The entertainment options are exploding all around the Tulsa area, and so are the options to get you there and back if you don't want to drive.
Just before one of Tulsa’s biggest events, the Center of the Universe Festival, we decided to put two of the most popular options – Uber and taxis – to the test; the goal is to find the quickest and fastest option.
News On 6 reporters Allison Harris and Melissa Hawkes went head to head in a friendly competition, traveling across Tulsa in taxis and Ubers to some of Tulsa’s most popular spots.
They started at Guthrie Green with a Broken Arrow destination in mind. Allison didn’t have any problems ordering her Uber, but the same couldn’t be said for Melissa and her taxi.
"Okay, right now I was just told I was caller number three, waiting to speak with a representative," she said. "About 10 minutes or so, okay?”
Just as Melissa got a timeframe, Allison’s Uber showed up. She opened the door and left Melissa waiting another ten minutes for her cab.
Once they both arrived in Broken Arrow, Melissa 20 minutes later than Allison, they found out that each of their drivers took the same route, but the time and price didn’t reflect it – Allison’s ride cost $25 compared to $32 for Melissa.
But there were still three more rounds and plenty of time for Melissa to make up ground.
Their next trip took them from Broken Arrow’s Main Street to Jenks’ Riverwalk; and once again, despite going the same route, the taxi showed up 23 minutes later with a more expensive fee - $28 compared to Uber’s $20 ride.
Allison: "So you've lost two times now."
Melissa: "My next spot I'm going to beat you."
Allison: "Okay, maybe, we'll see. Okay, we're going to Brookside, Ida Red, let's do it."
But round three had a similar ending, with Melissa and her taxi taking longer and costing more.
Tired of getting beat, Melissa decided to pull a fast one over Allison.
Allison: "That's me. Where's he pulling up? Right here."
Melissa: "Alright, I'll see you later! I'll see you later! Hi, I'm Allison. I'm going to Cain's."
Allison: "Is she really doing this right now? This is not fair. That Melissa Hawkes, payback! I know where you sit in the newsroom."
Allison’s cab finally arrived to take her to her final destination, but Melissa’s dirty tactic prevailed as she and her stolen Uber pulled up to Cain’s first.
"Well, I was tired of losing so I stole her Uber and I don't even think she's left yet, so it really worked in my favor," she said.
Melissa’s driver went up Riverside Drive to downtown, which took 11 minutes, costing her $9. Allison and her taxi were 20 minutes behind and her driver took Peoria to downtown, which totaled a $10 ride.
We spoke to Tulsa’s Yellow Checker Cab Company which pointed out some big differences.
The company said, while their prices are fixed, Uber has regular price surges where, during peak times, Uber riders can pay dramatically higher rates.
Last year a Broken Arrow woman said she paid $250 for a 20-mile ride. In other parts of the country, Uber riders have said fares cost more than $500 for 18 minutes and one said they were charged $700 for a ten-minute ride.
In response to the surge pricing, Uber gave us a statement saying:
“During times of peak demand – when there may not be enough drivers on the system – fares may increase in real time to incentivize more drivers to come online. Once demand falls or supply increases sufficiently, prices quickly go back to normal. The fact that surge pricing may be in place is communicated repeatedly to a user – and requires confirmation – before the user can request the trip.”
Yellow Checker also gave us a statement saying:
“Yellow Checker of Tulsa has been serving the citizens of Tulsa since 1905, with its home office right here in Tulsa. We all here at Yellow Checker Cab proudly serve the Citizens of Tulsa 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with distinction and pride.
“All of our drivers are licensed and insured approved by the City of Tulsa and have passed background checks by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, assuring your safety that all of our drivers have passed the investigation. We pride ourselves in hiring the best drivers possible to serve you.
“Thank you to all our great patrons from Tulsa and we look forward to serving you in the future.”
One Uber driver said their drivers also have to be licensed, insured and pass local and national background checks.
Yellow Checker also has an app you can use to summon a cab.
As far as Uber, if you’ve never tried it but want to, it’s offering a special promo code for the Center of the Universe Festival, the code is COU Fest 15.
Uber said they will do everything they can to communicate pickup/drop-off zones to drivers and riders to make the process as smooth as possible during the festival.