As a girl abroad, many times traveling alone, I often rely on taxis to get around, especially at night.
I travel to the city of Boston at least a couple times of year. With all its charms, good taxi service is unfortunately not one of Boston’s better aspects representing the city or welcoming the visitor. Every time I am in the city I find myself having some altercation with a cab driver at least once because he is texting while driving! I have even taken photos of them doing it. The cars themselves are also a bit grungy, beat up, and crammed in the back seating. Sometimes even quite stinky with the cab drivers left over food permeating through the whole car, and that would be one of the better smells to be found. Then there is the driving itself which is I hate to say is just awful and many times a bit rough. Drivers are often annoyed and aggressive and will take it out on everyone from the passenger to the driver in front of him, Beware! They can complain (yell) about things such as where you put your bag on the back seat, luggage hassles, and just about anything else if the mood strikes them. But the absolute worst thing of all is for a profession that is about transport throughout the city, the drivers for the most part have no knowledge of their city and therefore have no idea where they are going. That means you the passenger have to tell them how to go and where exactly you are going if you expect to get there. In other words know the hotel’s name, street address, and area of town, as simply saying ‘the Ritz’ might get confused looks. You are essentially doing half the job of the driver, but hey, he still expects to be paid AND tipped! for knowing next to nothing about his job. Prepare yourself. This is especially hard for a visitor to the city who normally doesn’t know the area very well let alone the cross street or what side of the park you might need to be at. Because of this, Boston Cab drivers are a nightmare for tourists.
On a recent trip to Boston, after having yet another difficult taxi journey, a friend of mine turned me onto Uber, a Boston car service that you can book through your smartphone. You download the app, and go through a one time short set up process where you give your credit card details, and then you are free to use the service. The app shows you in real time the cars available in your area and gives you an approximate wait time. Once you book the car it gives you the drivers name and will text you when it is almost there and has arrived. You are picked up in an attractive black car, cozy and clean interior with courteous driver who will get you to your destination with minimal stress or turbulence. And the best part it is all charged to your credit card so you don’t have to worry or fiddle around with payment you can just step out door to door. What a relief! Yes, it does cost slightly more then a regular cab, but not that much more and frankly well worth every penny.
For a cheaper alternative there is Lyft which works on the same premise, and done all through your phone’s app as well, but it considers itself a car ‘sharing’ service which means you might share the car with someone one else going to the same area as you. The trade off being it is cheaper then Uber but not as polished. Both are considered safe, and both offer the same idea while Lyft being slightly less expensive is about the same price as a taxi.
Both services are really taking off in the area and should be easily accessible. Worth a try and a much better alternative to the common Boston cab.