[HOWTO] Save Money on Ride-Sharing
My geeky readers are undoubtedly familiar with the perpetual struggle between microprocessor leaders Intel and AMD. Intel is the dominant force, while scrappy but much smaller AMD keeps the big guy on his toes. A similar dynamic exists between Uber and Lyft, which between them control practically all of the ride-sharing market. The lopsided competition between the two giants is beneficial for consumers. Here's how it can work in your favor...
Get the Best Price on Uber or Lyft
It’s hard to compare the prices of Uber and Lyft in general, and that’s by design. Both firms have published rate schedules, but those are not binding and static like they are in the regulated taxi industry. In practice, you can only compare Uber’s price to Lyft’s at one specific moment for one specific route.
I recommend that you always check prices of both services, not just to see which is lower but also to keep both firms’ prices low. I am convinced that the apps of Uber and Lyft are somehow aware of each other, that they know when you compare prices, and know when you book a ride with the competition. Such knowledge affects the prices they offer you, and the deals offered. So keep both firms on their toes.
Time after time, Uber has given me a week in which to enjoy ten half-price rides (up to $6 per ride) the day after I rode with Lyft. Lyft’s discounted fares sometimes beat Uber’s, but Lyft is not nearly as jealous as its larger colleague. I’ve never seen a half-off offer from Lyft.
Just for research, I checked pricing for a ride from my home to JFK airport; Uber's price for the 70-mile trip was $131, and Lyft was $110. But Uber won out for the 4-mile trip to my local grocery store, charging $8 versus Lyft's $10 fee. I know that if I was to check those same routes on different days or another time of day, the results could be quite different.
Uber has a “ride pass” proposition that it throws at me around the middle of each month. In exchange for a small fee it offers a fixed, fairly low price on my most-traveled route, plus 15% off on all other rides. Ride passes are by invitation only at this time. If one comes your way, give it a try.
Uber Pool Express is Uber’s lowest fare, often by 35-40% of Uber Pool. It’s a shared ride, like Pool, but you will have to walk up two 2 blocks to a designated pick-up spot. I have not found that onerous yet, and the savings are substantial.
Surge Pricing, Round-Trip Fares and Referrals
Surge pricing, the practice of increasing fares in times of high demand, is another issue. This can be avoided by booking rides outside of peak demand periods: rush hours, before and after schools let out, barroom closing times, etc. You can sometimes walk out of a Lyft surge-priced zone because those zones are much smaller than Uber’s.
It seldom saves money to book a round trip instead of two rides. That’s because shared rides cannot include round trips, and the price difference between a shared ride and an exclusive-occupancy ride is substantial. Book two shared rides for the best round-trip fare.
Referring new riders and/or drivers earns free rides on both Uber and Lyft. From my talks with drivers, it seems to be a pretty good gig for full or part-time work. It’s especially attractive to students, retirees, and others who need flexible work hours, or for anyone who enjoys driving and people.
When I visited Denver recently, the Uber driver who took me from the airport to my hotel was a young man from Kenya. It was 11pm, and he told me he drives for several hours after finishing his night classes for advanced IT certifications. Can't help but admire someone like that with his "drive" to succeed!
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 22 Aug 2018
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [HOWTO] Save Money on Ride-Sharing (Posted: 22 Aug 2018)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved