Uber Across the Border

Discussion in 'Non-Rail Transportation' started by Michigan Mom, Aug 22, 2019.

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  1. Aug 22, 2019 #1

    Michigan Mom

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    Help, does anyone have experience using Uber across the border from Detroit to Windsor?
    Lyft shows no availability in Windsor at this time. Uber does, and I found some vague blog statement somewhere to the effect that it's against company policy, but a driver might take the trip. I can schedule and price the trip in the app, but scheduling brings with it a caveat that the driver can cancel before the end of your ride arrival window. I guess one could get around this by scheduling early enough that there would be time to call for another ride. Exploring the patchwork of bus connections for getting to Detroit then the tunnel bus then another bus to Windsor VIA, it seems like the rideshare app is the best option. Taking either buses or combination Wolverine to DET then buses require leaving the day before and overnighting in Windsor. or Detroit. Uber is less expensive. Been weighing these options for days and kind of torn at the moment. Can't afford to miss the 9 am departure on VIA and can't take my car there (one way trip).
     
  2. Aug 22, 2019 #2

    toddinde

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    Yes! It works like a champ. Just did it from VIA to Amtrak in July. It was super easy.
     
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  3. Aug 22, 2019 #3

    Michigan Mom

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    Good to hear Todd. Presumably if a driver takes the trip they have the necessary documentation to get across the border, and I'd cover their tolls if it's not included in the app pricing. thanks!!
     
  4. Aug 22, 2019 #4

    Devil's Advocate

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    I wonder what protection there is for a rideshare driver if a passenger is caught carrying contraband or attempting to escape justice. Sounds like major stakes for very little money.
     
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  5. Aug 22, 2019 #5

    jebr

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    It's certainly possible that some will, but you'll likely have at least one or two cancel before finding one that will cross. After all, they'd need travel documents to cross, and most people don't carry them around on a daily basis.

    That said, you could take an Uber to Mariner's Church, catch the tunnel bus, and then Uber or transit on the Canadian side to the VIA Rail station. That'd eliminate the issue of finding an Uber driver who can cross the border or something specific to that causing delays when crossing.
     
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  6. Aug 22, 2019 #6

    MARC Rider

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    I guess cab drivers in border towns have documentation (like a NEXUS or SENTRI card) that allow them to cross easily. I was once partying in a certain Mexican border own that shall remain unnamed, and I had my cab take me back to the bridge I had walked over earlier in the evening and insisted on getting out of the cab, even though the driver seemed a bit reluctant to let me go. I soon found out why when I found that the bridge had closed for the night, and there cab had gone away, and there I was, stuck in a deserted Mexican border town in the wee hours. Fortunately, another cab came by, and, even though he was carrying another passenger stopped for me. I guess it was a case of "let's get this crazy gringo to safety!" After he dropped off his other passenger, he drove me over to the OTHER bridge (the one that was open 24/7), had less problem getting through the border controls than I did, and drove me the couple of extra miles in the USA to where my car was parked. As you can imagine, I gave him a pretty generous tip.

    Anyway, he had some kind of card that he flashed to the American border guard that allowed him free entry, whereas all I had was my driver's license (this was many years ago). The border guard seemed to have no problem with Mexican taxi drivers shuttling fares over the border, but she had a lot of questions for me, mostly on the order of "what the hell are you doing in Texas?" I noted that she didn't seem to care what I was doing in Mexico. I had a Border Control guy ask me the same thing once at once of those internal checkpoints they have set up down near the border. Maybe Texans are worried about too many damnyankees coming down and infiltrating the state. :)
     
  7. Aug 22, 2019 #7

    jiml

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    I can tell you from experience that this is the right answer. Without getting too specific, many Uber/Lyft drivers on the Canadian side lack documentation to cross the border, where drivers on the US side may be okay to cross into Canada but may have trouble coming back. Taxis in this case are a better option when it comes to documents, but tend to want a flat rate in advance for the potential wait on either side of the tunnel or Ambassador Bridge. The suggestion by jebr is definitely the most cost-effective if you're not able to walk to the Tunnel Bus. You do have to disembark on either side for the usual formalities. Sometimes the bus does not wait for a long line and you have to board the next one.
     
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  8. Aug 22, 2019 #8

    Michigan Mom

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    Thanks everyone. I am unbelieveably stressed over this. Thinking strongly now of taking Amtrak or Uber/Lyft to Detroit, on Saturday, then taking the tunnel bus to Windsor and finding a place to stay Saturday night, putting us on the Canadian side. This isn't the preferred option for a number of reasons, but it sounds like there are too many places where stuff could get held up on Sunday morning.

    Also, enjoyed the Mexico story :)

    EDIT: Forgot about this until just now.. a few years ago, thinking 2015 or 2016, an Ann Arbor area Uber driver told me he frequently took people to Windsor, so I know it's at least possible. The subject came up when I realized all I had to tip him with was Canadian currency. (This was before Uber allowed passengers to tip within the app, so you had to tip with cash). The tip should have been about 5 USD so I gave him a Canadian ten.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  9. Aug 23, 2019 #9

    jiml

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    If it helps with your deliberations there's decent Hilton and Marriott (Towneplace Suites IIRC) properties within walking distance of a Tunnel Bus stop on the Windsor side.

    Thanks so much for that reminder.:( Fortunately we have an election coming up.
     
  10. Aug 23, 2019 #10

    Michigan Mom

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    Thanks Jimi, looking at that Towneplace, it's actually a good value Bonvoy redemption. Working on getting everything lined up. BTW no snark intended on the currency, the ten was what I had!
     
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  11. Aug 23, 2019 #11

    SarahZ

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    It might be worth a call to a cab company to ask about the rates. They often schedule the cabs to Canada in advance so 1) they know the assigned driver has the appropriate documentation AND can pass the border check and 2) they can ensure the driver isn't carrying a weapon in their vehicle.

    Even with a flat rate, the cab will likely be the cheaper option. On the other hand, I also know the value of paying a bit more out of pocket to have peace of mind. :)
     
  12. Aug 23, 2019 #12

    jiml

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    Another piece of excellent advice!
     
  13. Aug 23, 2019 #13

    jiml

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    As a fellow Bonvoy person, sometimes that's all that matters.:D
     
  14. Aug 23, 2019 #14

    railiner

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    I would think that as busy as the Detroit/Windsor border must be, there would be plenty of taxicabs doing it...
    I’m guessing that many traveling to and from Canada use the Detroit airport....
     
  15. Aug 23, 2019 #15

    MARC Rider

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    The one time I had to stay in Detroit, it looked like there were many more hotels in Windsor, and at more reasonable prices than in Detroit. Unfortunately, this was business travel for the government, so leaving the USA was out of the question. In fact, my little after-hours excursion over to Windsor may not have been strictly kosher. (I found that out years later.) My impression was that downtown Windsor was in better shape than downtown Detroit. If I had to make an overnight stopover in the area, I'd probably pick Windsor over Detroit.
     
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  16. Aug 23, 2019 #16

    PVD

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    There used to be 2 major factors fueling (non business) Detroit to Windsor trips - Windsor had a casino, and the drinking age was lower Now there are casinos in and around Detroit, the gambling and drinking age is higher at the Detroit casinos, the Native American casinos in outlying areas vary. But Windsor still has a 2 year edge on drinking.....
     
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  17. Aug 23, 2019 #17

    Bob Dylan

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    What a difference a River makes!;)

    And your Gambling Winnings are Tax Free in Canada if you're Lucky enough to Win! Just dont tell Uncle Sam!:D:cool:
     
  18. Aug 23, 2019 #18

    Michigan Mom

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    So I have a plan to hop the Wolverine to Detroit, then Uber (<10$) to the tunnel bus. Only 30$ for the train tickets, less than Uber and an easy "points run." The tunnel bus is 5$ per person (USD or CAD) and I have leftover Loonies and Toonies from previous trips to cover the bus fare. (Cab service will be the backup option). For the overnight we are looking at several places with reasonable rates (yes, much less than the Detroit side!) and two Marriott properties for only 17.5K Bonvoy points. This removes the stress of trying to make a same day VIA departure at 9 am! People here have been very helpful as otherwise I would be talking this over with myself which is not helpful so thanks to all :-/
     
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  19. Aug 24, 2019 #19

    jiml

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    Enjoy your trip, and welcome! Don't hesitate to ask if you have any more questions.
     

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