Ride Share Services

Returning from my recent trip to Issaquah, WA, I wanted a taxi from the hotel to the Amtrak station in Seattle.  The hotel clerk told me that taxis weren’t vary reliable in Issaquah and called me an Uber instead.  The driver showed up within five minutes or so, and it was less expensive than a taxi would have been; so I guess this old dude needs to get with the program.

I checked out the websites for both Uber and Lyft, and it looks like you can’t use either one except through a cell phone which I find annoying, principally because of the difficulty of typing readable text on the phone’s make-believe keyboard.  I’m also guessing that you can’t pay with a credit card but need to set up some kind of PayPal account or something.

Can anybody suggest any alternatives to Uber and Lyft? Or maybe explain to this old fart why it’s not as difficult as he thinks it is?



  1. rojmiller says

    I am an old fart too (72). Its easy to use Uber (and, I assume Lyft, once you enter all your info, including credit card information. The Uber app shows you where the nearest cars are located and the fastest arrival time. A few clicks and you are ready to go – it tracks the booked car for you so you can view it on the map as it approaches for pickup.

    As for typing (I use reading glasses too!) if you don’t log out they likely you won’t have to log in each time. Otherwise you will have to enter your username and password each time (or better yet, use Lastpass or equivalent, and set it up for fingerprint authentication)

  2. Some Old Programmer says

    Yes, you need to download and use the app on a smart phone. No, a credit card is part of the sign-up, and when you request a ride, you get the price quote (at least for Lyft; I don’t use Uber because of the reports of a toxic work environment, but Lyft has it’s own ugly reports). The price is charged to the card, at which time you’re prompted to rate the driver and add a tip. I prefer to tip in cash, as some of the company shenanigans reported are about tips being appropriated.

    As for the cost, it really can vary. I live in the suburban Boston area, and some taxi trips are less expensive (and better regulated) than rideshares. In my experience, particularly for a late arrival at BOS, a taxi to the suburbs can be less pricey than a rideshare. Caveat emptor.

  3. Bruce Fuentes says

    I still use taxis or car services. They tend to be cheaper than a uber or lyft and just as reliable. Taxis have regulated pricing and licensed drivers. Ride apps have dynamic pricing and any yahoo as a driver.
    I have never not been able to find cab service when there is uber or lyft. The clerk did you a disservice, Issaquah has good taxi service

  4. billseymour says

    rojmiller and Some Old Programmer:  thanks for the info.  I guess somebody at a Verizon store can show me what the trick is to downloading the app and how to mitigate the typing problem so that I can do the initial setup.  It’s good to know that I can just pay by credit card, although I think I’d like to enter the data each time rather than giving it to the company to store on their servers.

    Some Old Programmer:  yeah, I’d give cash tips as well.  And thanks for the price info in the Boston area:  my trip in June will involve getting between South Station and the airport.  There are usually taxi lines both places; and it’s easier to just hop in and go.

  5. rojmiller says

    The cost for these services varies with time of day/week. It’s fun to look at price quotes throughout the day to the same destination – they can double during rush hour, for example. Depends upon supply and demand, which can vary by city, weather, and a host of other factors. So at certain times a taxi will be less expensive.

  6. rojmiller says

    Oh, you just download the app from the appropriate app store – Google Play Services if you own an Android device…

  7. Bruce says

    To go between Boston Logan airport and the South Station, I would take the Silver Line municipal bus. Leaving the airport is free, and going from the T metro system is also free if you are continuing a paid ride. I think it’s $2.40 if you start at South Station.
    If I were coming from say North Station where the commuter trains are, I’d take the orange and blue T metro lines to the “airport” T stop, where a different free Silver Line bus goes to the rental car center and then to the real airport terminals. I’d buy a Charlie Card from a vending machine and put some value on it, then just swipe in and go.

  8. Alex273 says

    May also be worth looking into voice-to-text options on your phone to avoid needing to type. Many phones have the option included by default – the default keyboard of my Android phone has a ‘voice typing’ feature.

  9. billseymour says

    Bruce Fuentes @3:  sorry for the late approval; I didn’t see your comment at first for some reason.

    In the particular case I mentioned, I think I got good service.

    Bruce @7:  I’ve taken the Silver Line bus a couple of times.  Both times, it was standing room only; and it was really hot inside the bus.  I was sweating when I got to the terminal.

    Alex273 @8:  I think I’ll stick with the typing rather than speaking potential PII out loud.

  10. Some Old Programmer says

    Bruce @7: Yes on a number of counts; taking the Silver Line (bus, with some dedicated rights-of-way) from the airport is free, and that gets you into the subway system via South Station. So I can get home by connecting to the Green Line and all it will cost me is time, which appeals to the cheapskate in me. Normally the fare is $2.40 for a subway trip, but there’s no longer a difference between a fare using a Charlie Card (hard plastic) and a Charlie Ticket (paper), so for a one-off, I’d just go with one or two trips on a Charlie Ticket.

    As for getting to the airport, that’s a standard fare, and I learned the hard way that the Silver Line bus can run into traffic getting to the airport. The Blue Line subway is less likely to be delayed.

  11. says

    billseymour @9: ” I think I’ll stick with the typing rather than speaking potential PII out loud.”

    As far as I know, PII is only required during the initial setup of these apps. During day-to-day usage, not so much. So if you do the text-to-speech thing in the privacy of your own home, you should be okay?

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