Feb 10, 2023 - Things to Do

Test Drive: Are taxis or Lyfts a better deal from O'Hare?

Photo of man driving a car.

Justin takes a Lyft home from O'Hare. Photo: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

We returned from our Axios D.C. retreat Wednesday night all groggy and exhausted. So naturally we decided to do more work — by testing cabs versus rideshare apps for our feature reviewing life experiences around Chicago.

Why it matters: Ridesharing used to be the logical choice to save money and avoid the notoriously long cab lines at O'Hare.

  • But recent driver shortages, gas price increases and consumer habits have started to even things out. Would that be true for us?

The parameters: We touched down at 8:15pm and Justin ordered a Lyft while Monica headed to the cab line. Here's how it went:

Photo of a cab stand at an airport
The no-wait cab line at O'Hare Wednesday night. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Monica's cab

First impressions: For the first time ever, I walked right into my yellow chariot without any waiting in the airport cab line.

Cost and distance: $47 and 24 minutes for 12.5 miles.

Pros: I got to watch a Jimmy Kimmel excerpt and channel 7 news clips, but no more Hungry Hound 😢.

  • Tuning into Lite FM, the driver sang along to Lionel Richie's "You Are" and told me more people should follow Delilah's relationship advice because "she is right."

Cons: The intense air freshener smell that still lingers in my brain.

  • The driver's super fast (73 mph) speed and his testiness when I tried to explain where he should turn. "I know," he snapped, thus reducing his tip.

The bottom line: I'm glad I supported the flailing cab industry and that my user rating won't get dinged for giving only a $5 tip.

Rating: 🚕 🚕 🚕 (out of 5)

Justin's Lyft

First impressions: The used Honda Civic featuring a duct-taped side mirror was fairly clean with a Febreze-like aroma.

Cost and distance: It was $40.56 in 19 minutes for 17.9 miles

Pros: My driver also drove fast, but there was little traffic, and I was happy to get home after a long day of travel.

  • He loved his music and didn't care at all what I thought of the volume. He started singing along when Marc Anthony's chorus from "Adicto" blared from the speakers.
  • Oh, yeah, he was also a dashboard drummer.

Con: I didn't like the use of the "brights" to shock slower cars to move out of his lane. Also, the young man wore a mask, but it was a camouflaged gaiter that made it feel like it was the early pandemic days of 2020.

The bottom line: The price was right, the car was fast. and I just downloaded a bunch of new Prince Royce songs.

Rating: 🚗 🚗 🚗 🚗


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