When I first tried to test the service, I got this alert: “Holy Split! All our cars are busy. Try again later.” An hour later, I checked again, but the next available car was 16 minutes away. I opted for a bus.
Two days later, I snagged a ride at O and Eighth streets NW to the center of Georgetown. Split’s map interface told me exactly where to go to pick up the ride, which is better than having to scan the area for your Uber driver’s car. A silver Toyota Corolla, its sides clearly marked with the Split logo, pulled up. I was warmly greeted by a driver named Angel, who has been driving for Split since July. I told him this was my first ride with the company, and he praised the service, saying it was cheaper and better than its competitors.
We waited a minute to pick up another passenger. A young man named Thomas entered the car. Angel asked Thomas if he’d ever used the service before. He had. Lots.
“You’ve saved me a lot of money compared to Uber and Lyft,” Thomas said.
Then, Thomas took out his phone and didn’t look up from it until we arrived at his destination in the West End. Angel dropped me off at M and Wisconsin. The ride, split with Thomas, cost me $4.60.
For comparison I then tried Uber’s ride-sharing service, UberPool, launched in the District in October. A fresh-smelling, leather-upholstered Mercedes-Benz C-Class, an Uber sign dangling from the rearview mirror, met me in Georgetown for a reversal of my trip with Split. I had to remind the driver about my destination, and my trip was interrupted by two calls from my fellow passenger, Jamie, asking where her ride was (the driver had headed in the wrong direction and had to make a U-turn to collect her). Like Thomas before, she mostly stared at her phone. After I was dropped off, the bill came to $8.98.
UberPool, unlike Split, serves routes into Northern Virginia. But Split’s ride-sharing program seems to work more smoothly, and its fare was $4.38 less. I have to agree with Angel. Split is better and cheaper than its competitor.
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OPERATING SYSTEM: iOS
CREATOR: Split Technology Inc.
USER RATINGS: (14 ratings)
REVIEW’S BOTTOM LINE: May have long wait times but a cheaper alternative to Uber.
OPERATING SYSTEM: iOS and Android
CREATOR: Uber Technologies Inc.
USER RATINGS: Apple, (28,378 ratings); Google, (536,049 ratings)
REVIEW’S BOTTOM LINE: A more expensive ride for a glitchier system.