I don’t always share my secrets. My favorite little bar in the West Village is now usually overrun with hooligans, my favorite coffee shop never has a seat, and my favorite museum gallery is no longer quite as peaceful as it once was. But I’ve decided to divulge my ride share secrets for a few reasons.
10 Reasons Why You Should Use Ride Shares
- To have efficient car shares, we need more riders participating. If there’s no one to share the car with, it won’t work!
- Ride shares reduce congestion. Nowadays my ride shares are full. Not all of us would be in a car if this option didn’t exist, but it is definitely reducing traffic and the number of cars polluting our environment.
- Drivers employed at a living wage. Minimum wage is increasing significantly in the US, and especially in major cities. Sharing taxis is one way to help ensure our drivers are being compensated fairly!
- Riders Save Money! What used to be a $30 taxi ride has cost me as little as $2.75 (ok, that was a mega sale), but on average can be $5-6.
- You don’t have to be on the subway. I could list ten reasons alone for why ride shares are better than the subway. The subway can be exhausting, smelly, unsafe, and delayed.
- It USUALLY saves me some time. I don’t usually use ride shares during rush hour, so nights and weekends the ride share often proves to be faster than the subway.
- It’s easy to pay! You can store your personal and work credit cards in the app, or sometimes pay with paypal. There’s no delay in swiping or digging for cash.
- I can do work in the car while above ground. Wifi is available in some subway stations, but not on the trains. When in a car share, I can usually respond to emails, read the news, or any other tasks that need to be completed.
- The apps remember your most frequently used addresses and you can store a home and work address to easily book rides.
- Great Customer Service. When’s the last time you got a refund for your monthly metro card when there were no subways running to your apartment late night or all weekend for months on end?
How & Why I Use Ride Shares
I’m going to be real with you. I am LAZY. I moved 5 blocks from work so I could walk there every day. Since the initial move, I am a little farther away, but I can still walk or take a quick train, bus, or cab ride. I don’t usually use ride shares to get to work unless I’m carrying luggage or something! So I really can’t comment on their efficiency during rush hour, but if you have an experience to share, please leave it in the comments!
So when do I use car services? Nights and weekends. As someone who works a minimum of 70 hours a week, I promised myself that evenings would be reserved purely for activities I love. It includes a mix of tennis, pilates, yoga, galas, gallery openings, parties with friends, dinners around the city, ballets, and whatever else this fabulous city throws at me. And then there’s the weekend. On a normal weekend I tutor from 8am to 7pm Saturday and Sunday. In two days I see 12 students in 3 boroughs for 45min to 2 hour sessions. I try my best to schedule a natural flow through the city, but with weekend train construction, sometimes it is just too challenging to get where I need to be in a timely fashion on the subway. I can barely tolerate 1 transfer, when it becomes 2, I give up. And this whole ride the train past your stop, get off and take a train in the opposite direction to get to your destination….well that just flat out makes me crazy! Opportunity cost is also a player here. I spent a measly six months working at a bank, but I learned one of the most important economic lessons during my freshman year of college. Sometimes I come out of the day better off financially if I add in an additional client, but take cab shares instead of the subway to save time. So now that you know what I’m doing, let me tell you how I do it.
It all started with Uber. I joined in September 2014. It was the first ride share app I downloaded. I think I was in grad school when it came out, so I wasn’t exactly taking cabs everywhere. But eventually I downloaded it, and it proved to be worthwhile, saving me some cash on long distance taxi rides or getting a cab delivered to my doorstep in the rain. I started using Uber when I was in a “long distance relationship”. Upper East Side to Williamsburg. It made getting there and back a lot faster and significantly more enjoyable.
Over the past three years, Uber has run several promotions and introduced Uber Pool, which is the most efficient way to travel with Uber. Uber Pool will match you with other riders heading the same direction as you. It typically offers door to door service, but on occasion has required me to use a smart pick up location, which reduces the travel time for the car, but has me walk a block or two to a more convenient location.
Total Rides: 106
Passengers: With Uber pool you can bring one friend for free, and you indicate this when you book your car.
Pricing: The pricing is not stabilized. Uber POOL is subject to surge pricing, but once they give you a quote, they will honor it, even if another rider doesn’t join your ride. This can be helpful if you get stuck in a traffic jam. It’s usaully at least 20% cheaper than taking an UberX, but you’ll need to check to see what the current rate reduction is when you choose to use the app.
Location: I am waiting to hear back from Uber regarding service area. Originally Uber Pool was only working below 110th Street in Manhattan, but it does run to the airport and might be available city wide.
Customer Service: Uber’s customer service is very responsive and if you have any issue with your ride, they will adjust your rate fairly. I’ve had driver’s who ignore GPS and take longer more costly routes. If i take the same ride every weekend, I know when I’m being screwed over, although sometimes too shy and hesitant to confront the driver who literally has my life in his hands. Also, it’s an app. It crashes. So always have a back up plan.
Want a free ride on Uber(Up to $15)? Download the App and enter my promo code: ab78v
When left launched, the cars drove around Manhattan with giant pink mustaches on their bumpers. I barely used Uber, and I didn’t need another car service, especially one that had such a quirky gimmick. It wasn’t until last summer when someone told me about the $5 lyft line rides that I felt it was time to join. I joined Lyft in September 2015, a full year after joining Uber. That promotion only last a month after I joined, but then it gradually increased to $8 rides and is now based on distance. I take Lyft to my first client every Saturday and Sunday morning. It’s about a 10 minute ride and it usually costs $6-8 plus a tip.
Total Rides: 122 Rides
Passengers: Lyft line allows you to bring one additional guest for $1 extra.
Pricing: Like Uber, Lyft does have surge pricing. And you should note that Lyft and Uber surge at different times, so it is wise to compare prices on each app before booking your ride if you have the time.
Customer Service: Lyft customer service is also always responsive, and will usually be more generous than Uber when making up for their driver’s errors. After waiting for 10 minutes (the promised wait time for one particular ride), the driver arrived at the wrong address. I verified I entered my correct address, and then notified Lyft of this. I then had to take a taxi to work, which is usually several dollars more expensive than a Lyft Line. Nothing irritates me more than a driver who cancels a ride AFTER making me wait more than 5+ minutes and I report every single one of them. Also, if a driver asks you to cancel the ride, do not do it. I’m sure they receive some kind of penalty for canceling on riders, just as the rider can incur a $5 penalty for canceling the ride on the driver. If you cancel per the driver’s request you often have to go back and file a claim to get your $5 refund. Who has time for that? Make them cancel.
Location: Lyft Line is available city wide in NYC.
Download Lyft and use my Promo Code STEPHANIE120914
And newest on the scene is Via. It is the least convenient, but by far the cheapest option.
Via is ONLY a cab share. It doesn’t offer solo rides. Once the promos of Lyft Line and Uber Pool started to fizzle out and my new preference for chauffeured black cars had been established, I decided I had to try Via. A friend set me up with a code, and I used it a few times. Then they offered me a week of rides for $2.75 cents each. For those of you who don’t know, that’s the cost of a subway ride. So I could ride in the comfort of an air conditioned car with padded seating for the same price as taking the subway. Sold. I used Via several times that week and I was hooked. Via is great for commuters. I know several people who use it for that purpose. I use Via to get me home late at night, but before midnight when their services takes a break. It’s also a good excuse to get a good night sleep and enforce the pumpkin rule. You know, cinderella, the carriage turns into a pumpkin at midnight, and so does this ginger. Now I can just tell my friends I have to book my car at 11:30 before Via shuts down! No one argues with that.
Aside from shortened hours, Via also doesn’t do door to door service. They tell you exactly which corner to meet them on for a speedy pick up. This helps expedite the process, but please be aware of this. So many people ask for special treatment. Do not inconvenience your fellow riders, UNLESS you have a serious physical injury which impairs your ability to walk. If you want door to door service, pay up and take a car service designed for luxury and convenience instead of efficiency and low cost.
Pricing: Via is $5 per person 6AMuntil 9PM Mon to Fri and then $5.95 from 9pm to 12pm and Saturdays from 10AM to Midnight. Extra riders pay 1/2 fare, but sometimes Via offers discounts on guests, so keep an eye out. They’ve recently started offering Saturday service, but the wait time has been over 15 minutes, so I haven’t been able to use it. But as more of you become aware of the service and start using it, it might be a great addition to my weekend schedule!
Total Rides: Unsure, not tracked.
Location: Via operates anywhere in Manhattan south of 110th Street.
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All 3 ride share services offer promos, so be sure to sign up for their weekly emails and follow them on social media. That is how I got the week of $2.75 rides on Via. Lyft will offer a weekly discount on rides to a certain destination most weeks, and Uber just offered $5 flat rates to celebrate its anniversary. Some of these promos are flash sales and only available for a limited time or to the first 1000 people to redeem the code.
You can also take Lyft Line or Uber Pool to the airport. Once again, just check them both to see if either is offering a promo when you need it. I’ve heard that getting an Uber home from the airports in NYC has also been made much easier recently with special designated Uber pickup points. I’ll do a little investigating and get back to you on this.
This is the first of a series of posts I am writing to help newcomers to New York, business travelers, and tourists enjoy the city like a real New Yorker, saving time and money while looking fabulous. Ride shares in a car service doesn’t necessarily make you look more fabulous but they do leave you feeling a whole lot fresher than coming of the subway.
One more tip…download these apps Today! Put in my promo code! Trust me, it can be a hassle to wait until you need it. Then you have to download it, look up my promo code, enter your credit card info. Do it now when you are calm and relaxed and not in desperate need of affordable transportation!
Which car share do you use? Let me know in the comments.
This is not a sponsored post, but the links provided are personal referrals from the companies listed above.