For all the buzz they’ve generated, rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are relative newcomers to the taxi-service scene. And it’s not always self-evident how they stack up against each other or against more mainstream services.
For many, the decision whether to call a traditional cab or use a smartphone app to lock in a ride with Uber or Lyft comes down to price. The cheapest option wins. That’s easier said than done, however. There’s simply no quick and easy way to cost-compare rides available from the competing services for any particular trip. You may have a general sense that rideshare services are cheaper than taxis, or that Uber is cheaper than Lyft. But those assumptions could fail to hold for any particular case. So you make your best guess, and hope that you’ve made the most cost-effective choice.
There’s a new app that takes the guesswork out of choosing. With RideGuru, would-be riders enter their trip’s origin and destination, and the app calculates and displays the estimated fares for a host of available ride services.
As an example, I queried RideGuru on the options for a trip from a downtown Los Angeles hotel to LAX. The results, displayed in colorful bar-chart form:
- $24.26 – UberX
- $25.26 – Sidecar
- $28.81 – Lyft
- $51.33 – UberXL
- $77.25 – Taxi
- $78.40 – Flywheel
- $79.55 – Curb
- $93.53 – UberBlack
- $117.66 – Uber SUV
For me, the choice would be clear: UberX. The price is the lowest, and I have confidence in the company, based on past experience. But even if I were a Lyft loyalist, for example, I’d feel well served by knowing how their pricing compared to the alternatives.
It’s all about transparency. And at least as far as pricing goes, RideGuru delivers exactly that.
Reader Reality Check
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.