Help Us to Keep Rideshares Transparent!

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With the release of our new site, RideGuru, the TaxiFareFinder/RideGuru team has become passionate about bringing transparency to the ridesharing community. Rideshares, such as Uber and Lyft, have their benefits but they also can be hampered by a lack of transparency.

Take a look at the video below to see how RideGuru is helping to bring insight into the ridesharing industry and let us know your thoughts below!

Which is Safer, Ubers or Taxis?

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uber-vs-taxi

In the news we often see headlined stories about passengers who have been assaulted by their Uber and Taxi drivers. Sometimes people even report being abused more than once. With all the media that the news covers around these incidents, we wanted to see if one of these options (Taxis or Ubers) would be safer to use than the other.

Tracking Police Reports

The first step of this investigation might be to check with the records of reported assaults, and compare how many occurred in Taxis and how many in Ubers in different cities across the U.S.. However, according to this article in The Atlantic, when an incident is reported to the local police surrounding an assault in a cab or Uber, the police report does not include the location of where the offense occurred. So, police departments in major cities have no way to track historical records of assaults that have occurred in taxis or Ubers, which complicates things just a bit.

Background Checks

Now to the topic of background checks. This is a sensitive topic because of course, Uber thinks that they have more intense background checks than taxis, using the example of some drivers who failed Uber’s check but passed the city’s background check to drive a taxi. On the other hand, taxi companies believe that taxi drivers have to undergo more intense background checks than Uber drivers do, because Uber’s records only go back 7 years and they do not use fingerprints. Uber left the city of Austin just to prove that they refused to fingerprint their drivers.

The conclusion on this topic might be that no background checks are perfect, and each of them contain their flaws. And, of course, even a seemingly perfect background check may not catch a potential offender of sexual assault because the person may not have a history of criminal behavior, but humans are also flawed.

Incident Reporting

When an incident is reported in the Uber app, Uber suspends the driver’s access to the app while they are investigating the claim, which means they are not able to drive any passengers. If they find the person is guilty, Uber will deactivate the driver permanently. Taxi commissions have similar processes if a driver is accused of assault, however there is no standard procedure that all taxi drivers undergo when accused.

According to these factors, we cannot come to the conclusion that Ubers are more dangerous than Taxis, or the other way around. The fact of the matter is that assault incidences occur in both, and the best way to insure your safety while riding in an Uber or Taxi is to be aware of your surroundings, travel with a buddy, and be sure to report any incidences that may occur.

Melbourne’s Newest Rideshare, RideBoom!

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There is yet another new rideshare company on the block trying to take a piece of Uber’s profits. This newest rideshare app, RideBoom, was developed in Melbourne, Australia by a taxi operator who is eager to make RideBoom everything Uber is not.

Like most Rideshare apps, you order your car through the app, watch your driver arrive, and pay via the app at the end of your trip. However, RideBoom does have a few unique features. Our favorite aspect of this app is that you can choose your ride for either immediate pick up or for the future. RideBoom’s future time bookings can be made through the app from 2 hours to 7 days in advance ensuring there is a car for those early morning rides or time-sensitive special celebrations. Also, because RideBoom allows you to pre-book through the app they also offer the option for the driver to arrive with baby/child seats so you do not have to worry about lugging your own car seat around!

Rideboom, unlike UberX, only accepts accredited, commercial hire car / van drivers and luxury taxi drivers. Also all of their drivers and vehicles are required to carry commercial insurance for all rides.

The one downside of Rideboom, is it is currently only available in Melbourne, Australia. However if you are planning a trip to Melbourne anytime soon you can still download the app and book a ride from overseas!

 

About the Author

Lilly is the marketing manager for TaxiFareFinder.com. She has a dream to travel to 100 countries during her lifetime but meanwhile is filling her time by instagramming pictures of her puppy and trying to figure out how to get an acceptance letter to Hogwarts.

Taxi Hall of Fame & Shame

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An experience in a taxi is often one of the first defining moments when you reach a new city, whether for business or fun. This experience can set the tone for the entire trip, leaving the passenger excited to explore or with a sour taste and low expectations of the city.  We decided to dig deeper into the reputations that different cities around the world have for their taxi services. Based on research conducted from various travel websites, traveler forums, and the TaxiFareFinder community, we have compiled a list of the top five cities with the best and worst reputations. This information was collected, organized, and ranked by TaxiFareFinder staff based on the following criteria points:

  • Availability: the amount of taxis on the street, available to pickup passengers
  • Cleanliness: the state of the taxi when a passenger enters; the cleanliness of the seats, windows, handles, etc.
  • Friendliness: the demeanor and attitude of the driver; willingness to chat and answer questions of the passenger
  • Knowledgeable: the ability of the driver to navigate confidently around the city without getting lost
  • Quality of Driving: the ability of the driver to operate the vehicle in a safe and comfortable manner for the passenger
  • Quality of Vehicles: the condition of the automobile serving as the taxi; up-to-date, well-taken care of vehicles
  • Safety: the overall sense of safety for passengers
  • Value: the cost of the taxi ride in relation to time and distance travelled

The Hall of Fame highlights cities with the best reputations around their taxi services, showing the top 2-3 attributes that allow the city a high ranking. The Hall of Shame highlights cities with low reputations, but with attributes shown in red to signify low ranking in these categories.  Do you agree with the TaxiFareFinder Taxi Hall of Fame & Shame?

Collegiate Taxi Fare Calculators

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As many of you know, one of the primary missions of TaxiFareFinder is to help the public feel familiar and comfortable with taking taxis. This mission is especially true when the hazards of drinking and driving come into play. According to a study completed by the University of Oregon, around 2,100,000 college students drive while intoxicated every year! Taking taxis should not be a foreign or scary concept and we want to encourage these students to call a taxi instead of driving after a night out.

As a result, TaxiFareFinder has created specific College Taxi Fare Calculators for colleges around the United States. With these calculators, students can estimate the cost of a taxi in their area and then easily hail a cab. For a full list of our currently supported College Calculators visit our Colleges Page and as always let us know if you would like your college supported!

Did You Know…New York City Taxi Edition

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New York City is known for it’s iconic yellow cabs that dominate the city streets and every scenic view. Yellow taxis have become synonymous with the city and even define the nonstop hustle and bustle of the big apple. We’ve compiled notable facts, figures, and historical tidbits to celebrate the taxi-driven culture of New York City.

There are over 13,437 medallions, the right to run a yellow taxi, in New York City.

There are over 50,000 taxi drivers in New York City.

A typical driver shift is 9.5 hours.

The average number of rides per shift is 30.

The average number of miles driven in a shift is 180.

The average fare is about $6.

The average trip distance is 2.6 miles.

About 99% of all trips are less than 12 miles.

About 20% of all trips are less than 1 mile.

There are over 485,000 taxi trips made per day.

There are over 175 million taxi trips per year.

A typical taxi travels 70,000 miles per year.

Over 600,000 people ride in taxis everyday.

Over 236 million people ride in taxis every year.

The average age of a taxi vehicle is 3.3 years.

Average daily taxi usage is highest in the spring months.

Average daily taxi usage is lowest during the summer months.

Friday December 11, 2009 is the day with the most taxicabs trips between 2008 and 2013.

Taxi usage always dips significantly on major holidays.

About 90% of taxi pickups in New York City occur in Manhattan.

The average tip given to a taxi driver is 18%.

About 1% of taxi drivers in New York City are female.

Each yellow taxi goes through a rigorous inspection process 3 times per year.

Cabs have 18 different sensors, these are all reviewed during the inspection process.

Medallions can be as expensive as $1,200,000.

Over 2/3 of taxi passengers are 35 or under in age.

A cab gets its name from its predecessor, the horse-driven carriage called the cabriolet.

In 1967 all medallion taxicabs in New York City were painted yellow by order of the city.

In 1925 the first woman became a taxi driver in New York City.

There is presently a $200 penalty for taxicab drivers found using their cell phones while operating their vehicles.

TaxiFareFinder used the following resources to compile these taxicab facts and figures:

2014 Taxicab Fact Book & PBS Taxi Facts & Figures

Around the World in 15 Taxis

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Whether you’re halfway around the world or in your home country, getting a taxi seems like a pretty simple affair. Just walk to a rank, call up a reliable company, hail one on the street, or order a taxi and prepay through an app.

However, according to this infographic and article from The Taxi Centre, things are a little different elsewhere. Depending on where you are in the world, your simple taxi trip home could include a boat trip, short jaunt on a seaplane, or even a ride on an elephant.

To find out more info on taxi prices, etiquette, and tipping expectations, view the infographic below.













Traveling Females and Transportation Safety

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It seems on every news station there are stories lately of women standing up for their rights. One of the biggest issues seems to be women concerned for their safety while traveling throughout the world. Many females have scaled back their plans to travel because of the news circulating assaults and scams against women worldwide.

But what dangerous situations are women really experiencing when they travel locally or abroad?

For one, women take public and private transportation more frequently, including subways, buses, taxis and private car services. This makes them more susceptible to harm. According to a 2007 study on gender equality and urban planning, women rely on public transportation more than men to get to work, pick up children, run errands and travel. Roughly 75% of bus patrons are women, and only 30% of women have access to their own car during the day in Western Europe and North America.

In certain cities, such as Bogota, Colombia, there have been studies on the amount of attacks against women in public. They found during nighttime hours, the majority of victims who were robbed were females waiting for buses, even at well-lit stations with other people nearby. Waiting in these areas for taxis, trains, buses and trams opens up the possibilities for negative consequences, especially for women on their own. Women are susceptible to assault, verbal abuse and even rape in these circumstances.

Varying Factors of Female Safety

How women move about cities and rural areas varies from country to county. A solo female traveling in Boston, Massachusetts, for example, might have a completely different strategy than someone exploring Delhi, India. Financial standings are taken into consideration too – a taxi is often preferred over public transportation for safety reasons, but this isn’t always an option due to budget or convenience. These factors cause issues in streamlining solutions for safety.

Solidarity and Safety Tips

The ease of mobility is often a focal point when females are traveling for business or pleasure. So what can be done overall to ensure the safety of women worldwide, whether they are hailing a taxi, taking the subway or even simply walking the streets of a new city? The number one thing women can keep in mind is adapting to their environment. Doing research on a new destination is an easy way to stay prepared and ready for what’s to come.

Also, finding out if there are programs to assist in making women feel safe can be key to being secure while traveling and utilizing local transportation. For example, some places in India, like Mumbai, have train cars that are for women only. This was first introduced by the British Grand Junction Railway in 1845, and has been seen in other places such as Japan, Thailand and New York. Other private car services will take requests for female drivers or allow drivers to escort female passengers to a safe area once they exit the vehicle. But this goes to show female harassment in transportation has been an issue for more than a century, with little to no change.

Female Transportation Workers Need Help Too

Of course those traveling have safety issues whether they are solo or in groups, but so do the women in the workforce that drive these vehicles every day. Yes, only about 2 percent of taxi drivers in the U.S. are women, with an even lower percentage globally. But all of these brave women have some incredible stories to share and, because they are the minority, often claim to be protected by their coworkers and employers. Luckily, few reported assaults on these drivers – but unfortunately, many reported incidents of passengers bailing and not paying fare.

Where to Find Help

New generations of women are taking a stand against violence and advocating safety as well for the masses. Nomindari S., a recent graduate of Smith College in Massachusetts, has started WomensTaxi.org to be a voice for those feeling unsafe while using transportation across the globe. She currently resides in Mongolia and is working on providing a taxi service offering female drivers to female passengers. She is partnering with other NGOs such as Amnesty International and “I Holla Back”, which works to ease the frequency of street catcalls and harassment.

Use common sense but do not limit your traveling if you’re a female. Things can happen, but staying alert and aware will help keep statistics down and you perfectly safe.