Curb makes it easy to delete Uber or Lyft and go back to taking cabs

If, for some reason, you've recently decided to stop using one or more ridesharing services, but wish there were an easier way to call for a cab, you're in luck. Curb - The Taxi App (opens in new tab) works a lot like Uber or Lyft, but it's for cabs.

Taxis vs ridesharing

Curb app

I have a confession to make. I've never felt good about using a ridesharing service. I worry about how the taxi industry can survive when these startups come in and seriously undercut the competition. I do use Uber and Lyft, but I feel guilty every time I do.

I used to sit on my high horse and preach about how important it is to support the cabbies instead of calling a ridesharing service just because it's cheaper... and easier.

And then I took my first Uber ride. After that, like a drug, I found myself using it again and again, even though I felt guilty about it. It really is cheaper... and way easier.

But, taxis have a few advantages that rideshare companies do not. Taxi drivers are fully covered under their company's insurance policy. Rideshare drivers do need insurance, and are partially covered while they have a rider in their car (and their app is open and running), but can be dropped from their insurance company if their coverage does not include commercial coverage. Taxi drivers are required to undergo a background check - in some states a fingerprint scan is required, which is run through an FBI database. Rideshare companies do perform background checks, but don't require a fingerprint scan. Because taxis are regulated, they undergo audits and inspections more often than a rideshare company does.

The quick and dirty: Ridesharing costs less and is easier to use. Taxis cost more, but provide better protection for the rider.

How does Curb work?

When you first install Curb, you'll be asked to set up an account. You'll put in your name, phone number, and email address. You'll also connect your credit or debit card. Curb is supported by VeriFone, which is the credit card company that most Yellow and Green cabs use for payment transactions. So you can feel secure (as secure as you normally would paying for a cab ride) setting up your payment options.

Once you're set up, you'll enter a Drop off location and select Book Now. You can then enter your destination location to get an estimate of what the ride will cost. From my experience, taxi rides through Curb run about $2 more than non-surge priced ridesharing rides.

You can see, just like in the Lyft and Uber apps, where your taxi is currently located and how long it will take to get to you. In my city, estimated pickup times are about three minutes longer than ridesharing pickup estimates.

When your taxi arrives and your driver starts his meter, you'll get a notification that your ride has started. You'll also be asked to confirm the default tip or customize your tip (you can select no tip) within the app.

When you arrive at your destination and the taxi driver stops the meter, your connected payment card will automatically be charged. You will receive a notification and an email with the total amount charged.

Then, you're done. In a nutshell, it's pretty much the same experience as using Uber or Lyft.

How Curb compares with Uber and Lyft

There are some small differences between Curb and the two most popular ridesharing apps, Uber and Lyft, that might deter you from making the switch.

First of all, taking a cab via Curb costs more money. You may get a ride estimate of only $8, but end up paying $12 when all is said and done. This is because the ride estimate is an estimate and driver doesn't have to adhere to that amount. What you end up paying is directly based on how long the meter is running. Plus, every ride you take through Curb costs an additional $1.95 service fee, so you'll always have to tack on a couple of extra bucks to the cost.

Then, there is the tip. Uber and Lyft have traditionally suggested that there is no need to tip the driver (though Lyft has a tip option in the payment section). Cabs have traditionally been a tipping industry and it is expected.

When it comes to how long you have to wait, you'll be waiting a little longer for a cab than you would for an Uber or Lyft (depending on the city you live in, of course). Even though the Curb app might show an estimated time of arrival as eight minutes away, I noticed that it took about 15 minutes, each time, for my cab to arrive.

Why you might like Curb better

Curb app

There are a few small things about ridesharing that I've never really liked very much. Taking a cab can be somewhat freeing in that way.

There is no surge pricing with taxi companies. It may cost you a little more overall to get from point A to point B, but it will never cost you four times as much to get from point B to point A. The price will always be the same, no matter what time of night it is.

You can ask your cabbie to make extra stops or even take you through the drive through. If you want to make a late night detour, it's no skin off your driver's nose. I personally have been refused an extra stop by my Uber driver en route. Every rideshare driver will be different, but I've never had a cabbie refuse to make a quick stop at the liquor store on the way to my house.

Should you switch back to taking a cab?

If you've been considering not using a ridesharing service for one reason or another, Curb is a great app for making the transition back into the cab culture. Things have changed in the taxi industry since ridesharing first started. It is easier to get a ride than it used to be, and prices have gone down. It's still not perfect, but the experience has improved.

If you've ever been scared about getting into a car with a perfect stranger and have heard stories about drivers for some ridesharing companies, you may feel better about getting into a cab. Taxi drivers have a lot more to lose by upsetting a customer. It is usually their entire financial livelihood, not just a second job to make some extra pocket money.

If you've ever questioned how it is that ridesharing companies can charge so little and wonder if drivers are being properly compensated, or feel concerns that cab companies are losing business because other companies are undercutting the market, Curb will give you the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting the industry, while making it easier to catch a ride.

If you hate the idea that your driver gets to rate your performance as a rider and worry that you may get a poor rating just because you weren't friendly enough with your rideshare driver, taxi drivers don't rate their fares.

What do you think?

In the end, it is a personal choice. If you've wanted an better experience than you've had in the past with taking a cab, but can't get over how easy it is to use Uber or Lyft, you should give Curb a try. You'll be pleased with how easy it is to use, even with it's faults.

If you can't get over how much less expensive it is to take an Uber or Lyft and feel like the cab companies have had a monopoly on the ride-hailing business long enough, stick with what you've got. Curb is definitely more expensive, and taxis have not gotten that much more reasonably priced.

What do you think? Have you been pondering the idea of going back to taxi rides? Are you all-in with the rideshare industry? Do you use both? Let's discuss in the comments section.

Please remember to be polite.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

  • Go for it! Ill never take another cab again. You people that deleted Lyft or Uber don't really help in any way other than helping us users that use it get cheaper rides! Thanks!
  • On my personal experience uber costs more mile to mile than cabs do. So cheaper rides may not be as "cheap" as uber advertises.
  • It sometimes cost me $2 to ride 3 miles on Uber. I'm looking at least $15 by cab. If you're willing to share the ride, Uber is cheaper.
  • One thing that has disturbed me about Uber (I have never used Lyft), is that I have had 2 drivers that were nearly falling asleep at the wheel in the last 3 months or so. One was out in California driving me back to SFO airport. The other guy was in NJ and actually rolled down his window to keep himself awake. In the spirit of self-preservation, I kept up my side of a conversation until I got home. Not sure if Uber has policies about this, but it was something that had never happened to me in 20+ years of traveling for work.
  • Not taking a cab unless I absolutely must. Slow, more expensive and sometimes gross. Is it great that cabs are finally understanding the direction the market is going with smartphones and ease of use? Sure, though a little late. But the problem that still remains is quality. I don't want to be picked up in a crown vic from the 90s that smells of cigarettes and has some very questionable stains. Cabs need to move away from the hideous yellow/orange paint and the strip club poster boards on the roof of the car. I want it to feel like a AAA service. That they're going above and beyond to earn and keep my patronage. A clean car. Prompt and punctual service. A zero monetary transaction in the vehicle. TLDR: Be more like Uber
  • I don't get involved with politics, so from my standpoint Uber worked well for me and I continue using it. All the cabs I got from Uber have been clean and the drivers have generally been friendly, at worst a bit quiet but I'm not going to rate someone down for that, they're there to take me where I need to go and if they do that alone in a clean cab then I can't complain. Uber is fantastic, and I'll stick with it unless I have reason otherwise to go somewhere else (that is, a reason that's not based on some political agenda)
  • As long as Uber or Lyft are an option I am not opting for a cabbie.
  • Too bad because you're wasting $$$ and your time.
  • Maybe, like me, cabs are actually more expensive for him? So in that case he's not wasting $$$ and his time
  • Thank you for the heads up! I've been waiting for this--goodbye Lyft (I already got rid of Uber: "Turn on to politics before politics turns on you."--Ralph Nader)!
  • There is some misinformation in this article. When requesting a Uber/Lyft it does not ask how many riders there are, Uber/Lyft drivers usually will do multi stops and even go through the drive thru. Uber/Lyft drivers should refuse a ride that has more passengers than seat belts in their car, but so should the cab. Uber/Lyft at least in my market and those that I have visited starts the "meter" when you get in the car and ends it when you get out just like a cab. The writing of this article makes it sound like Uber/Lyft has a set rate, some areas it may but I have not seen it.
  • Thanks for the comment. I've updated the article with more clarification.
  • No problem. I drove for Uber/Lyft until January so know quite a bit about how they operate.
  • cabs are dirty, expensive unreliable... if it wasn't for Uber and Lyft they would still take CASH ONLY
  • Seriously? Sounds like Uber corporate PR team is all over this page.
  • Or maybe people just like Uber? He's got a point
  • It's probably an honest account of a very biased view. In my market., Las Vegas, Uber/Lyft win every time for the obvious reasons.
  • Which are? Let me guess - being more expensive, slower and less-insured?
  • Uber is cheaper in my area, so to assume it's more expensive is a bit silly
  • Your comment about insurance is incorrect. For example, in Nebraska, the TNC has set forth that the rideshare company will provide insurance for the driver from the moment the driver logs into the app. It is this way in most states as well, however, may just be during the actual ride. Either way, the driver is covered. Now if the driver doesn't have additional coverage to cover themselves while not on the ride, and the state TNC does not have anything set forth, that's their short coming. Sent from the iMore App
  • Thanks for the comment. I've updated the article with clarification.
  • The driver is covered only if driver purchased the insurance.
  • Also, on Uber, the drivers car is inspected yearly and has to be inspected by a certified mechanic, and then signed off on and the signed document must be uploaded to uber or the driver risks being kicked off. Another plus of uber or Lyft is the driver rating system. With Curb I did not see anything that allows to rate the driver. The rating is important for a rider as it allows the rider to choose the set driver for them. A cab driver has no responsibility or need, to maintain a high rating. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm glad to hear that Uber requires a yearly inspection. I am referring to the fact that rideshare companies are not currently regulate and not required by law to follow any sort of inspection schedule. Taxi companies are. Curb has a driver rating system that appears after you've completed your ride. But, I doubt the cab driver cares about whether he or she is poorly rated since taxis, in general, don't follow any sort of rating system. It may affect whether the driver is allowed to be supported by Curb. I haven't looked into Verifone's policies.
  • Do you feel guilty about using email since it hurts the post office and its workers? Do you feel guilty about downloading music to your iPhone since it hurts the local record store? Times change and it is up to businesses to keep up. Glad taxis are starting to use an app but it may already be too late for them.
  • +1
  • I do not feel guilty driving my own car either, those whip and buggy guys all lost their jobs...
  • I'm not concerned with the Post Office because it is a government agency. But, I do worry about hurting local record stores and rarely download music. I'm just one of those annoying types of people.
  • Why are you comparing uber to email? Uber is a taxi service. Same service. I prefer taxis over uber any time of day because surge-pricing in my opinion is an illegal practice by uber.
  • How can something be illegal in your opinion? It's either illegal or it's not, depending on the law of where you are. Surge-pricing only happens when there's a large number of people using Uber in one area at once, that's supply-and-demand, I've only ran into the surge-pricing of Uber once which was on New Year's Eve, and I wouldn't be surprised if normal cabs had a similar system
  • Uber no doubt is monitoring all negative articles about it - even more so after its recent fiasco and the following #DeleteUber movement. It seems Uber has several dozen online posters posting pro-Uber information online. That probably is the reason why most ride-sharing discussions get subverted into hidden pro-Uber agenda. Their tactic is obvious once you start seeing their agenda.
  • What kind of conspiracy is this?? How do we know you're not being paid by the cab industry to say bad things about Uber and post anti-uber info online?? I'm not gonna outright say you're statement is completely false, but I WISH Uber would pay me to do something as you're mentioning, I could definitely use an extra paycheck. Not sure if you'll even bother reading my long explanation about why I will always choose Uber/Lyft over cabs but here it is. For starters Cab drivers have always been rude. Now normally with Uber I see rudeness as a benefit, but with cabs it's completely not the case. I have purposely had cab drivers take longer routes, their cars reek cigarettes and if I pay with credit card I get a passive aggressive gesture, on top of which they still demand a tip. Plus they wanna talk about their problems like I even care. I also sometimes would pay 3X the amount that I would with Uber and Lyft. Now with Uber if a driver is rude I know for a fact the driver will not attempt small talk, and he'll be willing to drive 100+ in 55 MPH zone. THATS WHAT IM PAYING FOR!! Someone who can get me from point A to point B as fast as possible and as cheap as possible without bugging me. I calmly listen to my music or read a book while someone is else is doing the driving. With Lyft I also have an issue with their drivers always wanting to do small talk, but at least I don't put up with crappy attitudes and most of them will know right off the bat that I'm just trying to make it to my destination and won't take it personal that I prefer not to initiate conversation. Also if I'm using Lyft Line or Uber Pool, most likely the other rider(s) will be too busy having a conversation with the driver or we all just do our thing in the car and respect our space. Do I approve of Uber's ridiculous surge-pricing? Of course not, but you wanna know what to do in those situations?? I drive or take public transit, plain and simple. IMO I think it's pretty stupid to let political views dictate who I choose to do business with. And personally F*** politics, our system is a joke and until we as a society stop being divided that fact will never change, but that's a different convo altogether. The point is, I do business with who I want when it benefits me only, end of story. Giving my business to cabs doesn't benefit me in anyway so I politely refuse my patronage. If the cab industry has a problem with my own personal decision, that's their issue. Maybe if more people saw things that way, MAYBE things would be different.
  • we don't have uber/lyft in vancouver - do the ridesharing companies have cameras in their cars? can their cameras be accessed by police looking for a perp? We had a guy rob our store and jump into a cab. The cops called the cab company and gave them the time of the pickup - the cab company gave the cops his picture and where they dropped him off (his house), and he was arrested with about $150,000 of our merchandise. Would he have gotten away with all that if he used an uber or a lyft?
  • Uhh, you need to open an account which has an email and phone number. Also, yes, I've been noticing a lot more driver putting on reversible dash cams for both safety and insurance purposes. The app tracks pickup and drop off locations and obviously a driver will likely be willing to talk to the cops to confirm any necessary details. But I have to ask, how does this type of incident determine whether cabs are better than uber/Lyft. Sure safely is a first, but this type of scenario won't even remotely justify in me using their service or not.