Tuesday, May 14

discover [uber, sidecar, and the world of taxi apps]

If you live in a city, how do you get around?

Hopefully you're convenient to some form of public transportation, the cheap, convenient, environmentally-friendly way to do it. But sometimes, you need a work-around.

I have two favorites to share with you today, one well-known, one obscure but free (for now). 

First off, Uber. I would truly be surprised if anyone had not heard of them before, so I'll keep it brief: Uber is a car service run from an intuitive and free app that lets you hail a ride, pay for it, and rate the service, all from the phone. It's an on-demand service, which means you can expect to pay more at peak times, like New Year's Eve, but I use it weekly and have never paid more than the base fare. You can select a taxi, a black car, or a black SUV, which elevates the price, respectively. It's perfect for work, as they email you your receipt (including all ride stats and a map of the route). They're even international! This is a great option for DC, where the majority of cabs don't accept credit cards (slated to change in August, yippee!).

The other, that fewer seem to be familiar with, is SideCar. I have a soft-spot for them, since they are offering free services (straight up free people) in cities where they are unable to operate yet due to legal battles with the cab companies. One of those cities is Philly, where I just spent a lovely weekend with my sister M taking free rides. Win! (psst: Boston, NY, and DC ride free)

SideCar connects people who need rides with local drivers who are available. You put in your start and end address, and SideCar offers up willing drivers in the area and a "suggested donation". Based on their car, picture, and ratings, you can select a driver and hop in. You don't have to pay, but the driver can rate you right back, so you're better off not being a dick. This is a cheaper option than Uber for sure, but don't expect the full-on classy experience, either.

Have you tried either? Would you?

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