(The entire ranking of the cheapest and most expensive cities to take an Uber is at the end of the article, just in case you want to jump directly to there)
Besides the splendid scenery and exotic food, there is another discussion subject among friends returning from holidays.
We discuss price discrepancies and inflation because it affects our pockets, and also because it gives us a perspective of labor costs, living standards, and infrastructure development.
And, at least for some people, including me, it is also enjoyable.
I remember when I was a teenager how I spent time reading the charts of the Big Mac Index. It is an index compiled by the magazine The Economist comparing the prices of a Big Mac in different parts of the world. My interest in prices and charts, later on, resulted in my choice for an economics major at University.
The Big Mac Index became a hit because economists view the index as a decent real-world indicator of local purchasing power. This is because the pricing of a Big Mac considers local costs of raw materials, labor, taxes, and business premises.
I rarely listen to economists because many of them do not deserve any attention. But in this case, they almost got it right. Almost because the Big Mac Index does not take into consideration anomalies in demand. So if a country with low material, labor, and tax costs has an unusually high demand for hamburgers, the price still may be higher than expected.
Outside of these cases, however, it is a good measure.
In the same fashion as the Big Mac, the price comparison between Uber in similar conditions can illustrate how high are the labor and material costs in a certain country. Since drivers are freelancers, if the salaries are high and unemployment is low, Uber rides should cost more to attract drivers enough. These price fluctuations take into consideration offer and demand. Uber Dynamic Pricing model — something similar to what I did during my airline career — controls the price changes.
The Comparison Criteria for The Cheapest and Most Expensive Cities to Take an Uber
Before jumping into our Uber Rides comparison, first the criteria. I want to compare apples with apples, or, in the worst case, apples with pears, not with golden bracelets.
Every ride here will follow the criteria below:
- All rides to be compared have a distance of 6 kilometers.
- All rides are between the financial district and a residential district.
- All rides compared consider average traffic. No congestion. This solves the problem of comparisons between the rush hour in city A and the low-traffic flux in city B.
- All rides consider the cheapest form of Uber available.
Australia — Sydney
Departure: The Sydney Central Business District (CBD)
Arrival: 70 Simmons St, Newtown
Price: 18.73 Australian Dollars (US$ 14.61)
Belgium — Brussels
Departure: The Northern Quarter
Arrival: Rue Jean d’Ardenne 78, 1050
Price: 11.98 Euro (US$ 14.62)
Brazil — Sao Paulo
Departure: Av. Brg. Faria Lima, 1384
Arrival: Rua Tomás Carvalhal, 818–1018 — Paraíso
Price: 16.80 Brazilian Reais (US$ 3.19)
Canada — Vancouver
Departure: 674–624 Granville Street.
Arrival:1491 Kamloops Street.
Price: 14.33 Canadian Dollars (US$ 11.89)
Chile — Santiago
Departure: Rosario Nte 660–460, Las Condes
Arrival: Av. Luis Thayer Ojeda 1698–1502, Providencia
Price: 4119 Pesos Chilenos (US$ 5.77)
Colombia — Bogota
Departure: Cra. 10 #72–44, Comuna Chapinero
Arrival: Cl. 64D #69h1
Price: 9900 Pesos Colombianos (US$ 2.67)
France — Paris
Departure: 1–15 Rue des Longues Raies, 92000
Arrival:Rue du Souvenir, 95870 Bezons
Price: 12.25 Euros (US$ 14.95)
Germany — Frankfurt
Departure: Börsenpl., 60313 Frankfurt am Main
Arrival: Ulrichstraße 43, 60433 Frankfurt am Main
Price: 12.58 Euros (US$ 15.35)
India — Bangalore
Departure: 61, Avenue Rd, Ballapurpet, Chickpet, Bengaluru.
Arrival: 987, VK Gokak Rd, Gavipura, Kempegowda Nagar, Bengaluru.
Price: 140.54 Indian Rupees (US$ 1.97)
Italy — Milan
Departure: Borsa Italiana, P.za degli Affari, 6, 20123 Milano
Arrival: Via Ettore Ponti, 30, 20143 Milano
Price: 16.81 Euros (US$ 20.51)
Japan — Tokyo
Departure: Tokyo Stock Exchange, 2–1 Nihonbashikabutocho, Chuo City
Arrival: 4-chōme-22 Senzoku, Taito City, Tokyo
Price: 3702 JPY (US$ 34.06)
Mexico — Mexico City
Departure: Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11550
Arrival: Cidet, Av. Clavería 119, Claveria, Azcapotzalco, 02080 Ciudad de México
Price: 63.05 Pesos Mexicanos (US$ 3.15)
Poland — Warsaw
Departure: Warsaw Spire, plac Europejski 1, 00–844 Warszawa
Arrival:Jana Maklakiewicza, 02–641 Warszawa
Price: 13.17 Zlotys (US$ 3.56)
Spain — Madrid
Departure: Torre Europa, Paseo de la Castellana, 95, 28046 Madrid
Arrival: Calle de Asura, 6–16, 28043 Madrid
Price: 8.68 Euros (US$ 10.59)
Switzerland — Zurich
Departure: Paradeplatz, 8001 Zürich
Arrival: Birchstrasse 28, 8057 Zürich
Price: 18 Swiss Francs (US$ 19.98)
Ukraine — Kyiv
Departure: National Bank of Ukraine, Instytutska St, 9, Kyiv
Arrival: Pravoberezhna St, 61, Kyiv
Price: 71.43 UAH (US$ 2.57)
The United States — New York
Departure: 16–2 Pine St, New York, NY 10005
Arrival: 353 Hoyt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Price: 30.28 Dollars (US$ 30.28)
Ranking of Uber Prices
From the cheapest to the most expensive, here is the ranking.
The cheapest Uber ride among all cities compared is in Bangalore, India. Using an exchange rate of 0.014 USD per Indian Rupee, the total price of the 6km route was US$1.97.
Below the ranking:
2nd — Kyiv, Ukraine. US$2.57
3rd — Bogota, Colombia. US$2.67
4th — Mexico City, Mexico. US$3.15
5th — Sao Paulo, Brazil. US$3.19
6th — Warsaw, Poland. US$3.56
7th — Santiago, Chile. US$5.77
8th — Madrid, Spain. US$10.59
9th — Vancouver, Canada. US$11.89
10th — Sidney, Australia. US$14.61
11th — Brussels, Belgium. US$14.62
12th — Paris, France. US$14.95
13th — Frankfurt, Germany. US$15.35
14th — Zurich, Switzerland. US$19.98
15th — Milan, Italy. US$20.51
16th — New York, The United States of America. US$30.28
17th — Tokyo, Japan. US$34.06
Conclusions about Cheapest and Most Expensive Cities to Take an Uber
The Uber prices in the analyzed cities reflect the discrepancies between the labor costs. A single uber ride in Tokyo would cost more than 17 rides with the same distance and characteristics in Bangalore, India.
This comes as no surprise when we realize that Japan has a per capita income almost 20 times bigger than India.
An apparent surprise is that Milan had the largest price among all European cities since Italy does have an average income lower than Switzerland or Germany. But we must remember that Italy is a fairly unequal country, and Lombardy (the region of Milan) has an average income far higher than Italy.
If you are curious about how you can save when ordering an Uber, and many other travel hacks, I recommend the book Budget Travelers, Digital Nomads & Expats: The Ultimate Guide: 50 Tips, Tricks, Hacks and Ways to Free Stuff & Cheaper Flights
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