Rent a car or Uber/Lyft in LA?
If you are a first time visitor in Los Angeles, you must be asking yourself what is better: To rent a car or to use Uber or Lyft, while you stay in LA for two days to one week? The quick answer is to do both: Rent a car AND use Uber, while you are visiting the top tourist attractions in LA.
Let us explain.
The places you will want to see in Los Angeles as a first-time visitor are: the beach area (Santa Monica and Venice Beach), the Hollywood area (Walk of Fame, the 3 theaters), the Griffith Observatory, the Beverly Hills area and the Universal Studios. Let’s have a look on the map, where these places are located in LA.
As you can see on the map, the distances between the main touristic spots in Los Angeles are big. Considering the heavy traffic in the highways of Los Angeles, you may need 1 hour driving time to get from Santa Monica to Hollywood, although it is only 22 miles.
So, point 1 is that LA has big distances to cover, to see its main spots.
What is the Uber Cost in Los Angeles?
The Uber car pool is the cheapest option of using Uber in Los Angeles. And it costs around 1 USD per mile, while the normal taxi cost is around 3 USD per mile. If you add the waiting time cost, you should expect to pay 25 to 35 USD to get from Santa Monica to Hollywood. On the other hand, if you want to get from Hollywood to the Griffith Observatory or to the Universal Studios, an Uber would cost you around 6 to 7 USD.
So, point 2 is that Uber makes financial sense for the small distances: Hollywood to Beverly Hills, West Hollywood to Central Hollywood, Hollywood to Griffith Observatory or Venice Beach to Santa Monica.
Another point is that there are very few places where you can park for free your car in the whole LA. Usually, you will have to pay 2 USD per hour to leave your car on the main street, or 10 to 15 USD to park your car in a parking for more hours. E.g., the parking in Venice Beach for 4 hours costs 15 to 20 USD. If you want to park in the Universal Studios, the parking costs 25 USD.
What is the Cost of Renting a Car in Los Angeles?
If you look at the prices at www.rentalcars.com you will see that even in the middle of summer, the prices for renting a car are not that high. You can easily find a car that will cost you around 35 to 45 USD per day, including the collision damage waiver and the insurances you need to have so as not to pay 1 USD in case of an accident.
Another point is that driving in LA is not that difficult. There are big highways, the signs are clear, and most of the drivers are careful when driving, with a few exceptions.
Is Uber Fast to Arrive in Los Angeles?
According to our experience yes. Uber is very fast to arrive in LA, even its cheapest option, the Uber Car pool. As an example, we had to wait only 2 minutes for our pickup from East Hollywood to Central Hollywood.
Uber or Lyft in Los Angeles?
Both Uber and Lyft are available in Los Angeles and their prices are almost similar. Uber seems to have a better car availability and to be faster to arrive at the pickup point.
In conclusion, the suggested way is to rent a car which you are going to use for the big distances during the day and then use Uber for the small distances, so as to avoid the parking fees.