Air travel these days is anything but easy. When you finally land, you face one final decision — how will you get from the airport to your ultimate destination?
Rideshare services Lyft and Uber have become go-to options for many travelers. Yet, the question remains: which one lets you keep more cash in your pocket after your airport ride?
Our team delved into the data, comparing the costs of Lyft and Uber rides from major U.S. airports to popular tourist areas in each city. Here's what we found and some tips to help you save on your next rideshare adventure.
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Key findings: The dollars and cents of airport rideshares
On average, rideshares from airports into major cities set passengers back around $30.48 across the United States. Surprisingly, Lyft and Uber have almost the same average cost: $ 30.60 for Lyft and $ 30.36 for Uber.
However, don't let these seemingly minor differences fool you — costs can vary significantly between the services in specific cities.
Most expensive airports for rideshares
JFK International in New York City takes the crown for the most expensive rides into the city, with an average cost of $79.96 for the 17.3-mile journey into Manhattan.
On the other hand, San Diego International clinches the title for the most expensive rides per mile driven, with Uber and Lyft setting you back $7.56 for each mile to its city center.
Most affordable airport ride
If you're looking to save some serious cash, consider starting your journey from San José Mineta International Airport in San Jose, California. The 4.4-mile ride to the city’s Plaza de Cesar Chavez averages just $15.21.
Meanwhile, the second-least expensive ride, at $15.47, takes you from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to the National Mall in the heart of the nation's capital.
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Uber vs. Lyft: A fare showdown
Differences in pricing systems and rider availability between Uber and Lyft mean that choosing the right app can significantly impact the fare you pay.
Our analysis revealed that in the majority of airports evaluated, Uber emerged as the more affordable option at 21 locations, including 10 where users could save at least $3.
Uber's big wins
The most substantial savings for Uber users were found at JFK International in New York, where rides to Times Square cost a staggering $13.98 less compared to Lyft.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport came in second, with Uber users saving $11.03 on rides.
Lyft's victory lap
Lyft, however, claimed victory at 23 major airports, offering savings of at least $3 in 11 of them.
Denver International Airport stood out as the place where Lyft saved passengers the most money, with a ride to downtown Colorado costing $12.05 less than Uber's.
Tips for maximizing savings on rideshares
In the ongoing debate between Lyft and Uber, the answer to which is more cost-effective largely depends on your location.
While Uber may be the winner in some cities, Lyft could be the money-saving champion in others. Here are some tips to help you choose between the ridesharing services for your next airport ride.
Before confirming your ride, check the prices on both Lyft and Uber. As our data revealed, the cost difference can be significant. If you run the potential route on each app then you can find out which one is more affordable in the moment you need a ride.
Explore other rideshare options, local services, or even traditional taxis. Depending on your location and circumstances, they might offer more budget-friendly choices.
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Time your travel
Rideshare prices can fluctuate throughout the day due to demand. Consider traveling during off-peak hours to snag a more affordable ride.
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Optimize your route
Choose routes with fewer tolls or avoid peak traffic times to keep your fare down. By avoiding high-demand periods, you’ll also reduce the impact of surge pricing, which often occurs during peak times.
Remember that comparing, exploring, and choosing the right rideshare service is one of the most overlooked ways to save on travel. Prices change pretty frequently so it's important to make sure you run your own analysis before committing to a ride.
Here's the full data study on airport Uber and Lyft costs if you'd like to explore the data in more detail.
Editor’s Note: Generative AI tools helped write this story.
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FinanceBuzz is not an investment advisor. This content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.
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