Uber JFK Airport Flat Rate Rides Eliminated

I’m a big fan of Uber, and use them all the time. Whenever public transportation isn’t good in a city (or isn’t convenient for where I’m coming from/going to), I use Uber.

In NYC I generally try to take the subway from JFK Airport to the city, though sometimes I’ll take Uber if I arrive super-late or leave super-early.

Last December Uber hiked up their UberBLACK flat rate fares between Manhattan and JFK Airport, from $85 to $100. A ~20% increase overnight is quite a bit.

Uber-Flat-Rate-NYC

Less than a year later, it looks like Uber is once again modifying fares between Manhattan and JFK Airport. As of earlier in the week, Uber has discontinued flat rate fares between JFK Airport and Manhattan altogether:

Starting today, Tuesday, October 6, trips between Manhattan and JFK Airport will be calculated based on standard New York City time and distance rates*. Flat rate fares will no longer apply to these rides.

Whether you’re headed out for the three-day weekend or expensing a trip to the airport, you can always estimate your fare in-app before requesting a pickup.

If you have any questions or feedback, please reach out to us at support@uber.com.

Uber-JFK-Pricing

Looking at the fare estimate calculator on Uber’s website, this represents sizable increases in some instances. For example, I often stay at the Andaz 5th Avenue, and the fare calculator now indicates that an UberBLACK would cost you $94-123:

Uber-JFK

Meanwhile when entering the address of the Andaz Wall Street, the fare calculator indicates that it’ll cost you $99-131:

Uber-JFK-1

Ouch!

Bottom line

Over the course of a year, UberBLACK between JFK and Manhattan has gone from being marginally more expensive than a yellow taxi, to potentially being almost double the price.

Uber is still pretty awesome, but this change is enough to prevent me from taking an UberBLACK between JFK and Manhattan.

If you haven’t yet signed up for Uber, they have a pretty lucrative referral program, whereby you can get a free ride of up to $20 by being referred (and the person referring gets the same).

Does Uber eliminating flat rate rides between JFK and Manhattan impact whether you’ll use them?

(Tip of the hat to The Forward Cabin)

Comments

  1. Don’t think I’ve taken an uber black since it was the only choice available. UberX all the way.

  2. I HATE taking cars to/from JFK, even if work/client is paying. I find the AirTrain to Jamaica, then subway or LIRR into Midtown, is far more convenient and in some cases faster.

    Expect to pay far more than $100 if there’s significant traffic.

  3. I don’t know anyone who uses uber black. Uber x is clearly the way to go. Same TLC-licensed drivers (in NYC uber x is legally a livery car, just not a gratuitously fancy one) and half the price.

  4. @SG – UberX used to have a flat rate of $65, and UberPool $36.

    Honestly, when traveling on my own dime, I could never before justify taking an Uber to JFK over the LIRR, which is $4.25 one-way on the weekends (or $9.25 when adding in the AirTrain cost). Even when traveling for work, I will take the LIRR if heading in or out during rush hour.

    This effectively is the nail in the coffin for me in terms of Uber to JFK. I am assuming the fare estimates don’t take into account the fact that traffic on the Van Wyck and LIE can be extremely bad. The one time I made the mistake of taking a car to JFK on a Thurs afternoon, the ride took almost 2 hours.

  5. @Lucky

    The whole benefit of flying into JFK is that you can take relatively inexpensive (and usually not any slower) public transportation into the city/Brooklyn/Queens. Even paying $80 for an Uber Black seems a bit absurd, especially when you can get a flat rate cab to Manhattan for $52.

    I live in Brooklyn about a 10 minute walk from Atlantic Terminal (where you can catch the LIRR to JFK) and I almost always try to use JFK over LGA if possible just to save the $100 in cab fare.

  6. LIRR has been my preferred option for years. Last time it took me 45 min from arriving jfk gate to Penn station and costs are minimal, $7.50 or so at off peak times plus a couple of $ for the airtrain. You neve know how long a car will need which is especially bad when trying to get to the airport close to departure time.

  7. Uber got rid of the flat rate to IAD a year or so ago. I actually find it cheaper now. But there’s no great public transit option to that airport yet.

  8. The only reason to take a car to/from JFK is if you’ve got crazy luggage, in which case UberBlack makes a lot of sense (the cars are bigger).

    Otherwise, it’s AirTrain and subway all the way.

    Of course, from LGA, it’s all about UberX.

  9. Echoing others, the only times I’ve ever actually considered uber to the airport are when I have enough luggage that subways/ trains might be a pain to transfer. But I always go public transit anyway because of the uncertainty of traffic. JFK is bad enough. PEK can be literally hours by car while the train is consistent enough to plan a tighter schedule. Add on the money saved and the airport trains are a no-brainer.

  10. @Daniel yeah, I’ve taken Amtrak and flown from EWR to avoid having to get to Dulles. Depending on the time of day, it’s faster too, depending on where in DC you’re coming from.

  11. Based on my interactions with Uber and from media reports about their CEO (who really seems like an a$$hole), Uber is not a particularly customer-friendly company. They will continue to increase prices/decrease value. Without lots of (referral) credits, I don’t know how popular the service would be with some people.

  12. Uber also recently switched EWR-based rides to use the NYC rates as well. An uberX from EWR to my apt in Hoboken used to cost about $20. Now with the new NYC-based rates, it’s $45. I would have been OK with a small hike, but not 150%. Absolutely ridiculous. Looks like it’s back to my private car service ($26+tip).

  13. I’m thinking through several of my past trips to New York. One time, there were five of us and 18 (!!) pieces of luggage (don’t ask), so we had no qualms about the large uber fee. On the flip side, last time I was in a rush to get to JFK, the uber driver decided that a little bit of traffic was enough to route us through Queens. Like, the totality of Queens. When I complained to uber, they said “yeah, that route was nuts, but we can’t discount your ride because it’s a flat rate.” :/ Uber is really a toss-up; that said, I generally prefer users to cabs, no clue why.

  14. Last Friday night I took as usual UberX from Battery Park to JFK: $215 ride instead of $65!
    I receive emails from Uber when they need clients support and not when you have to be aware of a so significant change in the service fare.
    I am not going to use this service anylonger.

  15. NYC may be one of the few cities where Uber doesn’t work with fair market pricing
    I typically use Carmel Limo though not 100% reliable they are usually 50 to 60 dollars from JFK to NYC
    When I tried Uber to go from the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park uptown it was 40 plus dollars
    Carmel 16.00 dollars flat rate.
    There are expense account folks in NYC who will push the tap to ride regardless of costs and that’s their cash cow target. Ill be mooing with another transportation option
    If Uber has no cost advantage why bother?

  16. Does no one else see the irony in this? Uber puts a ton of new cars (UberX mainly) on the streets of NYC, traffic gets worse, so their prices go up based on time spent in the car that’s stuck in traffic. So flat rate doesn’t make sense anymore. Not that traffic was awesome to begin with…

    Will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

    Also just got an email from my corporate car service that they were lowering rates, to compete with Uber. Wonder when that’ll go away.

  17. I always take public transport at rush hour, but off-peak i’ve had a terrible time with Uber in recent months. Drivers accept and then cancel five minutes later… or no one at all will pick up my ride request… So I sorta gave up on them. Maybe now that the drivers will be getting “full fare” there might be more incentive to provide better service. But I still think it’s insanity to take a car to the airport during rush hour. I’ve had it take over 2 hours from lower Manhattan!

  18. LIRR+airtrain unless there’s luggage. UberShare was awesome @ <$40 a pop & i've only used it twice, no sharers both times.

  19. I used to get a flat rate from Washington Heights, NYC straight over the George Washington Bridge and down to EWR for $66. The last ride was $88.75. That’s a hell of an increase.

    I made a comment in my trip satisfaction and I received this:

    Sep 28, 13:30
    Hi Erik —

    Thanks for writing in! So sorry for any confusion regarding this fare!

    As of August 4, 2015, all trips starting and ending at Newark Airport will be calculated at standard rates (time + distance) instead of a flat rate.

    In order to avoid surprises, any rider opening the app in the airport for the first time since the change will be shown an informational splash screen. You can also always run a fare quote before your trip in order to see an estimated fare.

    You can learn more about our New York City rates, and perform a Fare Estimate at https://www.uber.com/cities/new-york.

    Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Always happy to help.

    Elivir
    help.uber.com
    – – –
    I replied that I was not happy with this increase, and I will be forced to check back with my old standby Carmel Car Service which was very reliable, easy to pay with credit card, and always (except once) shows up at least 10 minutes EARLY!

  20. NYC is not the only city where Uber is changing the flat rate to the airport. I was just in Dallas where the flat rate from downtown (Fairmont Hotel) to DFW was $ 65. With the new time and distance model the fare is in the $ 85 to $ 100 range based on traffic. In Philadelphia where I live, the the flat rate went from $ 45 to a time and distance rate where subject to what part of Center City you live in can be a couple of dollars cheaper to $10 or more. Atlanta is another city where they have eliminated the flat rate system. The drivers tell me that Uber has increased their take on the fares to 25 % from 20%.

  21. Uber’s best use case in New York is intra-city travel in UberX or UberSUV (when you have a lot of people), trips from borough to borough (Uber has made it much easier to get to and from Brooklyn, for example) and special trips such as those to the Hamptons. For Airport travel, it’s better to use public transport, yellow cabs or corporate black car service if you have access to it.

  22. Wow, that’s ridiculous. I used to live in Lower Manhattan, and even the UberX at $56-75 is higher than used to pay Dial 7 to JFK.

    Uber is starting to take its customers for granted, and that’ll come back to haunt them.

  23. This is a dumb move. The only times I always used Uber was from the airport to the city because of the long taxi lines and incompetent taxi handlers at JFK. Uber was always there in less than 5 minutes. Without a flat rate, I will gladly wait the extra few minutes to get a taxi so I can have the $52 flat rate. I’m not going to pay $100 to get to Manhattan because I got stuck in traffic in an Uber. Even Uber’s fare estimate says $69 is a best case UberX scenario (no traffic). This will destroy Uber’s airport business at JFK.

  24. I always tip the uber drivers, they deserve it.
    They work hard,long hours and some have families.
    After all, you tip cab driver’s, bartender, waitresses, chamber maids. Etc etc.

  25. In the month of October a uber driver stole my bag. The uber company did NOTHING beside writing some courteous emails. The police told me it happens often. I don’t use uber anymore. Their electronic receipt said to call 311 in case of problems but the night when this happened I did and 311 is not linked to uber. So it’s a fraudulent description on uber email. I went back to yellow cabs. And I am using DIAL 7 app. It works well and drivers are very courteous. The nice part is that they give you a price in advance and it doesn’t change.

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