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Meet the brilliant app that neither Uber nor cab companies want you to know about

Published Mar 18th, 2015 9:45PM EDT
Uber Vs. Taxi Cost
Image: Uber

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Want to find the cheapest way to travel? Uber would love for you to think it almost always offers the lowest prices, although there are regularly cases when taking an old-school taxi is the better way to go. Technology Review draws our attention to a new app called OpenStreetCab that uses real-time data to determine when Uber rides are cheaper and when taxis are cheaper so you’ll always know the best option for a low-cost ride.

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Unfortunately, it seems the app only really works for New York City right now because of “a 2014 freedom of information request for the data associated with New York City Yellow Taxi journeys during the whole of 2013,” Technology Review writes.

One of the app’s developers, Cecilia Mascolo at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., suggests to Technology Review that Uber really is good for longer rides but notes that for shorter rides you may be better off going with a cab.

“Uber appears more expensive for prices below 35 dollars and begins to become cheaper only after that threshold,” she and her colleagues wrote in their analysis of Uber and cab prices. “This observation therefore suggests that Uber’s economical model exploits this trend of human mobility in order to maximize revenue.”

To read more about this app, check out Technology Review’s full report on it by clicking here. And to check out OpenStreetCab for yourself, take a look at its iTunes App Store page by clicking here.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.