Best Ridesharing Apps to Crowdsource Your Commute
The Lowdown on Uber, Lyft, and Their Alternatives
The biggest gripe that most city planners have with Uber and Lyft is that the apps threaten to disrupt the local taxi economy, which is precisely what they are trying to do. The result is that Uber and Lyft are often much cheaper than a taxi ride, but also don’t pay their drivers as well.
Both apps allow you to:
- schedule a trip in advance or call a car on-demand
- know how much your ride will cost before you book it
- carpool with other riders to reduce your costs
- tip your drivers
- enjoy food delivery options
The most significant differences between these two undisputed champions of the rideshare market are as follows:
- Lyft is only available in the U.S., while Uber is available in many countries worldwide.
- Uber is a much larger company than Lyft and over the years has received a lot of negative press for everything from a sexual harassment lawsuit to an alleged cut-throat workplace culture to the low wages some workers earn.
- In some cities (looking at you, Dubai), you can order an UberChopper, which is what it sounds like—a real helicopter. (Pretty sweet, if you can afford it!)
Alternative Rideshare Apps
While some people don’t think twice about using Uber and Lyft every time they need to take a ride, others are searching for a better alternative. Whether motivated by costs, ethics, or just looking to change things up, there are plenty of alternative rideshare apps on the market. Read on for some of our favorites.
Sometimes, you get what you pay for, and with Via, you are not paying for much. This app is very hit or miss. Sometimes you will get a car to yourself on a long trip to a busy airport for a fraction of the cost of a yellow cab. Sometimes you will be left in the pouring rain because the app did not reserve enough seats in the car for both you and your friend, even though you specifically asked for two seats. If you are looking for a budget buy but are too good to take the subway, Via is worth a try: for a couple of bucks, you will be whisked along with other passengers to your destination. You might have to walk a few blocks in either direction, but in all of the cities it’s available (NYC, Chicago, and DC), taking a Via is cheaper than any other option.
Juno lives up to what you’d expect from an invite-only ridesharing program: the highest-rated drivers, 24/7 on-call concierge service and support, and, of course, it’s only available in NYC. If you need to bring along your entire entourage, you can order an SUV, but there is no other carpooling on this exclusive app.
This app also has the advantage of promising fair wages for drivers. While Uber and Lyft generally take about 30 percent of the profits away from drivers, Juno only makes 10 percent, and will eventually start giving its drivers stock options.
Let’s face it, in the battle of ethics, utilizing the services of a licensed taxi driver instead of relying on a newfangled rideshare app is the better choice nine times out of 10. With a taxi, you know the drivers are insured and covered while they are working, have background checks, and generally have some oversight. On the other hand, no one likes to stand on the corner in desperation, waving at every passing yellow cab with a light on and trying not to get upstreamed by other potential passengers.
Enter Curb, the app that lets you call a traditional taxi, ahead of time (for a $2 fee) or on-demand. It’s available in over 50 cities and rapidly expanding.