Now that Austin has legalized ride-sharing programs after a lengthy back and forth between city, citizens, and cab drivers its time to get the facts straight about these and other TNCs. First off, what is a TNC? Good question, right? TNC stands for Transportation Network Company. The two main players in this game are Lyft and Uber, but there are other TNCs floating around such as Wingz, and Sidecar. Uber also has a lower-end service known as UberX. What’s the difference between Uber vs Lyft? Well, not too much, to be honest. These competitors both work through phone apps, both are linked to your bank account, and both require drivers to pass regulations/tests before they’re allowed to pick up passengers. The biggest difference between Uber vs Lyft is the price and, to a certain extent, the service level. How The Heck Does Uber Work??? Now, “service level” sounds bad, but it’s not meant to. Uber is a higher end service than Lyft, and that includes both the service AND the price. Let’s break this down real quick. Uber is black car luxury. You call Uber and they’ll pick you up in a black Mercedes, black Cadillac, or something of that ilk. The most recent time I took Uber my driver supplied hot towels, bowls of candy, and complimentary water bottles. It’s not quite limousine bottle-service, but it’s pretty close. And rest assured, you will have to pay for these perks. Cost changes depending on where you’re going and when you’re trying to go there, but just for a measuring stick, my Uber driver said during ACL his minimum starting price for a ride was around $75.00 and, per him, he, “cleaned up.” Believe my driver at your own peril, but bottom line, Uber Austin is the more expensive of the two services. That brings us to Lyft, or as I call it, “the poor man’s Uber.” I’m kidding! Lyft is an excellent service that has dethroned taxis for my “get me home from the airport or bar, safely” service. Gone are the days of waiting two hours for your cab to show up. Gone are the days of the cab driver giving you crap for paying with a credit card, which, to be fair to the cab driver, is a huge pain. Gone is the devastating recorded voice as you wait on hold for the taxi dispatcher to gift a driver in your general direction. Freight Delivered To A Residence – An Alternative to Moving Companies Lyft works the same way that Uber works but it’s cheaper and the cars aren’t as nice. This is not to say you’re going to be picked up in a clunker if you use Lyft. On the contrary, in all the rides I’ve had with Lyft the drivers have been exceptionally nice and courteous; their Ford, Toyota, or Volkswagen SUVs spotless. The process is simple and direct, and the best part is that no cash changes hands, and you don’t have to wait around or sign any receipt. Simply give your driver 5 stars (most drivers deserve 5 stars) and a good tip, and you’re on your way. So, we’ve talked Uber and we’ve talked Lyft. You might be asking, what the hell is UberX? The answer is very complicated: UberX is Uber’s answer to Lyft. They’re basically the same thing (not complicated). UberX is a cheaper version of Uber. Because I’m a loyal “Lyfter” (I just made that up), I’ve only had the pleasure of UberX a few times, but each time the driver, car, and service has been excellent. So why do I prefer Lyft to Uber (or UberX)? It really comes down to convenience and loyalty. There have been a few times when I’ve tried to get UberX or Uber, only to find there were no available drivers in my area. This is not a big deal, and this was in the early days of Uber in Austin so I’m sure things are different now, but I’ve never had any problem getting a quick and easy ride through Lyft, and so I’ve stuck with them. I have friends that feel the same about UberX. And though I don’t know them personally, I’m sure there are rich folks who feel the same way about Uber. I have dreams about those hot towels. Austin Sucks: Don’t Move Here! Regardless if you’re using Uber or Lyft, having legal TNCs in Austin is a great thing. It cuts down on the reliance for taxi companies; the same taxi companies who offered increasingly long wait times and dissatisfactory service. It makes sense that these taxi companies fought these TNCs, but for the consumer this sort of competition is good and allows for more satisfactory service in a town where people need a lot of rides. Lastly, you might be wondering about safety and insurance. Well, if you’ve ever gotten a taxicab then you probably shouldn’t be too much of a worrier when it comes to safety as taxi drivers are insane and give zero hoots about safety. They are overly aggressive, often exhausted individuals who get paid for the more rides they can offer. As for insurance? I have no clue about taxicabs and insurance. I’ve never been in a taxicab that was in an accident (amazingly). I know more about insurance for Uber or Lyft than I do taxis, and TNCs just showed up this year. Call it talky drivers or call it curiosity, but in my experience the conversation concerning safety and insurance happens more often in an Uber or Lyft car than a taxicab. In conclusion, if you haven’t tried Uber, UberX, or Lyft, you should! It’s an alternative to taxicabs, and a rapidly growing industry that has a bright future in Austin and across the country (and globe). I have a few friends who have taken the leap and signed up for their own Lyft or Uber licenses, and they sing nothing but praises. At the end of the day its great to see Austin on the front end of something as useful and helpful as Lyft, Uber, or other TNCs.
Logan is a Content Marketing Associate at FreightPros in charge of social media and content creation. He has a writing degree from the University of Oklahoma, but lives life on the edge and resides in Longhorn country. He loves Murakami books, Tarantino movies, and Vonnegut books. Lots of books. One day he will own a dog, but first he'll have to get a yard.
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