4 Apps to Call a Ride That Aren’t Uber

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feature image via Discover Buenos Aires

So I spent some time in LA last month and I did something I promised I would never do: I used Uber. Because that seemed to be the LA Way to get around, and when in Rome, etc. But I have so many conflicting feelings about this — drivers raping passengers happens, for instance, and ride-share services can really take advantage of their drivers. Sometimes, though, needing a car to come get you in an unavoidable thing. And Uber, while it’s really smarmy, does have one thing right: when that avoidable car time comes, it is so much more pleasant and convenient to use an app than it is to hail a cab that might not exist, or might pass you by because you don’t look like a cis, straight white dude. Here are a few apps to use that aren’t Uber — I tried to get in as many cities as I could (even though I live in New York City and have the most experience there). Ride-sharing is still like taking a cab, though, so please remember to tip your drivers!

Curb

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0F3y5ANPnA

Curb is less like ride-sharing and more like connecting you with professional, licensed taxis and drivers, but in that app-easy way. Because it’s summoning actual taxis, the prices are the same as if you were to hail a cab. It lets you know how far away your ride is and locks taxis that stop to pick up another fare on the way to you out of the app for five hours, so you’re not waiting forever. If you need, for some reason, a fancy car or limo, you can also book those. Curb offers the most cities out of every app on this list by a long shot: 60 of them, including Boulder and Fort Collins, Ann Arbor, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Raleigh. There are. So many. Cities. And from all over the US, too — not just coasts and Chicago! It’s available for iOS and Android.


Via

I met the folks of Via at NY Tech Day (yes, you bet they had women at the table), and they were really rad! When I asked how they were ethically different from Uber, they replied that they were really accessible to their drivers when drivers are on the road — their service team is watching and ready to take calls from drivers experiencing difficulty, and from passengers who have questions or concerns as well. Via is available in Manhattan (below 110th, weekdays $5 plus tax 6am-9pm, $5.95 9pm-midnight) and Chicago (Loop, West Loop, River North, Lincoln Park, and Lakeview, weekdays $3.95 non-peak and $4.95 peak). They’re more for commuting and happy hour transportation, as they don’t operate on weekends. Rides are actually shared with other passengers, much like Über Pool, to cut down on carbon footprint. Download Via’s app for iOS and Android.


Flywheel

Flywheel partners with local taxis, much like Curb, so prices are dependent upon taxis in your city — San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Sacramento or San Diego. No surge pricing here! Not really keen on the all-male team, but it seems like a smaller, more artisan Curb with the potential to expand. You can grab Flywheel on iOS and Android.


Gett

Even though Gett is New York City-only in the US, I’m including them here in the hopes that they’ll grow in this country for two reasons — first, they have really excellent advertising around town (“We won’t say who, but our competition is über ripping you off.”) and second, they’re one of the few out there that lets you book a ride ahead of time. Around the world, they do several other cities in the UK, Israel and Russia. It also doesn’t take a cut of a driver’s tips. There’s a flat rate of $10 for rides that start and end in Manhattan below 110, but unlike Via they serve places outside of that area — I just looked to see what it would cost for me to get to my weekly D&D game, which lies outside of this area, and it told me $10.76, which is $5-7 less than normal, but not so insanely cheap that I worry about how the driver is making money. The app is available for iOS and Android.

So what about you — what apps are you using to summon cars to your doorstep? If you don’t live in a city, do you have a hyperlocal on-demand transportation solution (we did in my small town growing up!) and have they adapted to the tech world?

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A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 543 articles for us.

17 Comments

  1. I live in Dublin and I use Hailo, I dont trust Uber, there is no way i am getting in a car with a random person so i stick to taxis. Hailo lets you book in advance, sends you a picture of your driver and their taxi ID number and you can follow the taxi on the map. I think they are in London and a few other european cities too.

  2. Well, I know it’s not an app, but when i was living in sf i loved utilizing homobiles on the rare occasions that i was without a bike, simply because they are awesome and i wanted to support what they were doing.

  3. In general I use a combination of public transportation and walking, but when I have to go somewhere that is too far from a bus stop I use Lyft. I’ve had a lot of cool conversations with drivers, and it’s also good for my music education in that the drivers’ cars seem to be the only businesses that play music other than “classic rock”.

  4. I was kind of confortable using Uber, but now is all over the news in Mexico that a driver raped, beat and robbed a woman, so there goes my mild sense of safety. I hope we have more options here in the future -I’m gonna have to stick to Uber for a while, though :/

  5. Gett is the only one I’ve used because it’s the only one in Glasgow that does black cabs and therefore accessible ones! For a while it had this unbelievable deal of having a flat fare of £2.80 monday-friday, which I think is back to a fiver now, but still, accessible!

  6. I was hoping this list would be Austin-specific, since Uber is pulling out of the city today and everyone I know has been losing their collective shits. Does anybody local to Texas know what apps I can recommend to friends here?

  7. I never, ever use Uber, but I do use Lyft all the time and I’d say at least a third of my drivers are women, and often women of color. It’s also really cheap compared to most alternatives (Lyft has caps on their surge pricing) and pays their drivers better than Uber does.

  8. I never, ever use Uber, but I do use Lyft all the time and I’d say at least a third of my drivers are women, and often women of color. It’s also really cheap compared to most alternatives (Lyft has caps on their surge pricing) and pays their drivers better than Uber does. Also, they aren’t run by a notorious misogynist piece of shit!

    • Yeah, I have definitely ridden with some cool women drivers on Lyft. Also, the Lyft app has tipping (choose the amount to tip) built-in, whereas Uber doesn’t, so better for the drivers.

  9. I live in DC and have used Uber here and while traveling across the US. I have always had great experiences, but I understand others have not and would like to find a service that is more woman- and driver-friendly.

    So, I’m excited to see Chariot on the scene and I hope to have them here soon to utilize. Please promote and cover them as well!

  10. As long as a company is allowed to trick the public into thinking they are safe when they are not they are illegal. They don’t want follow any laws. They want to tell the cab companies to go to hell when these companies pay millions of dollars for cab licenses. The cab companies are safer. They have to fingerprint and run a back ground check. These guys let any rapist or murderer get in a car and shuttle you around.

  11. I grew up in a decent sized city (around 200,000 people) and uber and other ride share services were virtually non-existant until about 6 months ago. I just moved to a slightly larger city and I’m shocked at how blindly everyone trusts these things. I had a female co-worker tell me she thought uber was safer than a regular cab because they have “tons of background checks.” eek!

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