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Uber/Lyft/Taxis/Etc. For Getting Around Los Angeles

Ponte Vedra Beach...
Level Contributor
832 posts
25 reviews
38 helpful votes
Uber/Lyft/Taxis/Etc. For Getting Around Los Angeles

My husband and I will be re-visiting Los Angeles later this year. My husband hates driving in Los Angeles - so I've promised him that he won't have to :).

We'll be using a car service to/from the airport. And probably renting a car and driver for a couple of days. Our hotel also has a car we can use for relatively short (less than 2-3 mile) trips.

But it doesn't make sense to have a car/driver sitting around hours if we'll be in a museum - shopping - having dinner - etc.

So for trips to/from these places - which form(s) of transportation makes the most sense? Personal experiences would be much appreciated. Uber is relatively new where I live - and peoples' experiences here have varied widely. Our taxis are awful (most in Florida are). Many are old - and often dirty. You have to twist a driver's arm to turn on the A/C. Many don't know where they're going. Etc. So what are the options in Los Angeles like?

Note that we'll be staying in Beverly Hills. And our longest trips will probably be to Santa Monica and downtown. There will be some shorter trips too.

Finally - public transportation doesn't seem like a great option in Los Angeles based on my limited reading about it. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
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23,218 posts
264 reviews
171 helpful votes
1. Re: Uber/Lyft/Taxis/Etc. For Getting Around Los Angeles

Ride share companies work fairly well in these parts, but do know about surge pricing (do a websearch for these companies to learn all you need to). Taxi cabs here are better regulated than what you describe, and I'd say in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, you won't encounter those Florida experiences in any case. I've yet to get in a cab here where the driver doesn't immediately plot their trip on a smartphone, just as a ride share driver would do. The cab companies are well aware that they are competing with the new guys.

Public transportation is fine here, especially in the areas of Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Culver City. The Red Line through Hollywood, for example, is fine and popular. I've used the Expo line to downtown LA with good results, too.

Rancho Santa...
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8,976 posts
8 reviews
45 helpful votes
2. Re: Uber/Lyft/Taxis/Etc. For Getting Around Los Angeles

I'm an advocate for Uber in LA. I believe it is a real transportation revolution for visitors. It offers incredible convenience and value. Essentially, it gives visitors the convenience of a car, but without all the associated overhead. There's no getting around that LA is a car city.

With the UberX service, the cost is about a 1/3 of a cab. UberPool costs only $5 within a zone. (LA has two.) Or if you prefer more posh service, Uber has a whole range of options -- XL, Plus, Black, SUV, LUX. Obviously, you pay accordingly.

I got curious about Uber because I read about it here. I tried it last summer and was immediately impressed. The past six months, I've been using it a lot. I've taken dozens of trips with the service now. I will never take a cab again, if I can help it. I've had plenty of terrible taxi experiences over the years.

There is a lot of hostility to Uber here on this forum. I don't understand it. With one exception, no one seems to use the service nor have any curiosity about it. The objections offered are without empirical basis. Moreover, the lack of experience with the service shows when stating objections to the service. I find it mildly embarrassing. The criticisms here are political.

Because of the hostility on this board, I've gotten very curious about Uber. In the past six months, I've discussed Uber with anyone and everyone in earshot. I've yet to find anyone who has used the service who's used the service and decided to never use it again. Frankly, friends, family and total strangers rave about it. Seemingly everyone has bad taxi experiences and they absolutely love the fact they now have a superior option.

Yes, there have been a few bad experiences for some similar to taxis -- rude driver, circuitous routes, etc. But, the beauty of the system is the customer can do something about it! Uber is quick to refund dissatisfied customers. Since drivers are rated by each fare for each trip, low ratings will see a driver kicked off the system. Being a jerk doesn't pay with Uber. Uber drivers MUST maintain very high ratings. If you ever give the driver a 1 out of 5, expect to be contacted by Uber directly.

Simply put, I can't recommend Uber highly enough. It is a true mobility revolution for visitors and residents alike.

Here is a link to a recent article about Uber in Los Angeles.


Lastly, public transportation in LA is actually pretty good depending upon where you are staying and your itinerary. My hunch is it is not a good fit for you.


West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
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33,619 posts
64 reviews
227 helpful votes
3. Re: Uber/Lyft/Taxis/Etc. For Getting Around Los Angeles

I've made no secret of the fact that I don't favor Uber and the like. These are unlicensed services and say what you will, the drivers for these services are not fully-vetted. They apply to be drivers online, do not sign any documents in front of a notary public (so their identity is never confirmed) and they are not fingerprinted as taxi drivers are. As a result, my 9 year old daughter could apply to be an Uber driver by simply providing a name, address and social security number (her deceased grandmothers SS# is on lots of paperwork in our house). Those with a low amount of criminal savvy, know how to buy identities online.

It's true that taxi drivers could present fake IDs but it's pretty hard to provide fake fingerprints and I like that extra level of protection since someone with a criminal record will have his/her fingerprints on file whereas they might not have their SS# (if they provided a fake one or didn't 'know it' when arrested or claimed to be Canadian, etc, etc).

Still, everyone has their own perception of risk. People skydive, for example so if you're okay with the above situation and understand that there is no government agency to whom to turn in case of a problem and no 'local uber company' (taxi drivers all drive for local companies; Uber drivers are 'self employed'), then go for it.

As far as public transit as an option, please read our 'local transportation' FAQs which explains our public transit system in detail. You don't say where you're staying in BH but there are major bus lines running through Beverly Hills along Sunset Bl (the #2 and #302) which go to the beach at Santa Monica (to the west) and to the Sunset Strip, Hollywood and eventually downtown L.A. to the east); there's a bus that runs along Santa Monica Bl and one that runs along Wilshire Bl and two more on OIympic Bl & Pico Bl. All these buses go to Santa Monica (to the west and various destinations to the east).

Here's a shortcut to the info about public transit:


The above buses run as frequently as every 3 minutes and the fares are $1.75 per ride (much less if you're 62 or over) or you can purchase a $7 Day Pass for unlimited rides for the day (again, much less, if you're a senior).

Happy planning!

Ponte Vedra Beach...
Level Contributor
832 posts
25 reviews
38 helpful votes
4. Re: Uber/Lyft/Taxis/Etc. For Getting Around Los Angeles

HopSkipJump - I'm aware of the problems with Uber. And - if cabs were even ok - I wouldn't use the service. But - here in Florida - although the drivers may be licensed - many are clueless bad drivers in substandard vehicles. Not to mention that many don't speak English. Or even Spanish (we speak both languages). Also - say the Purple Cab Company has 50 cabs. If you get in an accident - you'll find that your cab is the only asset owned by one of 50 corporations - and that it has the absolute minimum insurance necessary to be on the road (which isn't much).

We used some cabs our last trip to Los Angeles (although we had a rental car - we never drink at dinner and drive home). I don't recall anything particularly bad or good about them. So I guess what I may do is try a cab - see what I think. Maybe try Uber once too - see what I think.

Can anyone generalize about when Uber uses "surge pricing" in Los Angeles?

HitchKennedy - Your hunch that I'm not a good fit for public transportation is generally accurate. But we just returned from London - where the public transportation is excellent (and the subway is much faster than above ground means of getting around). If there was a decent relatively fast light rail option or similar to the San Gabriel Valley - I'd use it in a heartbeat. I always say I want to get out there to eat some Chinese food. But - when I look at the transportation realities - well I think I'll get to China before I get to the San Gabriel Valley.

BTW - we're staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel. At least one or two fellows at the concierge desk think Uber is fine. The (left) turn into the hotel is a killer. Any driver (Uber or otherwise) who doesn't know what he's doing won't make it to the hotel with an undented vehicle. My husband hated making that turn.

Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
Level Contributor
32,108 posts
45 reviews
41 helpful votes
5. Re: Uber/Lyft/Taxis/Etc. For Getting Around Los Angeles

I use Uber all the time and find it to be a very convenient, and affordable, option. The drivers are much nicer, the cars cleaner, the experience more pleasant.

You can always find an Uber within 5 minutes of you, makes it so easy.

Ponte Vedra Beach...
Level Contributor
832 posts
25 reviews
38 helpful votes
6. Re: Uber/Lyft/Taxis/Etc. For Getting Around Los Angeles

Any recommendations for the best class of Uber service to use in Los Angeles (i.e., which is the best value)? Robyn

7. Re: Uber/Lyft/Taxis/Etc. For Getting Around Los Angeles

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