Traditional Taxi Cabs Are Really Cheaper Than Uber?

Arun Kumar | March 19 - 2015

Data scientists have researched a lot of data and found out that in New York, normal cabs are cheaper under $35 than Uber taxis. The research paper derives the fact that more than favoring the human movement of using short trips, Uber tries to exploit this opportunity to increase revenue for them.
On the contrary, Uber announced during Jan 2014 that it’ll reduce the prices by 17%-34% in various cities in US after facing much criticism. But the study by the University Of Cambridge, UK and a few others have given people the opinion if not an alarm, that comparing prices should help them select the cheap and best option to control their expenditure on cabs.
The data was obtained from NYC Yellow Taxi’s trips during 2013 which nearly came up to 50 GB of data! It contains details of every pick-up and drop along with the fares paid. The data scientists compared the prices that it took from Yellow taxi with Uber by requesting a quote-kind of amount that it will charge for the same journey. Uber gave its recommended charges to them.
The result was the above finding that yellow cabs were cheaper under $35 than Uber’s minimum service.
However, there are some limitations to this finding. Comparatively, the data taken for Yellow Taxi was from 2013 whereas the Uber’s data was from 2014. Yet it might not be a bigger difference since the prices of Yellow Cabs are nearly steady for 2014 as well.
The second limitation is that the price variability of Uber X services depends on the demand of the users so as to speak it specialized on peak-hour traffic and did not cover other variances.
Though this is just a small comparison study which cannot be presumed to be a overall method of differentiating prices variability. Moreover, this study was conducted for New York City alone, so if it was conducted for a city like Boston the statistics might differ a little bit.
The data scientists have also developed an app named ‘OpenStreetCab’ for the sake of comparing Uber prices with Yellow Taxis. The researchers imply that taking a short trip is more ideal with hailing a cab while for a longer trip, Uber is a better deal. Much remains to be seen if the same research is performed on all other US cities, then it’d be arriving at results on a whole and inclusive data mining.