5 Ways Uber Is Really Different From a Regular Taxi

Paying for the Privilege
Brendan Kownacki rides in the UBER Car that he beckoned via a smartphone app. He pays a little more for an Uber ride than he would for a cab, but he says it's worth it. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Uber is more expensive than a taxi. In fact, Uber will tell you that straight up. But since it's not paying for medallions or other regulatory fees, why pay more? According to Uber, passengers are getting "reliability, customer support ... style, and comfort." In most cases Uber cars arrive more quickly than taxis, saving time and frustration if not cold, hard cash. Style and comfort depend on the car and the refinement of your sensibilities.

Thanks to big data and the non-magic of algorithms, Uber knows when you want a car most, and it knows how much you're likely willing to pay for it. Uber uses surge pricing during rush hour, over holidays and in bad weather. The idea is to entice more Uber drivers to get out there and give rides, which means riders will be picked up more quickly. And, on the upside, your credit card is on file with Uber via the app. When the ride is over, you just hop out without that horrible haggle with the driver when you want to use a credit card. The driver's Uber app will tell the system what to charge you based on time and distance — just like a taxi, but a little more expensive.

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