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Uber vs. a regular taxicab


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#21 Long Train Runnin'

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 12:18 PM

 

A few cab companies have made apps for requesting a ride. The problem is that the company is local only to the city they are in while Uber is almost universal. I've even seen UberTaxi on the app now in some cities. I've had all the bad experiences in cabs before. I've had them refuse to take me because I was only going about 2 miles. Another complain I didn't tip him enough, etc. So I will usually take Uber when I can. The only thing I don't like about Uber is their "macho" attitude in some instances. The city of Austin wanted drivers to have fingerprinting done on drivers. Instead of complying, it went to vote, Uber and Lyft completely pulled out of the city. Over all the concept of hailing and paying for a ride on your smartphone is an amazing one, and with technology it will only get better. Hopefully taxi cab companies can adapt.

I think I've read that they have returned?

 

 

 

I was in Austin two weeks ago. Uber and Lyft were still not picking up inside Austin city limits. The new local favorite was called Fasten. 


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#22 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 06:51 PM

 

It's pretty rare that there is no wait unless you're arriving at Bumblefork Non-international Airport in the middle of Cracker Barrel County.  

 

This is one of the best things I've read all week.

 

A bit of an exaggeration. I had 0 wait for a taxi on my latest Amtrak adventures when arriving at Anaheim CA, Seattle WA, and Indianapolis IN. 

 

In Anaheim, Uber was 8 minutes away (all were circling Disneyland) and the taxis were right there. Cost of the Cab was double the estimated Uber. 

 

In Seattle, I didn't even check Uber, the cab was there, I got in. (Seattle has lower taxi rates than other cities, usually it's comparable to Uber). 

 

In Indianapolis, I checked Uber, they were 2 minutes out, the taxi was right there, 2 minutes is longer than I wanted to stand with my nice luggage in the lovely Indianapolis Amtrak homeless shelter at 11:50 at night.. place gives me the creeps! (But I love the Hoosier State train!). Uber was about 1/2 the taxi price and probably would not have reeked of cigarette smoke. 

 

I've found the trick is to ask about credit cards BEFORE entering the Cab... Even than many Cab drivers will say "Oh Cash is much easier, Credit Cards take a long time to process" I just say "I can wait." 

 

I much prefer the Uber experience, and will always call an Uber before calling a cab since I can track the GPS and know where they are and when they will arrive. But if it's late at night and I can just hop in a cab rather than waiting a few minutes, I usually will. 


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#23 Train2104

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 04:38 PM

Where cabs are plentiful and hailable (NYC, DC, etc), I see little value in using Uber, as small savings isn't worth the longer wait. The only exception is if the savings add up because the trip is extremely long...at that point it's likely way cheaper to take transit to a closer point and catch a cab/Uber from there.

 

In smaller cities, less-dense areas, and at odd hours of the night, where the only way to get a cab is to call the cab company, the convenience and trackability of Uber means the cabs have no chance of competing for my business.

 

That said, I try to use transit whenever possible, unless location, hours of operation, or luggage mean it's not possible.


Edited by Train2104, 10 December 2016 - 04:43 PM.


#24 Anderson

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 05:10 AM

I've basically given up on taxis, all else being equal.  Too many mediocre-to-bad cab experiences over time (particularly being utterly sick of taxis that have those stupid "entertainment" screens in the back that the taxi commissions have often forced on them).  In general I'll usually default to a mix of Uber and public transit (the latter depending on availability and convenience) unless there's a decent-cost "black car" service at the airport.


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#25 caravanman

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:10 PM

I thought this BBC item on Uber was interesting, and looks at a different aspect of the long term costs...

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...nology-38252405

 

 

 

Ed.



#26 willem

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 09:33 AM

Thanks for that link, caravanman. It's an interesting article.

 



#27 cirdan

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 12:58 PM

maybe this already exists but i haven't seen it yet.

 

Where I think Uber is missng a trick is when you tell them where you are now.

 

I don't want to call an Uber on the app when I'm already at a station. I want to to tell them I'm on this or that train and leave it to the Uber system to work out when i will be at destination (including any late running that may occur between now and my arrivals time) so the Uber car will be there to pick me up.

 

At airports a GPS system could even track my precise location so the driver knows, now I'm picking up my luggage, now I'm walking towards the pick up point etc, so they can coordinate their position to pick me up seamslessly.

 

As long as Uber can't work that stuff out, it's just easier for me to walk to the front of a row of waiting taxis.



#28 cirdan

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 01:03 PM

I thought this BBC item on Uber was interesting, and looks at a different aspect of the long term costs...

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...nology-38252405

 

 

 

Ed.

 

I'm not sure about the type of statment that says Uber cars could replace city buses.

 

People carrying crude oil in jars and bottles might some day replace pipelines and tanker trucks, but I don't think so somehow.

 

There is a reason that eficiency scales.



#29 jebr

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 01:34 PM

The Naked Capitalism article linked in the BBC article (and the three preceding articles in that series) are very interesting. It argues that Uber simply won't be sustainable unless they find a way to raise rates, probably by creating a monopoly. I do think the one caveat is that if they're able to develop autonomous vehicle technology very rapidly to the point where human drivers are not required, they may be able to find some way to use their scale to reduce costs, but right now they don't have a lot of decreased costs due to scale.

 

Uber will almost certainly never replace high-ridership transit routes. Even if somehow the cost lowers to a point with autonomous cars that it can be competitive with the cost of running buses, the space needed to run individual cars is much larger per person than what is needed on a bus or subway car. While I don't think that it's a terrible idea to use it to replace general public dial a ride service or even some low-usage bus routes, a backup plan needs to be in place if they're relying on Uber to replace services (and making sure that the math will still work out if they have to fall back to a taxi company, otherwise having plans in place to quickly ramp up bus service again as needed.)



#30 saxman

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 02:14 PM

I've found Uber to be perfect for that "last mile" when taking transit. When I have to take transit to the outer suburbs and bus service is either poor to non-existant, or very pedestrian unfriendly. In fact, Uber has marketed themselves for this very thing. They were a big proponent of Seattle's transit ballot initiative that passed in the last election. Where taxi cab companies and their unions have fought hard against transit, Uber/Lyft have realized transit has actually increased their usability. New York airports would have been connected by rail decades ago if it weren't for the taxi's fighting against it.


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#31 PerRock

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 04:51 PM

maybe this already exists but i haven't seen it yet.

 

Where I think Uber is missng a trick is when you tell them where you are now.

 

I don't want to call an Uber on the app when I'm already at a station. I want to to tell them I'm on this or that train and leave it to the Uber system to work out when i will be at destination (including any late running that may occur between now and my arrivals time) so the Uber car will be there to pick me up.

 

At airports a GPS system could even track my precise location so the driver knows, now I'm picking up my luggage, now I'm walking towards the pick up point etc, so they can coordinate their position to pick me up seamslessly.

 

As long as Uber can't work that stuff out, it's just easier for me to walk to the front of a row of waiting taxis.

 

That sounds like a bit much for any one app to do. Thousands of aiports & stations each with their own timings, etc. And what about if you decided to grab a cup of coffee or use the restroom? 

 

However on Lyft, and I believe Uber, you can set a different pick-up point from where your GPS is. So if you're 5-10mins out from the station you can tell Lyft to send a car to the station & it should be there. You can also add a pickup note in Lyft so you can say "I'm on Train #" and the driver will hopefully wait. Of course the driver could just cancel the fare and move on, but that's a different situation.

 

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#32 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 05:31 PM

At airports a GPS system could even track my precise location so the driver knows, now I'm picking up my luggage, now I'm walking towards the pick up point etc, so they can coordinate their position to pick me up seamslessly. As long as Uber can't work that stuff out, it's just easier for me to walk to the front of a row of waiting taxis.


At my hometown airport you can initiate an Uber/Lyft ride while still inside the airport and meet them at a designated ride sharing curb area as you exit. I don't check luggage so I simply initialized the pickup as I disembarked my aircraft. By the time I reached the curb my ride was waiting for me. Just as easy as catching the next cab in my view.

 

 


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#33 cirdan

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 04:35 AM

 New York airports would have been connected by rail decades ago if it weren't for the taxi's fighting against it.

 

Is this so?

 

I've heard on the contrary that the airports gets cash for every taxi that drives onto their land, and that it's the airports that don't want people to use transit.



#34 cirdan

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 04:39 AM

 

maybe this already exists but i haven't seen it yet.

 

Where I think Uber is missng a trick is when you tell them where you are now.

 

I don't want to call an Uber on the app when I'm already at a station. I want to to tell them I'm on this or that train and leave it to the Uber system to work out when i will be at destination (including any late running that may occur between now and my arrivals time) so the Uber car will be there to pick me up.

 

At airports a GPS system could even track my precise location so the driver knows, now I'm picking up my luggage, now I'm walking towards the pick up point etc, so they can coordinate their position to pick me up seamslessly.

 

As long as Uber can't work that stuff out, it's just easier for me to walk to the front of a row of waiting taxis.

 

That sounds like a bit much for any one app to do. Thousands of aiports & stations each with their own timings, etc. And what about if you decided to grab a cup of coffee or use the restroom? 

 

 

Uber wouldn't need to know the precise layout and timings of every airport. What they can do is aggregate data. They tend to pick up lots of people at airports so could have a lot of data to do statistics with. Then they could say, on average it takes 10 minutes from picking up luggage to reaching the pick up point.



#35 saxman

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 02:04 PM

 

 New York airports would have been connected by rail decades ago if it weren't for the taxi's fighting against it.

 

Is this so?

 

I've heard on the contrary that the airports gets cash for every taxi that drives onto their land, and that it's the airports that don't want people to use transit.

 

 

I don't know the exact details but yes, but a transit was proposed in the 70's or 80's to go from JFK to La Guardia and on into Manhattan.

 

And why would JFK and Newark be connected by rail now if they didn't want it? I agree that paying the $5 surcharge to ride the Airtrain is a little much, but thats the Port Authority for you. LGA will be getting a rail connection to LIRR and the Subway at some point with the new terminals being redone.


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#36 Anderson

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 03:48 PM

On JFK/LGA, it's possible that there was a round of pushback which abated (and/or was part of a larger, more complicated situation).

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm waiting for a major showdown between a taxi group and Uber to happen and the taxis to end up being the ones thrown out in a "kill the king" approach (e.g. a city council deciding that the politically rational move is obliterating the taxi drivers as a political force before an election four years hence).

 

I agree that Uber won't replace high-capacity lines.  What they do fill in is gaps in places like Newport News, where transit basically doesn't exist.  I think the buses here run about every hour at best, for example, and transfers are utterly inane.  I checked one time and it would literally have probably been faster to walk several miles than to take the bus, per the agency's own calculator, not to mention more expensive than driving.  The main question will be agencies getting Uber to commit to a certain service level alongside the subsidies (e.g. "You need to make sure you have drivers 'on the clock' in this area without surge fares").  However, in places where the bus runs less than every 30 minutes outside of rush hour, subsidizing Uber probably makes more sense as long as you're able to somehow also provide subsidies for passengers for whom Uber gets expensive quickly.


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#37 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 05:11 PM

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm waiting for a major showdown between a taxi group and Uber to happen and the taxis to end up being the ones thrown out in a "kill the king" approach (e.g. a city council deciding that the politically rational move is obliterating the taxi drivers as a political force before an election four years hence).

 

You can say it as much as you like but I think you'll be waiting just shy of forever to see that.  Taxi companies wouldn't have been able to codify absurd rules or demand exorbitant rates and nullify the threat of price competition without the help of the local councils.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 13 December 2016 - 06:22 PM.

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#38 Anderson

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 09:19 PM

 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm waiting for a major showdown between a taxi group and Uber to happen and the taxis to end up being the ones thrown out in a "kill the king" approach (e.g. a city council deciding that the politically rational move is obliterating the taxi drivers as a political force before an election four years hence).

 

You can say it as much as you like but I think you'll be waiting just shy of forever to see that.  Taxi companies wouldn't have been able to codify absurd rules or demand exorbitant rates and nullify the threat of price competition without the help of the local councils.

 

I really think you presume too much.  Though it varies based on jurisdiction, there's solid evidence that the taxis' situation is sliding fast.  The best evidence of this is the price of an NYC taxi medallion dropping by about 50% over the last few years.  Moreover, there are plenty of places which are not New York or San Francisco and where the taxi lobby is hardly going to be as strong...and frankly in some places I suspect the number of Uber drivers is likely to substantially exceed the number of taxi drivers.


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#39 ScouseAndy

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Posted 14 December 2016 - 06:00 PM

For my political views I wont use Uber, I have looked into it closely (UK Uber - other nations may vary) - and I found many drivers had been ripped off and had been paid less than the UK nationally minumum wage (in some instances even before their costs of fuel let alone deprication) so morally couldnt never use them. However prior to my research after trying to use them in both Liverpool & Manchester (admittedly after major supporting events) the costs they where charging where exhorbiant to say least (after a RL international match they wanted 15x the standard fare from Liverpool FC's anfield to the train station) and the stories in left wing Uk media about drivers not getting paid etc it left a very sour taste in my mouth



#40 Long Train Runnin'

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 07:14 PM

I will say over the past couple weeks I took a couple ubers that were simply "too cheap". I used Uber for a ride from the airport in Manilla to my hotel it was about 25 minutes each way. Both fares were under 3USD in newer model mini vans. I really was scratching my head at how that would even be possible. I am no stranger to labor rates in Southeast Asia, but I almost felt guilty. Both rides there went smoothly, and since I was only in town for one night it made it so much easier then worrying about converting currency and all that. While there was no common language between the driver and myself I have to say it was quite a painless procedure to simply slide in the back of the car, and end up where I needed to be in a foreign country.

 

Last weekend I took advantage of Uber in San Jose Costa Rica, and I spent over an hour in the car on arrival. Drive spoke excellent English as she used to work for a Western software company. I figured that ride was going to cost me a pretty penny. It converted to about 17 dollars. On the return the driver didn't speak any English and my very poor Spanish was just enough to work everything out. We actually stopped for fuel, which was certainly a new experience for me in an Uber. That ride ran me about 15 dollars. 

 

I have to say that is getting pretty slick when you start to visit parts of the world, and can get by totally cashless. With some many 0% foreign transaction fee credit cards it really takes a hassle out of travel. The strangest place I managed to get by without cash this year after visiting 30 countries? Longyearbyen in Svalbard, Norway. Even the shuttle that runs between the hotels from the worlds most Northern airport accepted credit cards. I mean sure you are technically in Europe, but I couldn't believe there really was no need for paper NOK up there.  


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