Have you ever landed in a new city, made your way through the airport and out onto the curb only to realize you had no idea what form of transportation you would use next? Most likely, you jumped in a taxi and spent a little bit more than you were hoping to on a ride to your final destination. If you were lucky the taxi driver charged you appropriately but if not, perhaps because you looked like a tourist, you may have been subject to the all too familiar long-hauling taxi scam. Not a fun way to start your trip!
I used to dread these rides from the airport, always worrying about being overcharged, wondering if there was a better form of transportation I could have taken. When I travel, I love to create a detailed budget but I was never fully sure how much to budget for ground transportation in a new city. I would find myself spending too much time researching outdated websites trying to find updated taxi or subway rates. Then one day when I was looking into taxi costs in Chicago I came across the site RideGuru.
After entering in my starting and ending locations, RideGuru showed me a variety of transportation options for my route all ordered by price. Sweet! I liked two things about this, first I could finally budget the correct amount for my ground transportation needs during my trip, and second because I knew what prices to expect I didn’t worry about being scammed by drivers in the process.
RideGuru lays out their information in a simple, easy to view fashion. Every company has a little fare card (they actually remind me of those monopoly cards!) that lists the estimate for your trip, a breakdown of your fare, and any important information about your ride such as surge pricing or if your ride is shared with others. If you would like to narrow down your results you can filter the cards by passengers, service level (standard to luxury rides), or even whether the company allows advanced booking.
Once you have decided which ride fits best for your journey, RideGuru gives you the option to hail the ride. When you click on “Hail”, RideGuru will send you directly to the companies’ webpage or app. In some cases, the ride details that you supplied on RideGuru will already be prepopulated making it easy to hail your ride without having to re-enter your travel pinpoints.
As you can see here, I calculated a ride from Chicago O’hare Airport to Downtown Chicago, this resulted in 21 services that were available for my journey. The prices ranged from around $23 for an Uber Pool ride to $95 for a Lyft Luxury SUV ride. Of course, with my budget, I chose the pool ride. My pool journey, in the end, was slightly higher at $25 but for an estimate to be within $2 when there are a lot of factors (traffic, accidents, etc) to consider I was impressed.
The thing I really love about this tool though is that I have yet to travel to a place where RideGuru did not work. They have provided me with fare estimates from Dubai to Melbourne, Buffalo, NY to Los Angeles. You get the picture, they support just about every city and small town across the globe. Many of the companies they support are big names like Uber and Lyft but they even will tell you if there is a small local company in your area of travel. They also almost always have the standard yellow taxi option if you are not into rideshares.
After browsing their website a bit further, I found they also offer promotions to save further on rides as well as numerous help articles. There is even a decent community of travelers that discuss the ridesharing marketplace on their forum. A quick glance at some thread topics and I noticed that many travelers were asking questions on transportation options and drivers in those corresponding cities were responding with advice. For example, one user was curious how much luggage he could fit in an Uber once arriving at Newark Airport. Various drivers and Guru’s (RideGuru’s experts) responded to his request, helping him decide which company and service level would be best for his journey. I always find it refreshing to see natives answering questions regarding their cities. You will never find better city information than from local taxi and rideshare drivers!
RideGuru does have an iPhone app but no android app yet. I primarily use the site on desktop though to plan out my budget in advance, however, if you like to operate on the go, the app would be one of my top suggested budget travel tools.
Have you used RideGuru before when planning out a trip budget? If so, what were your thoughts?
Bryan has visited exactly one more country than his wife, and she won’t let him forget it! Also an avid photographer, he enjoys entrenching himself within the local culture in order to learn more about the people of a place. He is the co-founder of Budget Your Trip and loves a good adventure, an exotic meal, or a passionate conversation about global events.