Using Uber in NYC – worth it?

My daughter Bird and I just spent five days in NYC on a fun girls’ weekend. While we were there, we probably walked over thirty miles. We like to walk. 🙂

However, there were also times that we just needed a ride: late nights, long treks, rain…you know how it goes.

I was actually excited to use the variety of different ride share services that has cropped up over the past couple of years: in addition to the old standbys Uber and Lyft, you can now (at least theoretically) enjoy rides from Curb, Gett, Hailo, Sidecar, Flywheel and more. Because each service comes with a new user bonus ($10-$30 to use on your first ride), my plan was to sample each service. That way, I reasoned, we could ride for free, while at the same time I could do some investigative work and report back here on my blog.


That sort of happened. Sort of. Here’s what I learned:


Every time I tried to use the app, this is what I saw.


This was frustrating, because there is a $20 credit available if you use a referral code. I kept hoping that things would change during the course of our trip, but sadly, the app was unavailable the entire time.


This was another promising app, because for the rest of 2014, rides are only $10 – anywhere in Manhattan.


However, as you can imagine, demand clearly exceeded supply. This is the screen I saw every time.


gettThe one time I actually managed to get a car, it took 45 minutes to arrive – even though it would show the car arriving in various amounts of minutes – usually 3 or 5. So we kept waiting, thinking that the car was right around the corner, when in fact it was miles away.

We learned later that the driver was in Harlem when he got the call, and drove all the way down to the West Village to answer the call. What?!?


I was never able to get a Lyft. There were literally no cars available. Ever.




So, I went back to Uber. And you know what? It was awesome every time. We got a car in the rain, we got a car when no taxis were available, we got a car to the airport for a flat rate of $60…and they were all great.

Uber is especially great right now if you have an American Express card, because you can get a $10 Uber credit from American Express sync. Just sync your Amex card, tweet #AmexUber, and link your Amex card to your Uber account. You have until December 31, 2014 to charge at least a $10 Uber ride to the card in order to get the $10 statement credit, which should post within 90 days after the promotion ends.

If you are a new Uber user (you don’t have an account yet), you can get a $30 credit for signing up when you use a referral link (here’s mine).

You can then stack your $10 Amex credit on top of your new account bonus for a total of $40 – great for rides to the airport!

Yes, Uber.

So, my verdict – I’m sticking with Uber when I’m in NYC. They definitely beat out the competition every time.

How about you guys? What has your experience been?






  1. sidecar? flywheel?

  2. As a NYC resident, I was excited when Lyft finally launched here, but my experience has been the same as yours… either NO cars are available, or a few cars are available, but at surge pricing… at times when Uber has plenty of availability and is not charging surge pricing. UberX in NYC, which I considered worth the extra money when it was just slightly more expensive than a cab, recently lowered their prices and is now cheaper than a cab, which makes it a no brainer to use. Also, the quirk about Uber in NYC is that there is no ride sharing, so all of the UberX cars are actually livery (black) cars that are licensed… so you arguably get a better experience than in other cities where UberX service is provided by a random guy (or gal) in their personal car.

    • Points Pixie says

      DWT – Good info about the UberX pricing, thanks.

      • UberX is not cheaper than yellow cabs. It costs less per mile, but Uber charges you distance + time so together they come out to be more expensive. Cabs only charge distance OR time depending on how fast you are moving. Don’t just believe the marketing, compare the numbers.

  3. Good to know, we are going for Thanksgiving (3 meeting a fourth) and will no doubt try car services more often as a group. Can you do a follow up post on where you ended up eating and what you liked etc? Thanks 🙂

  4. I didn’t know you were here. You should’ve called Uber and come uptown to visit me!!!


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