The last thing anyone would want to do after a long day's hard work, or a great night out with friends is to fork out a fortune when they need to get a ride home to safety. Many of us will naturally just give in and pay a fare that's 10 times the usual, because they have very little choice in the matter. It's not like they can just walk home or summon a free car ride at whim.
This is a major problem people living in big cities have to face, particularly when certain ride sharing companies like Uber of Lyft implement "surge pricing", when rides are charged higher, simply because they're at higher demand. For some people, they just accept this as part of their new reality. But what if we tell you that you do have a choice in how much you spend on fares?
Below are just a few tips that can help you get cheaper rides:
1.Sign up to Uber and Lyft
One of the best ways to get a cheaper ride is to actually compare prices between two ride sharing applications. Not many will tell you about this, but sometimes there's a huge discrepancy between either of the two apps, even if the travel distance remains the same.
Each city that you visit may have different rates as well, so cross-checking between the two can help you find which is cheapest. In one city, using Lyft could be cheaper, but in another, there's more uber drivers, so the demand for each ride isn't putting too much strain when you need a ride in peak hours. Both ride sharing apps also give loyalty points that you can use and can provide you with huge discounts, which we'll talk about next.
2.Watch out for promos
A good practice to do when you're constantly making use of ride sharing apps is checking your email for promos. This is a good place to start if you're looking to get discounts on your rides. Naturally, it's best to sign up for Uber's or Lyft's notifications so you'll know when you do get the promos as soon as they're available.
Being active online can have its benefits as well. You can get promo codes and coupons online from third-party websites that give them out as rewards or sell them outright. You can secure promo codes at Rydely.com amongst other places, which you can typically use as soon as you get them.
3.Time your app use
As a general rule, the higher the demand for rides, the higher you'll need to pay in fares. Depending on which part of the city you are, if the traffic is particularly bad, or the number of riders isn't that high, you can expect to pay 5-8 times the amount you normally would. This is called surge rates. Surge rate pricing will depend on the time, the area, the number of drivers in the area, and which type of app you're using.
Lyft has a cap on how much a passenger needs to pay during peak hours, while Uber doesn't, making Lyft a more attractive option, but their riders are usually less common. You can wait the price surge out if you have time. Try getting a bite to eat, have a drink or watch a movie, and check again if the prices improve afterwards, because they usually do. You can also use surge protection apps in tandem with your other applications to help you save more.
4.Share a ride with someone
There are options for car riding apps where you can share your ride with someone else, if they're going in the same direction. With this, you can typically split the bill, which means you might be lucky enough to slash your fare by half. Another good benefit to this is that you never quite know who you'll meet. You can make friends, or even better, hit it off with someone and ask them out. The possibilities are endless.
5.Get a subscription plan
Another great option for you to save is by registering to a ride application subscription plan. With subscription plans, you have the option to pay a certain amount upfront and get a huge discount to your next 30 or so rides. If a certain ride costs lower than a particular amount, you actually get to have it for free.
The initial payment for your subscription plan is actually significantly lower than the discounts you'll get, meaning you can save a lot by registering. If you're the type to use Uber or Lyft often, a subscription plan could be for you.
6.See if you're being overcharged
In some cases, people who use ride sharing apps often get to be charged more, even without the surge pricing. Uber has a tendency to charge frequent users than those who use the app casually. You might be wondering why your friend is being charged less for the same ride, and this is usually the reason why. This is another reason why it's important to alternate between ride apps, in order to prevent one app as flagging you as a "frequent" rider.
7.Just go old school
If the service charge becomes too high for you, then don't be ashamed to just skip ride apps altogether and get a normal cab. If the fares are surging or there aren't any cheap rides available, getting an old-fashioned metered taxi is actually cheaper. One good pro of just going old school is that what you see is exactly what you get. All you'll need to pay for is what you read off of the meter. No need to worry about hidden or service fees. If all else fails and you couldn't get a taxi, there's always the bus or the subway.
Getting from one point to another used to be straightforward, but the sudden increase in demand for more comfortable rides and improved convenience has made things a bit more complicated. Not to mention a bit more expensive. Using one or two of the strategies listed above can save you a lot of time, money and effort, however. Hopefully you wouldn't need to worry about an expensive fare at the end of your day.