Rideshare vs. Carshare: GigCar Dives into the Fray
If you are someone who even just occasionally uses Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, then you’ve probably noticed how expensive these services are starting to become, even for short trips and with options like “Lyft shared” or “Uber Pool.” Here’s an estimate for the Uber and Lyft pricing for an actual trip I recently made, for around 2 miles worth of total travel.
It seems pricey right? I thought so as well, even while using Pool pricing for one person (and with a 5% Lyft Discount and 10% Uber coupon I had) I was still looking at around $6.75-$8.00, plus tip, for a SHARED ride, and that was still JUST for one person. If I wanted to bring, say, 4 friends, it would’ve set me back between $8-12 (plus tip), even while factoring in the discounts currently on my Lyft and Uber accounts. Rideshare pricing does tend to fluctuate based on demand and the number of drivers currently active, but when double-checking these numbers at different times in the day, we can be relatively assured that pricing for similar trips would be within 15% above and below the numbers I provided, still a considerable sum. If you’re simply made of money or intoxicated in any form, maybe it’s worth the fare, but otherwise, there’s an alternative option out there.
Heard of Gig Car before? Even if you haven’t, you’ve probably seen their 500+ blue and black Toyota Priuses scattered around Berkeley and most of the Bay Area. The concept is simple; you use an app to open the car closest to you, you get in, and drive yourself to your destination for a small fee. They include insurance, fuel, parking (you can just park it on any 2 hour plus spot), and other costs directly in your fare, so you don’t have to worry about anything besides driving to your destination. Rates are cheap, they charge just $0.30-$0.40 per minute (capped at $13-$15 an hour) and up to 8 hours for $55.00, but their best bargains are for quick trips which would typically require a Rideshare. Take my 2 mile trip for example, even after spending a minute or two sitting in the car getting some music playing, we can observe exactly how much it cost me for the same trip which would’ve set me back $7-12 from Uber and Lyft.
To be fair, I had a coupon that covered the last $3.15 of my fare, but even without including that, my total cost would’ve been a mere $3.15 for that entire trip (with enough space for up to 5 people in the car). That’s a savings of around 55-70% when compared to the cost for the same exact trip through a Rideshare service, and there’s no tipping.
However, there is one main downside to Gig: the availability of cars can be inconsistent. When it gets really busy, there sometimes aren’t any available Gigs for a considerable distance. But even then, people are ending their trips all the time, and usually waiting a few minutes can see car availability change, sometimes even drastically so.
But when availability holds up, Gig is consistently the cheapest option within the Bay Area aside from public transit, and with generous and frequent promo codes, it can get even cheaper.
You can get a free $15.00 to start by using code GETINGO, and if you have a friend refer you (or see one of the posters scattered on campus) you can get an additional $25.00 in credit on top of that. That’s a lot of free travel right there.
So the next time you’re out and about, consider Gig-ing instead of nabbing that Uber, you might save some dough as well.
Business Review at Berkeley was not compensated for these statements. Pricing, availability, and promotion codes subject to change without notice, but have been confirmed valid as of 2/15/20 for new users only. See the app for current pricing.
Conrad is a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, intending on pursuing Political Economy. He sells LEGO sets wholesale online and aspires to use BRB as a platform to help the wider campus community with his extensive knowledge of money-saving tips, tricks, and strategies.