Getting around the city with transportation apps

Getting around the city with transportation apps

When you don’t own a car, going somewhere requires a bit of thought. You have to ask yourself a series of questions. Should I walk there? Ride my bike? Is it raining out? How far away is my destination? How much money do I want to spend to get there? How much physical effort do I want to expend? Is someone already going there who I can tag along with?

If my destination is within a mile or two, I generally walk or bike. There are exceptions to this rule. They involve weather and attire. If it’s raining hard out or if I need to “dress up”, I’d rather have a ride.

I wanted as many transportation options in my arsenal as possible, so I researched some different transportation apps to help me get where I’m going. I’ll go over each briefly in this post and then later do a more in-depth post on each one.

Greyhound

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@elsiegilmore” suffix=”#publictransit”]Many people would rather lose a limb than take a Greyhound bus, but I’m here to tell you that they’re a clean, reliable and inexpensive form of transportation for longer distances.[/inlinetweet] I can get from downtown St. Petersburg to Sarasota in about 45 minutes for around $15 one way. That’s a bargain!

Android app | iPhone app

Uber

After reading some of the negative press Uber is getting, I was a little hesitant to use them. I downloaded the app to check it out, and it came with a free ride. So, one night I’d planned to go to an event only about a mile away, but it was dark and pouring out. I threw caution to the wind and requested a pick-up. A clean-cut guy arrived in about 8 minutes in a large, immaculate Ford Taurus and delivered me to my destination, making me an instant convert. What’s cool (albeit a bit stalkerish) is that Uber shows you where all the closest Uber cars are located, and you can see them moving down the streets on the map. (If you have angry ex-lovers, I would avoid being an Uber driver.)

Android app | iPhone app

Lyft

Lyft is essentially the same thing as Uber. I’ve read that the differences are subtle but that Uber drivers consider themselves to be taxi drivers, while Lyft drivers consider themselves your buddy who’s picking you up for a ride. Lyft is apparently a tad cheaper as well. I have yet to use Lyft, but it’s on my phone at the ready.

Android app | iPhone app

Lyft in St. Petersburg, FL   Uber in St. Petersburg, FL

Transit

I recently discovered the Transit app and am in love. It tells you, based on your GPS location, what buses or trains are going to arrive near you, if there are Uber cars near and if there’s a local bikeshare available. The bus feature lets you compare different routes to see which one will get you there quickest. If you’ve wanted to experiment with riding the bus, this is a great app to have. It really let’s you investigate all the non-car transportation options to get you from Point A to Point B.

Android app | iPhone app

Enterprise CarShare

When a friend told me there was a car share in the area where you could rent a car inexpensively by the hour, I said, “Sign me up!” The car share program is run by a local college and is open to students, faculty, staff and members of the public. A huge selling point for me was that one of the two vehicles available is a Fiat 500. Those cars are so damn adorable. I haven’t used the service yet, but I have scheduled a car to use in a few weeks. I got a $20 credit upon signing, and you do not have to pay for gas. The car has a gas card in it, and all you’re required to do is make sure it has a quarter tank of gas when you drop it off. You don’t have to interact with anyone to rent the car; simply reserve it online and then use your membership card (which gets mailed to you) to unlock the car.

Android app | iPhone app

Transit app in St. Petersburg    Enterprise CarShare in St. Petersburg

Those are the transportation apps I have on my phone and use regularly. Using public transportation and alternative transportation types has never been easier. I’d love to hear about any other apps you use and how you use them.

 

 

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