking a cab, if you can get one.
Since passengers request all Uber rides through the app, there is no waiting on the street and getting drenched trying to hail a ride in bad weather. Nor will you find yourself standing alone on an empty street late at night trying to catch a cab. The app lets users know when the driver has arrived, so passengers can wait indoors.
To file a complaint about a bad taxi ride, the passenger should first get a receipt from the driver that shows the taxi’s unique four-character medallion number. You can also get the medallion number from the taxi’s license plate, roof, or inside the car on the back of the partition. You can then file a complaint online through the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission website. If the driver pleads guilty, he will pay a fine and the case will be closed. If the driver pleads not guilty, there will be a hearing, which requires you to give testimony by phone or in person.
Uber actively seeks and reviews passenger feedback on drivers. After each ride, Uber asks the passenger to rate the driver through the app and add comments. Uber will stop using a driver who gets too many low ratings. Uber drivers also rate passengers, and passengers have to contact Uber or ask a driver to find out their scores. Some drivers avoid passengers with low scores. Uber may temporarily ban passengers for inappropriate or unsafe behavior and permanently refuse service to riders who have been aggressive, violent or disrespectful.
The Bottom Line
Cost is certainly a major consideration when choosing a ride service, and in New York City, you may pay less by taking a yellow cab during slow traffic or when Uber’s surge pricing is in place. Because Uber conducts all business through its app, it beats cabs hands down for ease in arranging pickups, estimating payments, processing payments and accepting complaints. Uber also offers different service classes, unlike cabs. As long as you beware of surge pricing, Uber is an attractive alternative to the New York City yellow cab.
In the end, Uber presents itself as a digital platform for connecting people, rather than as a taxi service. Uber and other ride sharing services have revolutionized the cab fare.
NB: Since February of this year, a new law has passed, “Congestion pricing” where basically a fee is charged to drivers traveling in highly congested areas during the times of day when traffic is at its heaviest to help reduce gridlock. Fare will increase by $2.50 for taxis and $2.75 a ride for Uber.
So let’s see who’s gonna win the battle this year ?!