Uber vs. Taxi: What's the Difference?

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uber vs taxi

In 2021, there were a whopping 93 million active monthly Uber user accounts. Uber also reports that it completes 1.44 billion trips per quarter.

Uber is a modern on-demand taxi service that offers a wealth of benefits versus traditional taxi services. Taxis have been around since the 17th century. Taxi industry has been hit hard by the popularity of ride-share services and by COVID.

But what are the key differences between an Uber when compared to a taxi? What are the services that Uber offers that a taxi does not?

If you want to know some of the pros and cons when it comes to Uber vs. taxi service, keep reading this post to discover more about the differences and benefits of Taxis vs. Uber.

Uber vs. Taxi

Uber has become one of the leading rideshare services in the gig industry with its popularity growing more each year. They have expanded their service to include grocery and take-out food delivery, car rental, and moving services.

But what is the cost of taking a cab vs Uber?

Is Uber Cheaper Than a Taxi?

When you need to decide between Uber or taxi to determine which option to choose, costs are really important. So, are Taxis cheaper than Uber? Pitting Taxi vs Uber cost we take a look at taxi fares and Uber fares.

In regards to the cost of taxis, cabs post their rates on the door or window but it can be confusing and require you to figure out how much your ride will cost. You might need to use a cab fare estimator to find out if your ride is worth the price.

Taxi rates factor in mileage, time, and use, as well as a customary tip, added on to the total fare to reward a safe and efficient driver for their time and effort. Taxi cabs charge an extra fee for idling at frequent stops or in heavy traffic.

Even a short distance trip will be more costly with the time fees if it involves going through heavily congested areas.

Cost of Taxis

For example, according to one cab fare estimator, a one-way taxi cab fare from the Hilton hotel in Woodland Hills, CA to the Los Angeles International Airport would cost approximately $78.50 on average, around $90.28 with a 15% gratuity. This rate could go as high as $97.09 not including a tip for a 27-mile trip.

In some larger cities, you should ask for the rate upfront before getting in to make sure you can afford it. Taxi drivers may also want to haggle the price. This can be unnerving for some, especially those who are visiting or on vacation.

Cost of Uber

For the same trip, the cost of Uber and the base fares varies depending on which of their car services you utilize for the trip. For the standard UberX service, you can expect to pay about $44.96, not including a tip, for a midday pickup.

Other Uber services such as UberX Priority will run about $51.71 for a faster pick up time and UberXL, which is a bigger car for larger groups, will cost about $74.85 without tip.

For the basic Uber service car, the cost of Uber is significantly lower than the cost of taxis. Uber also provides upfront pricing for its services in the app. Uber offers special promo codes and programs that give discounts for frequent riders, and awards points for each ride. 500 points award a $5 credit for future Uber rides or UberEats purchases.

Surge Pricing

While Uber does provide more upfront pricing for the different levels of car services within their app, they do implement surge pricing with rates fluctuating up to 50% more in certain areas. Surge pricing initiates when the number of people requesting a ride in a specific area outnumbers the amount of drivers available, especially in busier and larger cities like New York City.

This can also go into effect during busier times like rush hour periods going to and from work between the hours of 7 am to 9 am on weekday mornings and between 4 pm and 6 pm weekday evenings when traffic is higher.

This also involves holidays such as New Year's Eve and special events like a concert or sporting event, convention, or festival. Or anytime there is bad weather such as heavy rain and snow.

Weekends in the evening are primarily more busy due to the number of people going out to bars, clubs, and late-night shows. If they are too impaired to drive, they will use ridesharing services to prevent getting a DUI if they should attempt to drive their own vehicle.

It is best to wait a few minutes for the surge pricing to change as Uber's app provides real-time data. When the system is less congested, you will be able to get a better rate.

Likewise, if you are in a crowded area where many people are attempting to hail a ride service at once, it is advised that you walk a few blocks over away to hail your ride. You will be able to get out of the cellular gridlock that may be preventing you from getting an accurate signal on the app. This will also make it easier for your driver to find you.


If you are sharing a vehicle with more than one person, you can use the fare-splitting feature on the app. This makes it simple to calculate each person's fare amongst multiple riders with Uber accounts.

It is effective for dividing up the cost of a ride. Sharing a ride with friends who may be going to the same area as you will split the cost amongst several people to lower the cost.

Turn-by-Turn GPS Navigation

While taxi drivers have an acute knowledge of their surroundings in larger cities, this may lead to them taking a longer route to the final destination in order to drive up the final price.

Uber drivers use GPS directional navigation systems linked to Uber itself. This gives turn-by-turn directions to your destination that you can follow along in your phone's app. It also gives an estimated time of arrival and traffic or accident delay updates.

Choice of Transport Options

Uber offers many different forms of transport for their rideshare service. Different styles and options can be hired based on certain needs or requirements.

Uber Green is an electric or hybrid vehicle-only option. Uber Pool is a carpool option for different riders all going in the same direction who want to save time by riding together, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, this option has been temporarily suspended.

UberXL provides larger vehicles for groups of up to 6 people. Uber Comfort offers newer vehicles with more legroom.

The Uber Black service is a higher-end Uber that furnishes luxury vehicles and SUVs with professional drivers maintaining a 4.85 rating. Uber Black gives riders access to premium features such as flexible pick-up times, temperature, more room, help with luggage, and even the level of driver conversation.


In addition to its other car services, Uber also offers Uber WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle) and Uber Assist options. These vehicles also comply with the transport of service animals. The ability to request a specific assistance vehicle is a benefit for many who have difficulty getting around.

Uber Assist provides assistance transport for pregnant women, disabled people, and the elderly who may have trouble getting into or out of the car. Drivers are specially trained to help the person get into and out of the vehicle safely and assure they get picked up and reach their destination on time.

They are also trained in the proper loading and unloading methods of any assistive devices the rider may have. While accessibility vehicles are not available in all regions, their use is growing and more are being added by Uber all the time.

Contactless Stored Payment

With taxi cabs, you often have to make certain you have enough money in smaller bills to pay the fare and the tip. While the majority of taxi cabs do accept credit and debit cards now, some may not or the system may be broken which can prompt a cash-only policy for the ride.

This may require an ATM stop or having to wait for another taxi cab to come along. In busy cities at night, this can be a danger in having your wallet or card more visible for someone to try and rob you.

With Uber, your payment is stored safely and securely on the app. Your card on file is charged at the completion of the trip and you can add the percent of gratuity to the trip cost from the app for up to 24 hours after the trip ends. There is no need to take your card out of your wallet or carry around cash.


Uber's app gives an individual the ease of finding and summoning a ride in real-time from wherever they are. In smaller towns and suburbs this is preferable over having to find the phone number of a local cab station, call, and request a ride, which could take a while to arrive.

Uber also lets you pre-schedule a ride ahead of time for a future trip up to 30 days in advance, so you know it is already taken care of and what cost to expect for it.

You will get a notification on the day of your selected scheduled trip to confirm the time and pick-up and drop-off locations. If something needs to be changed, you can do so anytime in the Uber app to adjust your trip.

Rating and Review System

Uber uses a star rating system to review the performance of its drivers. When you summon an Uber ride, that particular driver's profile picture and name will be shown along with their overall star rating. A 5.0-star rating is excellent.

After the ride is completed, riders have the opportunity to rate their driver's performance with the star system and the ability to review anything their driver did or did not perform well in. This keeps drivers accountable and informs other riders of who is a great driver.

Similarly, the drivers have the ability to rate the passengers in case there are some riders who are disrespectful or leave a mess behind in the car after its use. This is to warn other drivers of unruly passengers.

Helps the Planet

Utilizing one car for many purposes helps cut down on carbon emissions that would otherwise add to further pollution rates in our atmosphere. This is especially true for large and overpopulated cities that already deal with heavy smog and other air pollutants. Ridesharing services reduce congestion on already busy roads.

They also reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted when a car that is turned off and parked for a long amount of time is started 'cold'. Rideshare cars are more active throughout the day so there are fewer cold-start emissions released.

As soon as an Uber driver completes one trip, they get a notification on their smartphone about another user nearby who requires a ride and continue onto the next trip, reducing cold-starts. Most trips are for pick-up and drop-off with no idling.

With electric and hybrid cars growing in popularity over standard gas-powered cars, there is room for improvement in reducing these greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions in the future.


All Uber vehicles are expected to maintain high levels of cleanliness in their vehicles at all times. Vehicle interiors should be vacuumed of debris, clear of trash, and free of harsh odors or scents.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, drivers are also expected to follow protocols of sanitizing their vehicles between passengers and wearing a mask when a passenger is in the car. Passengers must also wear masks for the duration of the trip.

Background Checks

While taxi drivers must pass background checks, taxi cabs companies often lease their cars out to 2-3 drivers in an 8-12 hour time period making it more difficult to hold a taxi driver accountable for improper behavior.

Uber requires background checks on all their drivers to qualify and pending charges or convictions disqualify drivers. For those under 25 years of age, 3 years of driving experience is required. For those 25 or older, 1 year of driving experience is required.


Unlike taxi cabs, Uber allows you to share your location on GPS through the app via Trusted Contacts. This ensures that a friend or family member knows your location at all times and can get an estimated arrival time.

You can also set emergency contacts. If anything goes wrong and Uber can't reach you regarding an injury, death, hospitalization, or required ambulance transport, your emergency contacts will be notified.

Uber also utilizes a PIN verification system to protect you from someone who may be posing as an Uber driver. Each trip will assign you a unique 4 digit PIN. When the car arrives, they must have the 4 digit PIN in order to proceed.

RideCheck also sends notifications to your phone in case a ride does not go as planned, such as a crash or unexpected long stop. It will provide safety tools to give you access to any help you may need.

A prompt on your phone will ask you if everything is okay and whether you require emergency help or to report a crash or call the Uber safety line.

Information on Uber and More Through BestReferralDriver

As you can see there are many benefits to using an Uber vs. taxi service. In many areas of comparison, Uber is the clear winner.

If you are thinking about becoming an Uber driver, BestReferralDriver.com has everything you need to know. BestReferralDriver offers information on all of the best apps and services in the gig industry.

Make money in your spare time driving with Uber or Lyft. Or for grocery and food delivery services like Instacart.

If you want to know more about rideshare benefits and services, check out our site today.


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