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Ride-Shares Versus Taxis In New York City, Which Has Better Prices? CBS2 Puts Both To The Test

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- When ride-shares hit the streets years ago, they promised more affordable, equitable trips. But now, as demand for rides is surging, CBS2 wanted to check in on the most cost-effective ways to get around.

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon put cabs and ride-shares to a test on Tuesday.

Driving through the streets of Manhattan can be hectic and expensive. As the miles pile up, so do the prices.

That's why when deciding whether to take a cab or use a ride-share to get around, taking the cheapest option is tempting.

"I think ride-sharing is cheaper. Just from experience," Linda Mirenda said.

"I would say Uber is cheaper, yeah," another person said.

New York City yellow taxi cab
NYC cab (file/credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

For many people, the perception is that ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are the low-cost choices.

CBS2 put it to an unscientific test, taking five rides in Manhattan, all on the same afternoon.

Dhillon first searched the rides on Uber and Lyft, and recorded the advertised prices before hailing a cab.

The results might shock you.

She found that without tips or surge pricing, hailing a cab was always less expensive than an UberX or a standard Lyft.

Cab prices averaged 35-83% less than a ride-share. Prices for the same rides on the taxi cab app CURB varied.

"Yeah, I don't think we should call an Uber anymore!" one person said.

"For a long time, no one was giving yellow cabs business. It was Uber, Uber and Lyft and so I think it's great for the yellow cab owners that they're getting their business back," Mirenda said.

But business isn't entirely back in full swing, and many struggling cabbies want riders to know when you hail a cab, the prices don't change.

"When there is rush hour or rain or snow, their prices go up, but yellow cab is always the same as it is," one taxi driver said.

(Credit: CBS2)

In response to the price discrepancies, Lyft told CBS2 driver shortages are to blame.

The company added, "As vaccines rolled out and people started moving again, we began to see the demand for rides outpace the number of available drivers. We've added thousands of drivers to the platform and expect rider wait times and prices to improve moving forward. For drivers, it continues to be a great time to drive with drivers in top markets earning significantly more than they were pre-pandemic."

Lyft said riders can also opt for a longer wait time in exchange for a lower fare.

Meanwhile, Uber said, in 2018, New York City set a minimum pay standard for app-based car services, which resulted in prices going up.

The company added in a statement, "By law, Uber drivers in New York City get a minimum pay standard of more than $25 an hour, paid time off and benefits like telemedicine, none of which taxi drivers are eligible for."

For many consumers, the conveniences that come with rideshares are extremely tempting.

"I don't mind paying a slightly higher price, but now you're saying it's much higher, so I think it's ridiculous," Lindsay Klein said.

But now, some say they may just hail a cab instead.

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission said cab drivers must be signed up to a workers' compensation policy, adding they may also join a group benefit fund that could provide ancillary benefits or purchase individual workers compensation insurance.

In a statement it added, "Taxis and app-based companies have different pricing mechanisms. The iconic yellow and green taxis utilize metered fares, continue to offer consistent fares, and are a reliable source for transport across New York City."

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.

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