There certainly is an app for everything. By now you may have heard about the increasingly popular car-for-hire apps, like Uber or Hailo, used to get passengers where they need to go. If not, here’s a list of five useful apps to try on those late nights when you’re out past the last T.
1. Lyft (4 stars App Store) Lyft drivers are your peers. When you log in through Facebook and request a “Lyft,” you aren’t hiring a cab, but asking a new friend for a ride. Lyft’s odd yet distinctive way of making cars identifiable to passengers is to put a bright pink moustache over the front of the car. Lyft drivers are regular people, and safety is a top priority for the company. All Lyft drivers go through background and DMV record checks, vehicle inspections, and a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy. After the ride, you make whatever donation you feel is appropriate through your smartphone, and the driver keeps 80%. Drivers and passengers rate each other for future Lyft users to see. As the website says, “Lyft is your friend with a car.”
2. Sidecar (4.5 stars App Store) Sidecar is a similar concept to Lyft. This app matches everyday drivers to people looking for a ride in the area. The passenger makes a donation that he feels is fair based on the payment suggestion given before confirming with a driver. The community standards of drivers and passengers are set by ratings after each ride, and drivers undergo the same safety checks as Lyft drivers. Another convenient feature of Sidecar is that you can see a photo and GPS tracking of the driver as he or she heads toward you. You can view a GPS tracking of your ride, and you can even share your trip with friends through an optional Facebook login.
3. Uber (4.5 stars App Store) Uber is a very popular car-for-hire app. It is as simple as plugging in a destination and a pick up location to get a car of your choice. Passengers can request a standard cab or a mid-range UberX vehicle for lower prices. Those of you who are looking to splurge may consider ordering one of Uber’s black sedans or SUVs. Uber's cars are known for having a quick arrival time, and the app gives you a fare quote before you get in the car. Be aware though of the mandated 20% gratuity and $1 surcharge that the app charges as it can sneak up on you since fares are automatically billed to a credit card. Through partnership with the BC Student Programs Office, Uber is currently offering BC students $20 off their first UberX or UberBlack ride. Simply enter the promo code “BC2013” to use the discount.
4. Boston Cab (2 stars App Store) The Boston Cab app has unusually low ratings due to common issues relating to the app crashing, but there are also several perks to this app for those who can get it to work. The Boston Cab app allows users to view all trips within the past month with the fare, time, pick-up location, and destination. This information can be used to rebook a past trip. Another pro of using this app is that you can book in advance rather than calling for a ride last minute as most of the other apps require. Cons to using the Boston Cab app include the lack of arrival time estimates and driver ratings.
5. Hailo (4.5 stars App Store) Hailo has trademarked the motto, “The Taxi Magnet,” and it is currently advertising itself as the world’s highest-rated taxi app. With a tap of your smartphone, you can hail a Boston licensed cab from any location, and you can watch the cab arrive in real time. Each driver is approved individually to ensure that drivers are of good quality, and while you wait, you can take a look at a photo of your driver. The app takes credit card payments, and receipts are conveniently emailed to the passenger.
Featured Image Via. Joep Roosen/Flickr