Uber may be the most popular choice for cheap on-demand rides, but as of now there’s no reliable way to schedule an Uber and expect it to show up when you need it. Blacklane is spreading quickly as an alternative to Uber that allows you to schedule a higher-end ride in advance. Blacklane specializes in airport service, and all of its drivers are professional livery drivers who are licensed and insured to give professional rides.
At heart, Blacklane is a logistics app that connect passengers with established livery companies in a way that is more efficient than calling numbers from a phone book or Google ads. Passengers pay an up-front price, and drivers compete behind the scenes to get the fare.
But why choose Blacklane over Uber? After all, Uber does have higher-end services like UberBlack that could satisfy business travelers and people willing to pay more for a nicer ride. I’ll dive into more specific differences between the two services below, but I think the biggest appeal of Blacklane is that you can schedule your ride in advance and be certain that your driver is a professional in a nice car.
What is Blacklane? On-demand processional rides
Blacklane is targeted at business travelers and wealthier travelers who want the reliability of booking in advance and the assurance that the driver, the car, and the driving company will be professional and properly insured.
- Blacklane specializes in professional rides to and from airports, but it can go anywhere
- You can schedule your ride in advance online at Blacklane.com, or from the mobile app
- Drivers bid behind the scenes to get your fare
- The price of your ride includes 15 minutes of wait time at a regular pickup spot, and 1 hour of waiting time at airports
- You receive SMS and email updates when the driver is on the way and when the driver arrives
- Blacklane features three levels of service
- Business Class: A mid-size sedan or small SUV. Mercedes E-Class, Lincoln MKC
- Business Van/SUV: An SUV or full-size van to accommodate up to 5 passengers. Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes V Class
- First Class: A full-size luxury sedan. Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8
How to schedule a ride with Blacklane
- Go to Blacklane.com
- Enter your pickup and drop-off locations, the date, the time
- Select the level of service you want
- Enter any frequent flyer program information that might apply, or special instructions for the driver
- Create an account by entering basic personal information
- Enter your credit card details and check out
Blacklane vs. Uber: How does it compare
On the surface, both Uber and Blacklane seem to provide a pretty similar service. Both allow you to request rides from an app, and both give you access to professional livery drivers (if you select UberBlack or UberSUV). The biggest differences come down to the Blacklane scheduling feature, the drivers, and the pricing.
Blacklane offers real scheduling. Uber doesn’t (yet)
Blacklane offers a true scheduling feature where a driver knows in advance the date, time, and pickup location. Uber offers a feature that they call “schedule a ride,” but all it really does is send out an automated request at the time you schedule. So a driver may or may not get the request, and they may choose to reject or cancel it. With Blacklane, you’ll know who your driver is in advance.
Comparing pricing: A ride to LAX with Blacklane
A ride from my home in central Los Angeles to LAX would cost $55 – $81 with Blacklane. Blacklane doesn’t go into much detail on rates/mile or rates/minute, but it’s nice to quickly get one up-front price.
Here’s how the prices broke down for my ride:
- Business Class: $55.17
- Business Van/SUV: $77.69
- First Class: $81
A ride to LAX with Uber
An Uber from my home to LAX would range from $18.95 – $96.89. That’s a massive price difference! Uber offers 7 services in LA, ranging from a shared ride with a stranger (POOL), to a ride in a high-end luxury car like a Tesla (LUX).
- UberPOOL: $18.95
- UberX: $21.05
- UberXL: $34.72
- UberSelect: $51.16
- UberBLACK: $63.48
- UberSUV: $81.84
- UberLUX: $96.89
The most important prices to look at in this comparison are Select, Black, and SUV. Those are the main competitors to Blacklane, and it turns out that prices for those services are pretty on par with Blacklane. For those three services, prices range from $51 – $81, which is just about identical to Blacklane.
So if the two services are so similar in price, what should make you choose one over the other? Let’s look at what each service offers that the other doesn’t.
More about Uber, airports, and pricing
What does Blacklane have that Uber doesn’t?
- A true scheduling feature that informs a driver of the date, time, and location of your pickup well in advance of the date
- All drivers are commercially licensed and insured. Only UberBlack and SUV drivers are commercially insured
- All drivers undergo the more stringent background screening required of cab and livery drivers
- Waiting time built into the price. Ubers can cancel on you after five minutes
- No surge pricing. You won’t have to worry that the price of your ride will increase due to traffic
What does Uber have that Blacklane doesn’t?
- Cheaper options, and many options. Uber in major cities has up to 4 different choices
- Instant requests. You can’t always plan your trip ahead of time, so Uber can offer more flexibility
Blacklane is better for business travelers and people who need a scheduled ride to the airport
Blacklane is a better service for business travelers, people who are willing to spend more for a more professional experience, and regular travelers who don’t want to risk not getting an Uber when they need it most. The ability to schedule a ride well in advance of a trip and have it show up without issues is something that a lot of people need, and it’s a feature that is missing from the Uber app.
If you want to get a Blacklane ride estimate, head to Blacklane.com.