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12 ride-hailing apps to get your drunk ass home safe

New Year’s Eve in New York City has been a mammoth affair ever since Adolph Ochs, then owner of the New York Times, rang in the 1908 New Year with a fireworks display and descending crystal ball. Now, millions of people flock to New Year’s celebrations across the country to laugh, drink, dance, and be merry with friends and family. These parties are spectacles to behold, but the influx of people presents a very real logistical problem: massive shortages of public transportation.

Related: 200 Awesome iPhone Apps for 2015 | The best Android apps for almost any occassion

Luckily, the rise of on-demand ride-sharing services has made hailing a private sedan, SUV, or taxi a cinch — even in the hours leading up to and immediately following the New Year. But not all ride-hailing apps are created equal. Some have the advantage of volume, while others offer the best price, or superior technology. That’s why we’ve put together our list of favorite ride-sharing apps to get you safely home from your New Year’s Eve celebrations.

On-demand rides



San Francisco-based Uber is by far the most popular ride-hailing service around. As of May 28, 2015, the company counted 160 million drivers across 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide among its ranks.

Uber’s pricing is fairly competitive on most days of the year, but things are a bit different on New Year’s Eve. The service’s variable surge pricing kicks in when demand hits a certain threshold, and those caught unawares are in for a nasty New Year’s surprise. If you’re unwilling to wait out peak hours between 12:30 and 2:30 a.m. and don’t mind sharing a ride with strangers, Uber provides a discounted carpooling option called uberPOOL to make the expense a little more digestible. And if you’ve got a larger group, the app lets you split the fare among passengers, regardless of whether you spring for Uber’s large sedan (uberXL), SUV (UberSUV), luxury car (Lux), and/or multiple mid-level cars.

Should you or one of the members of your party need it, Uber is one of the few on-demand services offering a disabled access option called UberASSIST. Select it in a supported city, and you’ll get a trained driver with a vehicle large enough to accommodate folding a scooter or folding weelchair. Read more here.

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Lyft, the second-largest ride-hailing app by volume, offers transport in 65 U.S. cities including New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Perhaps best known for the bright pink mustaches that once adorned the grills of its drivers’ cars, Lyft offers a range of vehicles to choose from, including average-sized Lyft autos and larger Lyft Plus cars.

Much like Uber, Lyft institutes demand-based pricing during the busiest hours. Unlike Uber, Lyft caps premiums at 400 percent. If that still sounds too rich for your blood, Lyft offers a carpooling service called Lyft Line, which lets you split fares between passengers if you opt for a larger private car.

Another small perk worth considering? Free Starbucks. In July, Lyft partnered with the coffee chain to offer riders loyalty points on their rewards cards. The promotion is still going strong, too, so if you need a pick me up on the ride home, you’re all set. Read more here.

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Gett, the Israel-based ride-hailing app formerly known as GetTaxi, has a user base that pales in comparison to Uber and Lyft — it counts 35,000 drivers among its ranks globally, and only has a U.S. presence in New York City right now. Gett has a marked advantage when it comes to pricing, though: it never leverages a premium during busy hours.

Gett gets away with it by paying drivers a competitive minutely wage rather than a percentage of every fare, like Uber and Lyft. The company passes those savings on to riders. In New York, Gett caps fares between Houston Street and 72nd street at $10 plus tax and tip.

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Curb is another ride-sharing underdog, but one that’s expanding aggressively — The service leverages a network of 35,000 taxis and 6,000 hired cars across U.S. 60 cities.

On a basic level, Curb works much in the same way as Uber and Lyft: Hail a driver, and you’ll be whisked away to your final destination. Uniquely, though, the service lets you schedule pickups ahead of time in some cities. Know you’ll need a ride after a long night of ringing in the New Year? Set a time and location, so that a Curb driver will await your arrival. That’s not the only benefit that Curb’s got on the ride-hailing competition. It never charges surge pricing, either.

But Curb’s far from perfect. ComputerWorld’s Jake Widman reports that Curb’s driver availability is often spotty, an assertion which a cursory glance at Curb’s App Store reviews would seem to confirm. That’s apparently thanks to the service’s heavy reliance on cab drivers, who are likely to find closer passengers on the way to your pickup location. Curb now disincentivizes drivers from skipping jobs by kicking them out of the reservation system temporarily, but it remains to be seen just how highly drivers value Curb’s ride-hailing network over others.

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Next page: Ridesharing and carpooling

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