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Try these ride-hailing tips on your next trip to save you time and money

Uber launched a service called Uber Comfort in 2019. Picture: REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

Uber launched a service called Uber Comfort in 2019. Picture: REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

Published May 30, 2022

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By Christopher Elliott

Most of my ride-hailing experiences have been uneventful – except for one recent trip to the airport.

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On a rainy afternoon, I failed to connect with my driver, which precipitated a soggy 20-minute delay. That got me thinking: maybe I could benefit from some advice.

I asked academics, travellers and ride-hailing experts. And much like the ride-hailing industry itself, the answers I received were all over the map.

Here’s what else I learned.

Look at the fare before you agree to it

Insiders say this is important for visitors to a new city. The practice of surge pricing, or charging more if demand is higher, can make some rides less affordable, says JB Shepard, a Baltimore-based photographer who has driven for major ride-hailing services. “For whatever reason, this seems to happen more to visitors from out of town and those picked up at or travelling to hotels,” he says.

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Pay a little more to get a lot more

Uber launched a service called Uber Comfort in 2019. It guarantees that you get a roomier car for a small upcharge. And you also get a top-rated driver. The upper tier options such as Uber Black and Uber Select aren’t worth it to travellers who don’t care about the make and model of the car that takes them there.

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Never hail a ride from the airport

An airport pick-up can cost up to twice as much as it would from the airport hotel across the street, according to experts.

“Instead, take a free airport shuttle to a nearby hotel,” says Michael Alexis, who runs a team-building company that co-ordinates flights and airport pick-ups each month.

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“Your ride will be significantly cheaper, sometimes as much as 25% to 50% less, and you will also save the driver from having to navigate the busy airport pick-up.”

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