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

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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!).

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