With services like Uber and Lyft, it’s easier than ever to grab a ride at a moment’s notice. Need to get to the airport at 5 a.m.? No problem. Need a safe ride home after a night of partying? Just pull out your phone.
Catching a ride is more convenient than ever -- which is probably why ride-sharing revenue is expected to rise eightfold by 2030.
But what’s behind those numbers? What kinds of experiences are real people having around the world with Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing companies? As the ride-sharing economy grows, where are the best places (and the worst places) to hail a car?
We asked 775 American tourists about their worldwide experiences. Here’s what they said.
Going on an excursion? If you’re headed to Canada, you’re in luck. According to our survey, the Great White North is the best place in the world to grab an Uber.
Perhaps this is because Canada ranks as one of the friendliest countries in the world or because Canada has lower rates of crime than the U.S. overall. Either way, Canada topped our list for the best ride-sharing experiences -- which is based on the rates of canceled rides, driving quality, driver attitude, and overall experience.
The rest of our “best of” list was dominated by Europe, with Ireland, Germany, the U.K., and Greece rounding out the top five. In fact, Uber just had a big win in the U.K. -- gaining a 15-month permit to operate in London -- which means the excellent Uber experiences in the U.K. just got even more accessible.
Regarding the worst ride-sharing experiences, Brazil, Poland, China, Morocco, and India made up the bottom five. In Brazil, Uber experimented with accepting cash, which is alleged to have played a role in the deaths of more than a dozen drivers. Even female-only ride-sharing apps are on the rise in Brazil due to heightened safety concerns.
How would our well-traveled Americans rate their experiences on a scale of 1 to 5?
The answer for Canada is a shining 4.31-star average. South Korea, the U.K., and Ireland also scored higher than the United States, even though ride-sharing is still quite unpopular in South Korea.
There are lots of reasons riders might attribute high rankings to these locations. Driver friendliness, safety, timeliness, clean cars … perhaps even the special delight of finding unexpected perks like phone chargers and karaoke machines available for their rides.
The lowest rating on our list -- just 3.39 stars on average -- belonged to Morocco, with India close behind at 3.43.
Which countries have the friendliest drivers and those with the worst attitudes?
Survey says the best driver attitudes come from Ireland, Canada, and Greece. It makes sense, considering that in Toronto, Canada, drivers average around $22.80 per hour according to one informal survey, while in most U.S. cities, they net about half that much. With universal health care and the highest average life span of any developed country, Canada also ranks as one of the top 10 countries in the world to work in general, so maybe the daily temperament of working professionals is higher than average.
Ireland also has the safety and quality advantage of having all its Uber drivers licensed by the National Transport Authority. That additional regulatory step may be acting as a filter to get the best drivers into the system.
At the bottom of our list, India’s drivers were rated as having had the worst attitudes, followed by China, Poland, and France.
Most of us care about our drivers’ attitudes and friendliness, but even more than that, we care about getting safely from point A to point B. So how did our hundreds of American travelers feel about the driving quality of ride-sharing around the world?
Yet again, Canada ranked highest with 4.32 stars on average. Germany and Japan -- two countries with relatively low road fatality rates -- tied for second in our ranking, and, despite its high road fatality rate, the United States came in fourth.
Next, we asked our well-traveled survey respondents to tell us which countries had the most talkative Uber drivers.
Canadian Uber drivers were the most likely to have a conversation with their passengers -- perhaps leading to higher satisfaction and pushing the country up the rankings. Of course, part of this finding might just be due to the predominance of English spoken in both the U.S. and Canada, and it’s easier to chitchat in the native tongue.
At the bottom were China, South Korea, and Japan -- perhaps there aren’t that many fluent English speakers around. In fact, in China, less than 1 percent of people speak conversational English.
Finally, we asked our well-traveled Americans if they’d ever had Uber trips canceled and, if so, where. The top answers? Morocco and the United States. So if you’re in a rush to get to the airport, perhaps grabbing a taxi might be a safer bet.
On the other hand, the countries with the least cancellations included Ireland, Germany, and Italy.
When it comes to using a ride-sharing service, experiences vary greatly based on country.
If you’re in Ireland, Canada, Germany, Greece, or the U.K., you’re probably in good hands.
If you’re bouncing around Morocco, India, Brazil, China, or Poland, however, a bus, train, or taxi might be a better option. According to our savvy travelers, these are the countries where Uber drivers are most likely to cancel, have a poor attitude, or drive unsafely.
But don’t forget that drivers have their own wildly varying experiences, and they put up with a lot from passengers around the world. Safety, friendliness, and a good experience go both ways.
We collected responses from 775 American respondents who’ve been out of the country before and have taken an Uber during their stay. It is possible that with more participants, we could have gained further insight into this population. The average threshold at which a passenger had ridden in an Uber was limited to countries with 27 or more respondents.
The data we are presenting rely on self-reporting. No statistical testing was performed, so the claims listed above are based on means alone. As such, this content is exploratory.
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