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The cheapest car services in NYC right now

What car service gives you the most bang for your buck in NYC? We broke down the pros and cons of each.

Photograph: Shutterstock/Roman Tiraspolsky

Getting a quick, cheap ride when you need one is essential to New Yorkers. And the recent advent of ride apps has made it even easier to get an efficient lift with good value. But in an increasingly crowded market, which apps for New York City are really the easiest on your wallet? Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or just want the easiest NYC commute possible after work, we found the best ones to download. Don’t just take our word for it—the app Open Street Cab, created by Cambridge University computer scientists, compares the prices offered by most of these services for your particular road trips or visits to the best New York attractions. Read on for a definitive list of the cheapest available car services and their pricing structures.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to cheap things to do in NYC

Cheapest car services in NYC right now

1

Lyft

Lyft is essentially the same as Uber but offers fewer pricing options and has a smaller fleet (though many drivers in NYC are registered with both apps). Much like rooting for the Mets, taking Lyft often means supporting the underdog for reasons you can’t really explain.

Pro: it’s pretty easy to find a promotion code online that gives you a small sign-up credit (usually about $15).

2

Arro

While the gig economy has meant unprecedented competition for traditional cabs, a new app may bring them back in the game. Arro is now linked to many of those bright yellow denizens of classic NYC life.

Pro: Most studies suggest that a cab is generally cheaper than UberX for short distances.

Pro: Also, yellow cabs are always the same price.

Con: Don’t expect to be offered bottled water or for your driver to bump your Spotify playlist. Also, be on the look out for the (possible) new airport tax.

Con: The showbiz-sounding euphemism for surge pricing is “Prime Time,” and “Lyft Line,” the ride-share option, charges a flat fee that is usually 60 percent less than the cost of riding in an actual Lyft.

Pro: Since pretty much no one uses Lyft Line, you can often get a discounted ride without actually having to share—sweet while it lasts.

3

Via

It’s super cheap, but it’s cheap because it only offers carpooling. If you don’t mind pit stops or strangers, Via is the cheapest option outside commuting hours (and it runs 24-7).

Pro: Via will take you wherever you want to go for just five bones.

Pro: It operates in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and Queens, and Via provides service to JFK, LaGuardia and even Newark airports.

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4

Juno

This app is an up-and-comer—it only just wrapped its beta testing. But its soft launch is your gain—all rides in NYC are still 30 percent off.

Con: Rides aren’t as easy to hail, as there are relatively few drivers and the platform still has some bugs.

Pro: If you manage book a ride with Juno, it’s cheaper than UberX or Lyft.

5

Gett

The word on the street is that Gett isn’t the most reliable way to get a ride. Negative experiences with customer service are common, but then so are the situations that make complaining to customer service a necessity.

Pro: Gett never charges surge pricing, and it now offers a flat $10 fee for rides up to 30 minutes and four miles.

Con: The most common complaint is that the driver was late.

6

Uber

The original ride app, though recently the subject of much derision, still provides great coverage for a great price.

Pro: On average, Uber is at least $1 cheaper than Lyft, its biggest competitor.

Pro: UberPOOL, the ride-share function, is only $5 during commuting hours no matter the distance, and typically at least 50 percent cheaper than Uber X (the solo option).

Pro: You can now book your ride in advance.

Con: All that said, when there his high demand for hailing a ride, UberX increases in cost, sometimes by four times as much—the dreaded surge price.

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Looking for more ways to do NYC on the cheap?

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