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Exhibits > Featured Exhibit: GET A R1DE

GET A R1DE (Transportation Museum 2017)

How do ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft compare to long-standing taxi companies? In this exhibit, we put cost, safety, wait time, ease of requesting, and more side-by-side to give you an in-depth look at how these methods of transportation compare.

The History of Ride Sharing

The concept of hiring a driver for private transportation has been around since 1605! Hackney carriages and Hansom cabs came along in European cities in the 19th century, and before long there were taxis as we know them today.

Uber began in 2008, and since then, the modern-day form of the ride sharing industry has taken off!

Learn More >

According to a 2019 survey, 36% of Americans have used a ride hailing service.

Watch this short video to learn more about ride sharing, courtesy of Ride Guru.

Ride Hailing vs. Taxis: Which is better?

When you need to catch a ride, you're going to want to know which mode of transit is better. So the Transportation Museum created a comparison chart to see how Uber, Lyft, and taxis line up. Take a look at a side-by-side comparison of the price of these services, the wait time, and passenger safety, in the chart below. Additionally, scroll down for a full comparison and a more in-depth look at the cost and safety of ride-hailing services and taxis.


(Short Distance: San Carlos to San Francisco Airport)







(Long Distance: Livermore to San Carlos)


Surge Pricing

(Raising the price of service during times of peak demand, like rush hour or rainy weather) (See below for more information)

  • Surge Pricing can be as high as 7X - 8X normal price

  • Area of Surge Pricing is usually larger than Lyft

Wait Time

(At places where there aren't taxis lined up, the time between requesting a ride and getting in the car)

  • 90% of passengers are picked up within 10 minutes

Passenger Safety

(See below for more information)

  • Less training than taxi drivers

  • Less thorough background check

  • Number of assaults done by ride hailing drivers is higher than those done by taxi drivers

  • 3 years of driving experience required

  • Prime Time (Lyft's version of Surge Pricing) is usually only as high as 3X - 4X normal price

  • Area of Prime Time is usually smaller than Uber

  • No Surge Pricing

  • 90% of passengers are picked up within 10 minutes

  • Less training than taxi drivers

  • Less thorough background check

  • Number of assaults done by ride hailing drivers is higher than those done by taxi drivers

  • 1 year of driving experience required, and less than 3 auto violations

  • "Significantly slower and less reliable" than Uber or Lyft, according to an SF-based study​

  • Because taxi drivers must pass more requirements than Uber or Lyft drivers before becoming licensed (see below), a ride in a taxi is safer

For a full comparison that includes ease of requesting, reservation process, availability, and more, click here.

Have an idea for another aspect of ride hailing that we should compare to taxis? Let the museum know!

The majority of ride hailing users are between the ages of 18 and 29.

Passenger Safety

In short, ride hailing companies classify their drivers as "independent contractors," not employees. Among other effects, this means that drivers undergo less training, have less insurance, and do not complete as thorough a background check. Additionally, many companies state that the driver is responsible for an accident, not themselves. Because many drivers use their existing personal auto insurance policy, not a commercial one, the insurance company may not help in the event of an accident. For better safety and a greater chance of legal recourse in the event of an accident, one should choose taxis. Click here for a more in-depth description and analysis.


Ride Hailing and Taxi Price Comparison

Surge Pricing

Surge Pricing (which Lyft calls Prime Time) occurs when ride hailing services raise their rates, usually at least double or triple the normal amount, during times of peak demand, like rainy days, rush-hour, or Saturday nights. Learn more about the differences between Uber and Lyft's Surge Pricing systems.

Learn More >

Pricing in Various Cities

RideGuru, an online search engine that compares prices of taxis, ride hailing, and limousines at the same time, analyzed data and compared the prices of taxis, Uber, and Lyft in 20 cities across the country, to see which service is cheaper where.

Be sure to view this page next time you're taking a vacation!

View the Chart >

When are taxis cheaper?

When you need to get somewhere and care about the price, remember that in general, ride hailing services are cheaper, except:

  • During times of high demand, like rush hour, Friday and Saturday nights, and during storms. Uber and Lyft regularly charge up to 4X the normal price.

  • For quick trips, like trips where the cost is less than $35.

Other Ride Hailing Information

What is the future of ride hailing?

Could there ever be such a thing as "autonomous" taxis? fact, Uber and Lyft are already considering self-driving cars to be used in the future. Learn more here >

How is ride hailing affecting public transit?

Public transit ridership is down in nearly every major U.S. city, and this is partially the result of ride hailing. A study conducted by the University of California Transportation Center found that nearly half of respondents said that if a ride hailing service (like Uber of Lyft) hadn't been available, they would have taken a bus, train, bike, or simply walked. The problem with this is that public transit is significantly better for the environment, it produces less carbon, and it results in less traffic congestion. Uber subsidizes its fares, giving it an unfair advantage over public transportation that may ultimately end public transit service. Read more in The American Prospect >

What happens if you want to bring your pet?

Uber and Lyft allow their drivers to make case-by-case decisions on whether they bring a pet or not. Here are RideGuru's 5 suggestions on what to do if you would like to bring your pet along on a ride. View the tips >

Do I tip my driver?

While the standard expectation for tipping American taxi drivers is between 10 and 20 percent, what's the deal with ride hailing drivers? Scroll through RideGuru's list of each company's policy on tipping, but know that in general, while you are not expected to tip, if you are, in general it is similarly between 10 and 20 percent of the ride's cost. Read more >

How can I improve my chances of safety?

Safety is an important concern for ride hailing passengers, and while Uber and Lyft are working to make their services safer for everyone, it's still something you should be aware of. RideGuru put together a Safety Checklist to ensure you get as safe a journey as possible. View the checklist >

Could you go carless?

More and more people are considering switching to relying solely on public transit and ride hailing services, instead of personal cars. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, so RideGuru put together a comparison chart and a checklist so you can consider if going carless would work for you. Read more here >

What are the different Uber and Lyft services?

Uber and Lyft have gradually added a variety of different service options, in addition to their normal driving service. For example, Lyft recently instituted Lyft Line, a carpooling service that pairs you with other passengers traveling along the same route. Because you're splitting the cost with several other people, prices are up to 60% cheaper than normal! Learn more about Uber's services and Lyft's services


Ride hailing is quickly becoming a popular mode of transportation, and there are many related news articles posted on the Transportation Museum's Transit News page. Click here to view what's new in the world of transit >

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