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UberX Fares Lowered in 16 Markets – More Viable Than Taxi Or Car Rental Options

by on January 11, 2014 · 23 comments

in Uber

On Friday, Uber announced that it would be lowering UberX fares in 16 different markets up to 34% in order to be more competitive with taxis. UberX is a lower priced version of Uber that uses mid-range cars and hybrids rather than the traditional black town cars. To take a quick example, normal Uber fares in New York City are priced out as follows:

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 2.57.23 PMSo there’s a $7 base fare, and it’s $3.90 per mile while driving and $0.95 per minute while idling with a minimum fare of $15. By comparison, here are the UberX figures:

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 2.57.16 PM$6 base fare, $3 per mile or $0.75 per minute idling and a $12 minimum fare. NYC Taxis, on the other hand will cost the following amount:

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 3.00.09 PM$2.50 base fare plus a $0.50 NY State surcharge and $1 per mile or $0.50 per minute while not moving.

And taking an UberX car out to JFK from Manhattan costs $65:

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 2.55.55 PMThat’s just a couple dollars more than a regular taxi is likely to cost.

Unfortunately, New York isn’t one of the targeted cities. Those that will benefit from a 15-34% price cut will be Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Orange County. Minneapolis, Atlanta, Sacramento, Tucson, Indianapolis, Denver, Dallas, Baltimore, Charlotte and Nashville will also see price cuts though they aren’t specified as of yet.

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Lately, Uber has gotten a lot of flak in the press for their price gouging inflation techniques during recent snowstorms or high-demand nights like New Years Eve so it seems this is their way to get back on everyone’s good side. While John Zimmer, co-founder of Lyft, labels this as “a classic bait and switch move,” Uber is still my go-to car service when I’m traveling for a couple reasons. Mainly because it’s so easy.  I like being able to push a button and see exactly where vehicles are and choose between UberX (cheaper) and SUVs when riding with 4 or more friends. But also because I can use my Sapphire Preferred for 2.14X points per $1, since Chase classifies car service as a travel expense, so it’s another great way to rack up bonus points.

Next week I will be traveling to LA – one of the targeted cities for the price cuts – for a week and a half and I’ve been debating whether to rent a car or just use Uber whenever needed. In the past when I’ve rented cars I end up using Uber when going to events or meeting up with friends anyway so the car rental seems like a waste. Now that Uber is lowering prices for UberX in Los Angeles I’m swaying more towards ditching the rental car completely and relying solely on Uber and seeing how it goes – especially because the prices really do seem very reasonable. UberX’s new LA pricing will be as follows:

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 3.09.29 PMA base fare of $1.61 and $1.25 per mile or $0.29 cents per idle minute with a $3 minimum fare. I put in a price quote in for a fare from LAX to the Andaz West Hollywood where I frequently stay. Taxis normally cost me in the $60-$65 range (the same as an Uber black car would), but UberX quoted me $22-$30 depending on traffic:

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 3.11.47 PMThat’s compared to LA taxi base fares of $2.85 and $2.70 per mile. So there seems to be some real savings potential here and I’m curious to try it out for myself.

If you don’t have an Uber account, you can use my link to sign up and you get $20 off your first ride and then use the promo code UBERTPG20 to get an additional 20% off one ride between now and January 13. One of the things I like about Uber is that the service automatically bills the (points-earning!) credit card you have on file and that gratuity is included, so no arguing with the taxi driver about whether they only take cash, waiting for a receipt, or any other little inconvenience like that. I’ve mostly used their normal black cards and SUV’s in the past, but with my money-saving mission in mind, I’m excited to try UberX and I’ll report back on my experiences (and hopefully savings!).

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • JL100

    Can’t wait until Miami gets Uber!!!

  • http://thehustleblog.com/ The #hustle Blog

    The inflated prices for “high demand” times are a bit annoying, but I’m not sure how they could alleviate that. And the high demand times are sometimes just due to normal ebb and flow of the city. Friday night? High demand! However, it is still a viable option that I’ll always check out.

  • michael

    One trick I’ve discovered with Uber at LAX is that if you take the free bus to Lot C (get off at the first stop), you can save the $4 LAX permit fee that they have to pay to pick you up at the airport. Often it’s a lot faster too (and easier) to find a uber on Sepulveda, because they don’t have to go through the chaos that’s LAX.

  • Michael Carey

    Have you checked out Flywheel in LA Brian?

  • nycsnoopydogg

    In NYC, in most cases I rather use a yellow cab over Uber. I enjoy Uber’s service but their prices during peak times aren’t (IMO) competitive. During yesterday’s evening rush hour, price surging was in effect and the minimum fare was $24. I ended up finding and taking a yellow cab and the fare was $10 (he took an nice shortcut to our destination). I find myself using Uber in places where the a yellow cab isn’t readily unavailable. But good luck using in LA.

  • smitty06

    I am excited to see the price difference. I usually pay 35 dollars for a trip from home to ORD. If the price drops to something in the 20′s, I will start using uber all the time instead of remote parking.

  • anthonyhaney

    I did the same back in December. Rush hour in Midtown with 5 clients and not a cab to be seen… That resulted in a $190 fare for a suburban from Midtown to Soho… I’d rather just hop on the train for that!

  • Chris

    I don’t get that people complain about surge pricing. Who are all these folks that pay ridiculous rates for short trips? Uber is very transparent. They tell you well in advance when things get expensive. If you see prices above 1.5 times the usual rate just think of this as saying “There is currently no car available” and walk/take the subway.

  • mahon112

    uber is SUPERcheap in socal brah

  • pwc122

    that’s a great tip. I frequently work out of an office in Playa Vista, so I usually walk to the In-N-Out on Sepulveda, and then I order an Uber while I’m finishing my burger. great plane watching from that location, as well. granted, it wouldn’t be ideal to walk the 15-20m if you had a ton of luggage.

  • sam

    Thanks for Great Info..

  • Izzy

    Used Uber in SF and loved it.

  • farhan

    I second that.

  • BBK

    So do I

  • Question

    Uber is awesome and I am glad Brian points out some of the benefits. I do wonder if that link includes a kickback though? I have used credit card links here before as a thanks for all the great info and have no issue with great bloggers like TPG getting to monetize as best they can. Million mile secrets for example always specifies when they get paid for a link or endorsement. What happened to full disclosure? Just sayin…..

  • BCTBC

    They may be a smige more reliable… but can you really risk the unregulated driver to have proper insurance and training. I won’t risk it for my family.

  • anthonyhaney

    Agreed; and I knew that 3X the fare was ridiculous, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and pay… Not so glamorous to be taking clients “out on the town” when you’re trying to see if they even have a Metrocard!

  • AMS

    I am an early user of Uber in Seattle and it’s been great! I haven’t seen the price surging issues that NYC and LA/SanFran have experienced. After Uber announced the lowered UberX fares in Seattle, I became suspicious. This weekend I was unable to get an UberX that wasn’t 1.75-2x the normal fares. The lower fares are only driving up demand and without great yellow taxi options in Seattle, it’s a bummer. Hopefully it’s temporary.

  • Mammal

    I am just thrilled they don’t expect tips: I am someone who overtips when the amount is low (like $5 tip on $10 fare) but I hate it. I would rather have it be included. And I think tipping can be replaced by feedback: if you love the service you can just leave a good feedback. I wish other car sharing services (and even traditional taxis) follow and include tipping into fare so no one pays too much or too little in tips. And non-monetary visible to everyone feedback should be a good enough incentive for the driver to perform.

  • Ryan

    I used to love Uber and used it frequently. The app is convenient, cars would be available within 10 minutes, the quality of car (both UberX and Taxi) were higher than a street-hailed taxi, and I loved the convenience of having them run the credit card automatically rather than having to argue with the driver who claims his machine is always broken.

    However, the service has gone downhill quickly. In Chicago, I can only get a taxi about 20% of the time that I try. On a recent trip, I was overcharged by the driver, and Uber refused to do anything about it (even though their own receipt showed the distance traveled and time taken, which makes it impossible for the fare charged to be correct). With UberX, it has been worse. The drivers now tend to be people who don’t know the city at all. I put in my pickup address, and I see that the pickup time may be about 5 minutes. However, 15 minutes later, I am still waiting for the car. Then, I get a message that my car has arrived, even though the car is half of a mile away. I contact the driver through the app, and they tell me that they can’t find the address and are scared to keep driving around to look for it. All the while (as I am walking to find the UberX car), I am being charged by Uber for the “travel time”. This scenario has played out a few times in the past month.

    Uber seems like a classic company where the product was originally good, but now they only care about maximizing the numbers (number of drivers, customers, and fares) so they can go public. I will keep the app for cases where I really have no other choice, but at the same time, I am looking for something better.

  • Smitty06

    Just completed my first uberX ride at lower cost. My normal fare to ORD is around 35 dollars. Today was just under 25 dollars. Love it.

  • Dave

    You know you can just tip normally on low fares (say $2 on a $10 fare). Nothing requires you to overtip taxis, so basically I guess you’re saying you’d rather have the tip included so you can be saved from your own decision/compulsion to overtip?

  • Mammal

    Yeap

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