What’s the fare breakdown of your Uber ride? How competitive are Uber’s prices compared to Lyft’s? And how much money will your driver pocket on the trip?
A new website from the Boston-based makers of taxifarefinder.com claims to have the answers. RideGuru, previously a component of Taxi Fare Finder, launched an independent site Tuesday, aimed at bringing transparency to the ride-hailing market, the company says.
“The innovation that rideshare and ridehail companies brought to the market is very impressive. While many welcome its emergence, it is also disruptive in a way, as it forced fast transitions to the market and left a lot of uncertainty and confusion among the consumers,” said Ippei Takahashi, president of parent company Unleashed, LLC, in a statement. “For example, the fare and payout structures can be complex, and the rules and regulations can be vague. Our mission is to bring transparency to the market by providing useful tools and informative resources, and through connecting people with rideshare experts.”
The site’s main draw is its fare calculator, which is based on an independently devised algorithm. Users enter their location and travel destination and the site does the rest of the work — displaying the various ride-hailing options priced from lowest to highest. It includes the gamut of options, from budget uberX and Lyft, to luxury options like Uber XL, Lyft Plus, Uber Black and Uber SUV. Uber already shows passengers fare estimates before they agree to a trip, but not for the range of available options.
RideGuru’s fare charts are also useful for passengers concerned about driver compensation, and drivers (and prospective drivers) looking to understand how much they can earn. Uber drivers have long pushed for better pay and employee protections, particularly when it comes to their status as independent contractors rather than employees.
As RideGuru CEO Takahashi said in an email:
The aforementioned calculator also provides a driver payout chart for each ride. This means drivers and riders alike can view and make their selection by looking at how much the drivers are being paid for each ride (and in turn know how much money is going to the corporations pockets!).
Because its algorithm is independently devised, RideGuru’s fare estimates aren’t always guaranteed to be accurate. Ride-hailing companies publish their fare information, but have restrictions on using them for commercial purposes. Takahashi says his company’s algorithm takes into consideration “many factors and variables, such as distance, duration, traffic patterns, urban density, potential driving speeds, historical fares, etc.”
“We have honed this algorithm over the years, leveraging our experience from TaxiFareFinder, and we believe our estimates are more accurate than the ones provided by the companies that actually deliver the service,” he said.
TaxiFareFinder, which has been around since 2007, computes several million taxi fares a month for users around the world. RideGuru, which supports Uber, Lyft, Curb, Ola and Didi Kauidi, serves more than 70 countries and said it had amassed thousands of users as of Tuesday morning.
One drawback, however: the service doesn’t support uberPOOL or Lyft Line, the ride-splitting services that make up a fourth of all ride-hailing trips in the Washington region.
“Those services are on the premise of passengers sharing the ride, and their price structure is still being defined and articulated,” Takahashi said. “We are keeping a close eye on them, and we will try to support them as they become more mature in the market.”