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With this afternoon’s addition of a $15 emergency hurricane charge to all taxi-cab trips, the few people venturing out during Hurricane Sandy may find themselves in an unusual situation: Some trips from luxury sedan service Uber are now cheaper than regular cab rides.
While Uber’s fans have long said that it beats cabs on service, cleanliness, and willingness to go to all areas of Washington, it’s usually lost out to cabs on cost. But the surcharge means that Uber is now competitive with cabs as long as the fee is in effect, mainly on short trips.
Because of Uber’s higher per-mile fees ($3.25 per mile, compared to cabs’ $2.16), the advantage disappears on trips of around 10 miles, when D.C. cabs again become the cheapest option.
Of course, this all becomes moot if it becomes impossible to find a cab or Uber sedan, or Uber announces emergency pricing. So far, the company has not announced plans to pull cars or charge more during the storm.