A Case Against Taking Uber in NYC

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Maybe I should change the focus of my blog from points to taxis since I write about them so much. As a newcomer to any city, the lazy way to get around is to take a taxi. It is therefore the expensive way.

Coming from Newark to Brooklyn with far too much luggage, I didn’t take the train or the bus out of convenience and was hit with a $95 Uber bill. This morning I had a meeting and didn’t want to figure out the subway routing. Not only was the bill $37 but it took twice the time to get there. On the way home, I went back to common sense travel sensibilities and took the metro. All is well again.

Apart from being a novice of transport options in NYC, I also learned a valuable lesson today: do not Uber if you are in a hurry to get from point A to point B. The Uber driver, unlike the normal taxi driver, is so focused on his star rating that he doesn’t do what a normal, aggressive taxi driver would do. There’s no cutting people off, honking of the horn, swearing at pedestrians, and running of red lights. Sure I had a bottle of water and a great smelling Toyota Avalon but I would trade that in a second to save a few minutes even if I had to sacrifice a few more dollars.

My favorite experience in NYC was when I rented a car and drove around like a maniac, efficiently getting to where I needed to go. This same urgency is why I probably did so well when I was a cabbie in Arizona as customers didn’t feel like I was taking my time to run up the meter. This style of driving is frowned upon by Uber and in normal circumstances I would prefer it. But, when I’m trying to get to where I’m going, I want a real NYC cabbie, not some passive NYU grad student trying to hold on to his 4.8 rating.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Hey, I also live in NYC (for 19 years), and as you get situated to your new neighborhood, keep in mind that most NYC outerborough areas (Bk, Qns, etc.) still have the “call your local car service” attitude where green/yellow cabs are not so present. Find out which is your local car service, and do not be hesitant to call them and negotiate (would be helpful if you speak Spanish to be honest lol). They woulda probably quoted you something comparable to an uber/cab fare in rush hour traffic, which can be a savings because it is not time/distanced metered like taxi and rideshare. And get yourself a MetroCard (check if unlimited ride works for you; most people get the Monthly for about $120) … get to know the bus system also

    • I guess I’ll have to brush up on my Spanish! The metro is so slow compared to Asia and not as reliable, but sitting in traffic is more pointless.

      Thanks for the tip.

      • Haha many people make the comparison that NYC subways are not as punctual, but you’ll become more appreciative once you’ve experienced 3AM in the dead of winter, and the train is packed to the seams!

  2. As a native New Yorker and a bike courier I can’t even tell you how disappointing this post is. I’m no uber fanboy and I don’t take cabs or private cars so I’m not defending them but if you think driving as a cabbie in Arizona has any parallel to nyc you need to rent a zipcar for a day and drive around in rush hour. See how far running reds gets you. So much fail in 3 paragraphs. I’m very curious when and where you rented this car and got around ‘very efficiently’. What was your daily parking budget? Get real dude or go home. That cabbie running reds is the same dude I saw guzzling mouthwash from the bottle behind the wheel yesterday.

    • Meh I take the subway now. I didn’t say AZ taxi was the same as NY. No way I’m riding a bike. If you read the blog regularly you would know that’s not a skill of mine. Also if you read it regularly you wouldn’t react so angrily and go off on an inapplicable tangent.

      And if you really want to know my rental car story you can email me. It was one hell of a day.

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