When is a taxi cheaper than an Uber in 2018?

Graham 29 December 2017 NEWS

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There's a simple way to tell.

With Uber fares changing depending on how busy their network is, taxi fares changing depending on the time of day, and both services having different fares in each major city in Australia, it can be difficult to know which is cheaper at any given time.

Following on from changes to both taxi and Uber charges across the country in 2017, we have updated our research on when a taxi becomes cheaper than an Uber in Australia. We have added new cities into the mix and bumped up the number of journeys analysed to 1,800 to increase the accuracy of our results.

In order to know which is the best value option, you need to look at the Uber surge ratio. This is the fare multiplier that kicks in once demand increases. The surge ratio appears once you click "confirm Uber" on the app. Below are the surge rations to look out for during the day and evening across the Aussie capitals.

CitySurge limit - daytimeSurge limit - evening
Sydney1.4x1.7x
Melbourne1.4x1.8x
Brisbane1.8x1.9x
Perth1.6x1.6x
Adelaide1.5x1.8x
Hobart1.4x1.6x

Looking at the chart above, once the surge ratio hits 1.4 in Sydney during the day or 1.7 at night, it’s cheaper to reach out and hail a cab. The ratios change depending which city you're in and the time of day.

There are now several alternatives to Uber available in some cities such as Aussie native GoCatch and new European competitor Taxify, who have a 50% discount on offer until midnight on New Year's Eve - so do your research to find the cheapest option.

Graham Cooke's Insights Blog examines issues affecting the Australian consumer. It appears regularly on finder.com.au. Source: finder.com.au, uber.com.au, taxifare.com.au. Image: shutterstock.

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