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Ride Services: Available Options For Getting Around Your City

Last updated: September 2, 2021
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vector graphic showing a user holding a smartphone and summoning a variety of different ride services

The days of needing a car of your own to get around your city are over.

In fact, people are now starting to rent out their cars because they don’t use them as much as in the past.

With more public transportation options and the arrival of ride services, you can travel from point A to point B without having to worry about parking or the maintenance and costs that come with owning a vehicle.

Ride services and public transportation are also much kinder to the environment.

All in all, these ridesharing transportation services are a win-win.

With so many available options, how do you navigate the best choice for your particular needs in any given situation?

We’ll examine the different types of transportation services, the most popular options for ridesharing and public transportation, and examples of special services for luxury, disabilities, and last-mile solutions.

So hop in the backseat, buckle your seatbelt, and join us for an investigative, in-depth exploration of the various environmentally friendly and economically sound ways of getting around your city.

Types of Transportation Services

In modern times, options abound for ways to travel in an urban environment.

The most common transportation services include ridesharing, public transportation, luxury rides services, and last-mile transportation.

1. Ridesharing

Ridesharing is where drivers of privately owned vehicles give rides to passengers for a fee through a payment arrangement from a mobile app or website.

2. Public Transportation

Public transportation is transportation services provided by or through licenses directly from the city, not a private company or corporation.

Some of these services include subways, buses, and taxi cabs.

3. Luxury Ride Services

Luxury ride services can range from a black sedan that picks you up from the airport to a stretch limousine for a night on the town.

Unlike hailing a cab on the spot or using rideshare spontaneously through a mobile app, these services are usually pre-arranged through privately-owned companies.

4. Last Mile Transportation

Last-mile transportation is the final trip before you reach your destination.

The term was initially used in telecommunications but can also describe getting people or packages to the last leg of their journey.

It typically refers to short distances.

vector graphic showing a user holding a smartphone and summoning a variety of different ride services

Popular Ridesharing Services

Ridesharing offers flexible opportunities for both the drivers and the passengers, so it’s no wonder the transportation service has become so renowned.

Drivers who have been vetted and registered with a professional rideshare company get passengers from a pickup location and drop them off at their destination.

These services offer an on-demand ride through a convenient mobile app.

New companies keep cropping up, but the most popular are Uber, Lyft, and Via.

1. Uber

Uber is an American technology company that offers ride-hailing services, food delivery (UberEats), package delivery, couriers, and freighting. Passengers use the Uber app to request a ride.

2. Lyft

Through the Lyft app, commuters get convenient choices of vehicles for hire, food delivery, and other transportation services in over 600 cities in the United States and 12 in Canada.

3. Via

Via Rideshare is a mobile app public transport company that licenses its technology to cities, transit authorities, schools, colleges, and others to help build transportation networks.

Popular Public Transportation Services

One of the best parts of living in a big city is the access to public transit.

Public transportation is often the cheapest and easiest way of getting around an urban environment.

1. Bus

Buses are inexpensive and convenient. Most major cities offer bus services.

The bus route and schedules can be found on websites, apps, or leaflets in public transit and information stations.

Additional bonuses of a ride on a bus include better accessibility for folks with disabilities and the opportunity to take in the city’s scenery.

2. Subway

Subways are excellent options when you need to get somewhere fast and cheaply because they can surpass traffic and run on a clear, accurate schedule, often mere minutes apart.

Subways can be underground or above-ground elevated trains and cover extensive areas.

3. Taxi

The yellow taxi cab is synonymous with iconic cities like New York, but cabs come in many colors and sizes across the USA.

Now there are also mobile apps that make catching a cab easier.

Some offer a fare estimate, and most will accept a debit or credit card.

4. Standard Taxi

A standard taxi is the kind that you hail from the street.

These are professional use city taxis, rather than privately-owned vehicles that the driver has for their personal use.

In NYC, the drivers have medallions and licenses issued by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC).

Other cities may have different taxi licenses and driver eligibility.

5. Curb

Curb is the top taxi app connecting riders directly with over 50,000 cabs in cities across the USA.

Passengers can book and pay for taxis in a similar way to rideshare apps.

6. Gett

Gett is a corporate fleet, taxi, limousine, and ride-hailing service all on one mobility platform created specifically for the needs of businesses.

Popular Luxury Ride Services

Sometimes riding in style and elegance is the only way to get where you’re going.

If this is true for you, then a luxury ride service will fulfill those desires.

A few of the best, most trusted luxury ride services are Blacklane, Sixt, Carey, EmpireCLS, and Tristar.

1. Blacklane

Blacklane is an on-demand luxury transportation company that originated in Berlin.

They focus on a reliable, luxurious chauffeured experience that can vary from airport pickups to transportation between NYC and Washington D.C.

2. Sixt

Sixt originated in Munich in 1912 and has expanded to 2000 locations in over 100 countries.

They offer luxury cars for rentals, rideshares, and chauffeured pickup options.

3. Carey

Carey offers internationally-acclaimed luxury chauffeured services for intercity trips, airport pickups, and city-to-city transportation for a convenient, comfortable alternative to air travel.

4. EmpireCLS

EmpireCLS prides itself on offering the most committed and trustworthy luxury chauffeurs who provide the same hospitality services expected at a five-star hotel.

5. Tristar

Tristar Worldwide was recently integrated into Addison Lee.

The company provides luxury car services, airport transfers, couriers, and executive or coach options.

Popular Last-Mile Transportation Services

Last-mile transportation refers to the final segment of transportation of people or goods to an ending destination.

For example, if you take a subway or bus but the stop is still longer than a comfortable walking distance, last-mile transportation service is a good option.

Bicycle and scooter-sharing services are increasing in popularity as a zero-emissions way to make quick trips.

Here are a few of the top choices:

1. Bird

Bird is a motorized scooter rental company that offers American and global urbanites alternative transportation options that are budget-friendly, environmentally conscious, and sustainable.

2. Lime

Lime offers bright green electric bicycle, e-moped, and motorized scooter rentals in partnership with Uber.

Use the Lime mobile app and your smartphone to locate and choose your vehicle and scan a ride.

3. Wheels

Wheels is a bike-sharing platform offering customized electric bikes in various U.S. and global cities.

The company took a brief pause in 2020 when the pandemic hit but is back in business.

They boast that their bikes are the cleanest, most accessible, and most sustainable.

4. Citi Bike

Citi Bike, now owned by Lyft, is the bike-sharing system for NYC and Jersey City.

Launched in 2013, it’s the largest in the nation and a crucial part of New York City transit for residents and visitors alike.

Ride Services For People With Disabilities

Getting around your city with disabilities can be a challenge.

Your ride services should make your life and transportation simpler, not more difficult.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when ordering a ride service for yourself or family members with disabilities or special needs.

1. Public Transit

Subways are generally the most challenging as they often have a lot of stairs.

There are subways with elevators and better accessibility, but you’ll want to plan your trip ahead of time to ensure you don’t get stuck in a frustrating situation.

Buses are better options in terms of public transit because most offer accessibility for people with disabilities.

Many city busses are equipped with motorized lifts with widths and weight capacities determined by Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

2. Ride Services and Taxis

Some taxi cabs offer accessibility and are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

These are the larger van taxis and might be hard to hail on the street.

If you choose a rideshare service like Via, Uber, or Lyft, be sure to get the XL or largest vehicle option and alert the Lyft driver of your need for assistance.

That is generally the most expensive rideshare option, and availability may be limited.

3. Dial-a-Ride

Dial-a-Ride (aka paratransit transportation) programs are on-demand transportation services for people with disabilities, seniors, and anyone who has trouble using the public transit system.

These paratransit services are regional so check with your local listings for information and eligibility.

You don’t have to shell out the cash for a luxury ride or rideshare services that may or may not be equipped to handle your needs.

Dial-a-ride offers budget-friendly prices comparable with typical transit services, and the vehicles are equipped to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still wondering what the best transportation choice is for you?

Here are some common questions:

Should you feel nervous using ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft?

This is an understandable concern with the problem of the pandemic.

However, riders should feel safe and secure with various protections like mandatory masks for drivers and passengers and a pause on the rideshare service where you’d be paired with one or more strangers.

What ride services are available in Austin?

Getting around Texas’ capital city is simplified with plenty of ride services, including Lyft, Uber, Fare, Fasten, InstaRyde, zTrip, Wingz, and a nonprofit rideshare built for Austin called Ride Austin.

How will ride services for kids impact family dynamics?

Not every family chooses to have a car of their own.

Ride services are an excellent alternative for picking up and dropping off family members at designated locations like school or soccer practice.

Think of it as a paid carpool service.

However, family car rides offer quality bonding time, so be sure to make up for that by sharing a meal or another togetherness activity.

Is it possible to use ride services full time instead of owning a vehicle?

Absolutely! This is an innovative, lower emissions choice that many city dwellers are choosing.

The costs can add up if you plan on using ride services daily, but they are generally comparative with the expenses of a car, often much cheaper and more convenient.

Which is cheaper – Uber or Lyft?

The short answer is it depends.

Factors like the time of day or night and the availability of drivers nearby the pickup location can drive prices up or down.

Your best bet is to have a mobile app for both and compare in real-time.

Wrapping Up

In summary, there are plenty of excellent options for getting around your city.

Whether you choose rideshare, luxury ride, public transit, last-mile transportation service, or a combination, the most important factors are where you are going, your budget, time frame, and your unique needs.

No matter where you are going, the journey is as important as the destination, so we wish you safe travels and happy trails wherever the road may take you.

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