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  1. #1

    Default Uber Prices to AT Trailheads Are Significantly Cheaper than Most Shuttle Services!!!!

    I feel like this deserves it's own thread. I'm surprised more people haven't mentioned the fact that many Shuttle Services are over priced.

    I live in NYC. I'm NOBO starting May 1st. My original plan was to fly to Atlanta and then take a shuttle to Amicalola Falls, but when I found out what Shuttle Services are charging, I changed my mind.

    While researching the best way to get to Amicalola Falls from Atlanta, I was shocked by how much AT shuttles costs. $115-125 is what I've been quoted so far. That's crazy talk.

    Uber X is quoting anywhere form $60-80. That's like half of a shuttle, depending up on what time you leave. Plus, you can split an Uber with a fellow hiker, so that drops the price even more.

    A one way flight on SW airlines from NYC to Atlanta is $75-$100.

    Driving one way from NYC to Amicalola will cost me approximately $75 in gas money, give or take $10 (35mpg). So roundtrip is basically $150.

    I don't see how Shuttle operators can charge so much. I think it's because people are not aware of other, more affordable options.

    Hope this helps.

  2. #2

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    Well then by all means, use your plan.
    Report back and let everyone know how it went.

  3. #3
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    Not sure what your time is worth,but you are talking about a three hour round trip,much of it in traffic. Factor in gas,car expenses like insurance and upkeep,and no one is getting rich for 115. Also keep in mind income for shuttle driver that is not driving is zero. I was glad to pay every shuttle we used,and never felt overcharged.

  4. #4
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    As Slow Trek said.

    Uber operates differently than shuttles. Uber may be a less expensive option though.

    Your so called high priced shuttle quote conveniently omits the shuttle expenses are also less if you split the costs with others. If you find a shuttle from Hotlanta to AF SP that uses a van you can get a deeply discounted group rate. This is what I did for several AT hikes traveling by train, bus, and flights, from NJ/NY areas to Hotlanta and then group shuttling to AF SP or the Springer Mt parking Lot or the Dahlonega Hiker Hostel. Last time I did this which admittedly was more than a yr ago I paid $45 without stay at the hostel to get from North Springs MARTA directly to AF SP.

    BTW, Mega Bus RT between Atlanta and NYC China Town or Port Authority cost me $29 last yr. It was a shorter trip by almost 6 hrs as well compared to the Dog.

    Your Uber really isn't all that cheap! A Amtrak train ticket or Ghound fare from Atlanta to GVille GA is currently as cheap as $18. From the Gville Amtrak cojoined GHound station one can sometimes piggyback on a hiker shuttle to AF SP or Springer MT lot during higher AT thru-hiker usage for as little as $25. I've done this twice but it was on the fly so one would have to be indepently patient and able to socialize up a ride. OFTEM from this same lot there are folks headed to AF SP during AT NOBO bubble periods. My perspective has always been on LD hikes is get accustomed to going with the flow being flexible to not having to know everything in advance being able to adjust as needed.

    Coming from the north or west of AF SP It has always seemed to me that it's not optimal as far as reduct travel time, cost, and travel distance to head all the way into Atlanta south of the AT to then have to travel back north to hike. I prefer an itinerary as you did . Drive directly from NY to AF SP, Springer Mt, or Dahlonega.

  5. #5
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    Obtaining group rates that beats Uber prices requires communication and cooperation with others, easy enough in todays social media and smartphone driven society, particularly during AT NOBO bubble periods, and some flexibility without so much a Lone Wolf or close to such mentality.

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    Yankees.

    OkeefenokeeJoe

  7. #7

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    Sod Buster

  8. #8
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    I am wondering how many Uber drivers working around the Atlanta airport would take a fare that far out into the boonies for $75.

    Is it a given you could get an Uber for that route in a reasonable amount of time?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    I am wondering how many Uber drivers working around the Atlanta airport would take a fare that far out into the boonies for $75.

    Is it a given you could get an Uber for that route in a reasonable amount of time?
    This. That's a long drive with zero hope of a return fare. Although many Uber drivers aren't all that great at math, so you never know.

  10. #10

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    It is good for people to know that they should consider the uber option. a few other comments:

    Just using "gas money" isn't near good enough to evaluate a cost, unless you are thinking very short-term.

    Uber is cheap because often people hardly make any money off of it (at least per hour) when they factor all related costs (except some drivers I know that use their dad's car...)

    I use uber where it works, but I also like the fact that there are great shuttle drivers out there that are cheaper than normal taxis and nice people. Those prices you quoted are a bit higher than I'm used to for shuttles. Probably lower prices to be had when it's not May 1!

  11. #11

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    I suspect Uber drivers in that area aren't really turning much of a profit, if any. Why would a shuttle driver carry someone and not make a profit?

  12. #12
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    I wonder what the Uber is going to think when he hits the forest road.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    As Slow Trek said.

    Uber operates differently than shuttles. Uber may be a less expensive option though.

    Your so called high priced shuttle quote conveniently omits the shuttle expenses are also less if you split the costs with others. If you find a shuttle from Hotlanta to AF SP that uses a van you can get a deeply discounted group rate. This is what I did for several AT hikes traveling by train, bus, and flights, from NJ/NY areas to Hotlanta and then group shuttling to AF SP or the Springer Mt parking Lot or the Dahlonega Hiker Hostel. Last time I did this which admittedly was more than a yr ago I paid $45 without stay at the hostel to get from North Springs MARTA directly to AF SP.

    BTW, Mega Bus RT between Atlanta and NYC China Town or Port Authority cost me $29 last yr. It was a shorter trip by almost 6 hrs as well compared to the Dog.

    Your Uber really isn't all that cheap! A Amtrak train ticket or Ghound fare from Atlanta to GVille GA is currently as cheap as $18. From the Gville Amtrak cojoined GHound station one can sometimes piggyback on a hiker shuttle to AF SP or Springer MT lot during higher AT thru-hiker usage for as little as $25. I've done this twice but it was on the fly so one would have to be indepently patient and able to socialize up a ride. OFTEM from this same lot there are folks headed to AF SP during AT NOBO bubble periods. My perspective has always been on LD hikes is get accustomed to going with the flow being flexible to not having to know everything in advance being able to adjust as needed.

    Coming from the north or west of AF SP It has always seemed to me that it's not optimal as far as reduct travel time, cost, and travel distance to head all the way into Atlanta south of the AT to then have to travel back north to hike. I prefer an itinerary as you did . Drive directly from NY to AF SP, Springer Mt, or Dahlonega.
    Thanks for the tips, Dogwood. Particularly good to know about the Chinatown Bus option!

    Btw, of the three shuttle services I recently contacted, only one offered a discounted rate if other passengers were present. I'm referring to is the one REI offers in South Spring.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Obtaining group rates that beats Uber prices requires communication and cooperation with others, easy enough in todays social media and smartphone driven society, particularly during AT NOBO bubble periods, and some flexibility without so much a Lone Wolf or close to such mentality.
    The same goes for Uber... except Uber actually offers the service to you, it's called Uber Pool. Basically just car pools people heading in the same general direction. So you may pick up and drop off several people on the way.

    Forgot to mention that in my original post. It can literally cut the price of a trip in half depending on when and where you're going...and then it becomes dirt cheap.

    Personally, I've felt that finding and organizing with someone starting the exact same time and day as me to be inconvenient and time-consuming. Besides, I'm actually hiking the AT to get a little slice of solitude. So mark me down as a lone wolf... and this is my howl! ha ha

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    This. That's a long drive with zero hope of a return fare. Although many Uber drivers aren't all that great at math, so you never know.
    SOBO hikers, sections hikers, people going to Gainesville, Gainesville to Atlanta. I suspect their chances are decent.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hikingjim View Post
    It is good for people to know that they should consider the uber option. a few other comments:

    Just using "gas money" isn't near good enough to evaluate a cost, unless you are thinking very short-term.

    Uber is cheap because often people hardly make any money off of it (at least per hour) when they factor all related costs (except some drivers I know that use their dad's car...)

    I use uber where it works, but I also like the fact that there are great shuttle drivers out there that are cheaper than normal taxis and nice people. Those prices you quoted are a bit higher than I'm used to for shuttles. Probably lower prices to be had when it's not May 1!
    Well, my start date is May 1st. So that is what it is.

    Yeah, I was just using gas money because one of the Shuttle Service providers said that prices could be even higher depending upon gas prices... I felt that that was a bit disingenuous and I was a little surprised considering that we're not exactly experiencing a gas drought in America at the moment.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tundracamper View Post
    I suspect Uber drivers in that area aren't really turning much of a profit, if any. Why would a shuttle driver carry someone and not make a profit?

    Why would anyone pay double for an equal, or in some cases lesser, service/product being offered by another vendor?

    Would you pay double for a pair of boots just because a local outfitter is selling them, as opposed to REI or online?

    Is the Uber driver somehow less deserving, less worthy of my business?

    What makes shuttle drivers an exception to sound personal finance?

  18. #18
    Registered User Old Hiker's Avatar
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    So if your Uber driver goes off the road, his/her insurance company finds out he/she was using the "privately owned vehicle" for a "commercial service", you think your medical bills are going to be paid? Even if the accident wasn't their fault?


    You think your Uber driver is going to have the financial resources to pay your lawsuit?


    I'll stick with "overpriced" commercial shuttles that I KNOW have the insurance to cover me.
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  19. #19
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    This is not exactly what Uber is designed for. Would it be right to hop into an Uber in NYC and expect him/her to drive you to ATL?
    Be Prepared

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hiker View Post
    So if your Uber driver goes off the road, his/her insurance company finds out he/she was using the "privately owned vehicle" for a "commercial service", you think your medical bills are going to be paid? Even if the accident wasn't their fault?


    You think your Uber driver is going to have the financial resources to pay your lawsuit?


    I'll stick with "overpriced" commercial shuttles that I KNOW have the insurance to cover me.

    Good luck with that!

    Yes, of course all your medical bills and more will be covered under Uber's blanket insurance policy. Part of every fare goes to insurance so that it doesn't matter if the driver is personally underinsured.

    Actually Uber has very strict policy regulating it's drivers. All passengers are insured up to one million dollars. It doesn't even matter if the driver is personally underinsured or let his insurance lapse. In order for him/her to drive he must be in good standing with Uber's insurance or he won't be allowed to sign in and take a fare.

    All this can be easily found online. A big company like Uber couldn't take on the liability of being underinsured. They'd be sued into oblivion.

    Something tells, me that the average joe shuttle driver's insurance isn't half as good as Uber's, let alone verifiable.

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