When you need a ride, are there any services that can give Uber and Lyft a run for their money? On-demand apps have taken over, but there are still many other car services that can give you a reliable ride and beat Uber in critical areas like reliability and customer service. GroundLink is one of them.
What is GroundLink?
GroundLink is a black-car vehicle service that uses a network of professional drivers to provide transportation to riders. Rides can be booked online, in the GroundLink app, or via telephone.
It’s a car service targeted toward business travelers and clientele willing to spend a little more to get nicer vehicles, professional drivers, scheduled rides, and 24/7 customer support. GroundLink is available in all US states and many countries worldwide.
Main GroundLink Features
- A car service available worldwide
- True scheduling: You are assigned a driver. The driver accepts your ride in advance
- Up-front price estimates: Enter your ride online or in the app to get an instant price estimate
- Book rides online, in the GroundLink app, or call their 24/7 customer service number
- 24/7 customer support through phone or online chat
- Up-front pricing: No surge pricing or other additional charges due to traffic
- Higher-end vehicles: 5 years old or newer
- Extra features for airport pickup: Provide flight details and driver can track your arrival
- Highly-insured drivers: Minimum $5 million liability insurance for each driver
- On-demand rides in NYC, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Boston
How Much Does GroundLink Cost?
GroundLink does not publish a detailed description of their pricing practices. Instead, they provide instant pricing estimates. Visit GroundLink.com to get a pricing estimate. Pricing is calculated either on pickup and dropoff locations, or by set prices between zones. Pricing structures varies from city to city and GroundLink does not publish exact fare rates, so it’s not easy to understand how GroundLink comes up with ride prices.
Generally, the price you pay is the price you get in the estimate, but you may be charged extra for wait time, tolls, and for unplanned stops.
Wait time charges: There are no charges for wait time if it is within a stated grace period. After the grace period, you are charged $1 per minute. The grace period is 30 minutes for airport and cruise terminal rides, 60 minutes for international airport rides, and 10 minutes for all other rides.
GroundLink vs Uber Price Comparison: A Sample Ride in Los Angeles
To illustrate GroundLink pricing, I looked at a price estimate on a ride from my home in Los Angeles to LAX and compared it to Uber.
|Price: 9 Mile Ride to LAX|
GroundLink is more expensive than Uber in this case, but it might be worth the extra cost if you’re looking for more booking options, guaranteed scheduling, and telephone customer service. One thing to consider is that unexpected surge pricing on Uber can significantly increase the cost, whereas GroundLink doesn’t charge anything additional during periods of high demand.
GroundLink Features That Stand Out
Higher standards for drivers, vehicles, and insurance: GroundLink contracts with drivers who are commercially licensed and insured to the full requirements of the state that the driver operates in. Rideshare drivers meet a much lower standard for insurance. GroundLink vehicles must be 5 years old or newer. That means that GroundLink rides come from professional companies that have put in the large up-front investment to be qualified to the fullest level.
24/7 customer support and many booking options: A distinguishing feature of GroundLink is that it has 24/7 telephone support. You may have heard about Uber’s notoriously poor customer service (you can’t call Uber!), and most users don’t know that Uber’s scheduling feature is actually just an automated ride request. When you schedule a GroundLink ride, you will get full information about your driver and their vehicle, and the driver enters your ride into their schedule.
Several booking options: You can book a ride online, via 24/7 customer service, or in the GroundLink app. You can manage your ride through all of those methods as well. Uber and other rideshare companies are primarily on-demand, and only managed through an app. GroundLink has a lot more options and flexibility if you need to book and manage multiple rides.
A higher level of contact with your driver: After you schedule a ride, you will receive contact information for your driver, and information about their vehicle. You will get a text message when your driver is on the way, and a text message when they arrive. The GroundLink app has a GPS tracking feature that shows your driver’s progress.
GroundLink offers a car seat option in all markets: Riders who require a child car seat will be disappointed to find that Uber only offers car seat services in a handful of US markets. The GroundLink booking page features a car seat option that will guarantee that you will be matched with a driver who can provide a car seat for your child.
More About Transit Options For Airports And High-End Rides
GroundLink has an Uber-style on demand service in some cities
GroundLink now offers Uber-like on-demand rides in NYC, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Boston. In those cities, you can use the GroundLink app to request a non-scheduled ride and the nearest available GroundLink driver will pick you up.
GroundLink vs. Uber: What’s the Difference?
How does GroundLink stack up to the competition? Uber is the dominant option, so I compared GroundLink features to Uber features and came up with the main differences between the two.
|Scheduling||Fully featured. Driver books your ride, you can contact driver before ride||Scheduled rides are only an automated request for an on-demand ride|
|Customer Service||24/7 phone support & online chat||No phone support. Must message Uber in app|
|Price||More expensive||Less expensive|
|Cars & Drivers||Commercially insured drivers, max vehicle age of 5 years||UberX: Older cars, drivers not commercially insured. UberBlack and up: Commercially insured drivers and newer vehicles|
|Car Seats||Available upon request in all cities||Available in NYC, DC, Philadelphia, Orlando|
Uber is Cheap And on Demand, But Customer Service is Lacking
Cost is king, and Uber is commonly cheaper than GroundLink, except in situations where Uber surge pricing kicks in. Uber’s non commercial services are far cheaper than GroundLink (see Uber pricing here), but they don’t promise newer cars and professional drivers. UberBlack and UberSUV do offer commercially-licensed drivers with newer cars and their pricing is still typically cheaper than GroundLink. If you’re price sensitive, Uber may be the winner.
If you value predictable pricing and the ability to schedule your ride far in advance, GroundLink offers value in those areas.
GroundLink is Suited For Business Travelers And Those Who Prefer More Customer Service
GroundLink is superior to Uber for business travelers and travelers who don’t want to risk Uber when they need a ride the most. The ability to schedule a ride well in advance of a trip and contact the driver is something that a lot of people need, and it’s a feature that is missing from the Uber app.
My Experience With GroundLink
I tried GroundLink on a visit to London. For most of my trip, Uber and public transit got me where I needed to go, but at the end of my trip I had to catch a 6am flight out of Gatwick airport. I needed a ride at 3am on a weekday, and I didn’t want to leave it to chance. On long-distance early morning trips with Uber, there’s a chance that a driver could show up to your location, find out your destination, and reject your fare.
Booking the GroundLink was easy: Just input trip details and select a level. I chose the economy level. Following the booking, I was able to contact the car service that accepted my booking to ask questions. It was nice change of pace from Uber to get reassurance that my ride was booked and a driver was prepared to do the trip.
On the morning of the trip, I got a text when the driver began heading toward my location and a text when they arrived. The BMW sedan was clean, fairly new, and the ride went smoothly. I paid around $20 more than I would expect from an Uber, but the reassurance was worth the extra money.
What I liked about GroundLink: Booking my trip ahead of time and receiving contact info for the car company, professional driver with a very nice car, lots of contact with your driver ahead of time.
What I didn’t like about GroundLink: It was a bit more expensive than services I normally use.
Head to GroundLink.com to get a price estimate on a ride.