If you’re planning a trip to Los Angeles, you might be wondering if Uber is a good option for getting around the city or is it too expensive?
Uber is available in Los Angeles and it can be an okay option for getting around the city but because of the size of the city (and the surrounding area), gas prices, and the demand for ride share services, Uber can be quite expensive in Los Angeles. Depending on your itinerary, there might be much better options for transportation in Los Angeles.
Why Is Uber Expensive In Los Angeles?
If you have heard anything about Los Angeles, you have probably heard about the horrific LA traffic. This combined with the increasing popularity of ride shares in the city and low driver wages, has caused an increased demand for ride shares but a low supply of ride share drivers.
That is one of the main reasons why Uber is so expensive in Los Angeles, as well as the fact that the greater Los Angeles area is very spread out so it takes a lot of time and money to get from one point to the next.
How Much Does An Uber Cost In Los Angeles?
For an example of the cost of Uber in Los Angeles, LAX to Hollywood is only about 14 miles but Uber estimates a fare between $29 and $124.
Even Hollywood to Downtown LA is only about 7 miles but an Uber is not likely to cost below $16.
On top of regular fare costs, it is customary to tip your Uber drivers when they do a good job especially because their wages are so low.
Is There Lyft In Los Angeles?
Yes, Lyft is available in the greater Los Angeles area and some prefer to use their service over Uber but typically fares should be pretty similar.
You can always have both apps on your phone and check in the moment to see which is offering a better price.
Is It Better To Rent A Car In Los Angeles?
Since Uber is so expensive in Los Angeles, you might be wondering if renting a car is a better option in Southern California?
The answer to that question entirely depends on your itinerary.
If you plan to drive to different parts of Southern California everyday, a car might be worth it but remember to add in the cost of parking and gas (which are both very expensive), and consider the amount of time you might spend in traffic.
But if you plan to stay in Hollywood and stick around this area with just a few day trips, the cost of a rental car, parking, and gas will likely not be worth it.
Tour Alternatives In Los Angeles
If you really want to venture out but want to avoid an expensive Uber or driving yourself in Los Angeles, a tour might be the best option to get you places efficiently and reasonably.
That way you won’t have to worry about parking, gas, or directions in Los Angeles, and you can typically visit multiple sites for one price, making it less expensive than an Uber.
➡️ The Best Of LA
A Day In LA Tours offers one of the most popular tours for a full day in LA, with sights like the Santa Monica Pier, Beverly Hills, Griffith Park (Hollywood Sign), the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and more.
➡️ For a Tour of the Best Sights in LA, we recommend booking your tour here with A Day In LA Tours.
➡️ Hollywood From Santa Monica
If you’re staying in the Santa Monica area but want to see the typical Hollywood sights (the Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills, Hollywood Sign, etc.), Surf City Tours offers a 5 and a half hour tour in a convertible bus.
➡️ For a Tour of Hollywood from Santa Monica, we recommend booking your tour here with Surf City Tours.
➡️ Famous Hollywood Tour
If you are staying close to The Hollywood Walk of Fame, you can easily join the OpenBusTour that will take you around Hollywood and Beverly Hills to see famous sights and homes from movies and celebrities.
➡️ For a Tour of Hollywood from Santa Monica, we recommend booking your tour here with OpenBusTours.
➡️ More LA Tours
Los Angeles really has an endless amount of tours available so you’ll be sure to find something that fits with your schedule. You may also be able to get some cheap rides or public transportation to some of the close Los Angeles beaches, where you can try out surfing or just spend the day at the beach.
➡️ For more Tours in Los Angeles check here.
➡️ Staying In Orange County Instead Of Los Angeles
If you plan to spend a lot of time at Orange County Beaches or theme parks like Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm, staying in Orange County will make things a lot easier. You can even use the John Wayne Airport instead of LAX and there are still plenty of tours that go up to Hollywood and Los Angeles.
The private Surf City Adventure Tour leaves out of Orange County and spends 8 to 9 hours taking you to sights like The Hollywood Walk of Fame, TCL Chinese Theatre, The Hollywood Sign, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, and more.
➡️ For the Private Hollywood Tour from Orange County, we recommend booking your tour here with Surf City Adventure Tours.
The 8 to 9 hour small group tour with Anaheim Tour Company takes you to all those popular sights listed above plus Muscle Beach, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica Beach.
➡️ For the Small Group Tour of Hollywood, Los Angeles and the Beaches, we recommend booking your tour here with Anaheim Tour Company.
If you are staying inland in Anaheim (most likely for Disneyland) but you don’t have a car or don’t want to spend so much on Uber, Anaheim Tour Company also offers a tour to the three most popular Orange County beaches plus a 2.5 hour whale watching cruise.
➡️ For an Orange County Beach and Whale Watching Tour, we recommend booking your tour here with Anaheim Tour Company.
Is It Cheaper To Uber Or Taxi In Los Angeles?
As with most other places around the world, Uber or other ride shares tend to be cheaper and nicer than Taxi’s in Los Angeles. One instance where you might consider looking into a taxi instead is if ride shares are super busy and they go on surge prices.
Is There Public Transportation In Los Angeles?
Yes there is public transportation available in Los Angeles and it might be a good option if you want the cheapest form of transportation and are going on a very direct route (Hollywood to Santa Monica for example).
But the downsides of public transportation in Los Angeles are the somewhat limited routes (compared to other cities) and the fact that travel time doubles compared to driving in a car.
What Transport Should I Use To And From LAX?
➡️ The first thing you should check into is whether or not your hotel offers a free or paid shuttle from LAX. That would definitely be the easiest option.
➡️ Ride shares like Uber and Lyft are available to use from LAX but you have to go to the specific taxi/ride share pickup section to get one. Using the Uber Reserve might be a great option.
➡️ Taxi’s are also available from LAX and if ride share prices surge, it might be a good idea to check their rates.
➡️ Public Transportation is also available from LAX and there is a service that takes you from LAX to Union Station.
Safety Tips For Uber In Los Angeles
If you do decide to use Uber or other ride share services while in Los Angeles, below are some safety tips and precautions you should use in this city and wherever you go in the world.
1. Confirm The Drivers License Plate And Name
Typically Uber is an easy and safe option in Los Angeles and in cities around the United States but there are certainly situations where crimes have taken place while using ride share services.
One of those problems actually comes from fake ride share drivers and although their names and license plates are listed in the app, when you’re in a rush or flustered, it is easy to forget to confirm the drivers name or license plate.
Even if it takes you additional time to double check, do your best not to forget to confirm all of the drivers information before getting into the car.
Cars in California are legally required to have both a front and back license plate so you can easily check the license plate as the Uber car pulls up.
When confirming the driver’s name or who they are supposed to be picking up, make them give you the answer not the other way around. For example, ask them “what is your name?”, do not ask them “is your name John (or whatever their name should be)?”.
2. Share The Trip With Someone Through The App
Sharing your trip through the app with someone you know is a great idea especially when you are traveling alone. That way if there are ever any issues, you have someone keeping track of your ride so they know where you and your Uber go.
For details on how to share your trip, you can check the Uber site here.
3. Follow Along On Your App
This typically isn’t an issue with drivers in Los Angeles, but it is always a good idea to follow along in your app to make sure you aren’t being taken the “long way” and to just be sure drivers are going where they are supposed to.
There is loads of traffic in Los Angeles so drivers may try to find a better way to your destination but just keep an eye on where they go.
4. Buckle Up In Los Angeles
With so many people traveling by car in Los Angeles, it makes sense that they have some of the highest car accident rates in the country. This problem is especially troublesome during rush hour when the roads are completely packed.
There are also lots of international drivers in Los Angeles which adds to the hectic traffic conditions.
So with all of that, you should definitely remember to wear your seatbelts while in transit in Los Angeles, especially on the freeways.
5. Be Aware During Your Ride
Being drunk or incapacitated during your ride share is never a good idea especially if you are traveling as a solo female traveler. Besides drivers not appreciating messy or obnoxious passengers, that is putting yourself in an extremely vulnerable situation and it is not worth risking it.
If you aren’t alert and aware of your surroundings, wait until you are before getting in an Uber or ride with others that you trust and that have their wits about them.
6. Stay Awake During Your Ride
Staying awake during your Uber ride is the same situation as above; stay aware and alert so you don’t put yourself in vulnerable situations. In other states, incidences have occurred when passengers fall asleep (specifically female passengers) so keep an eye on things and ride with others.
7. Go With Highly Rated Drivers
To give yourself the best chances at avoiding any issues with drivers, only choose to ride with highly rated drivers. You could be charged a cancellation fee, but it is much better to cancel a ride with a driver that has few rides or low ratings than risk a poor experience.
8. Double Check That The Driver Ended The Ride
Although it’s typically not a problem in Los Angeles, sometimes after you exit your Uber car, drivers have been known to keep the ride going so that it continues to charge you and Ubers in this city are already expensive enough.
We’ve had this happen a couple of times in other countries and it is pretty annoying to try and get ahold of someone to take care of it. Just keep and eye on the app after you leave your Uber to make sure the ride has been ended by the driver.
9. Don’t Wait For The Uber Alone
Los Angeles is a large and crowded city so it is important to be cautious like you would anywhere in the world, especially at night or when you’re alone.
After you order your Uber and while you wait for it to arrive, be sure to wait in a well lit and populated area so you’re not on some isolated dark corner, making yourself an easy target.
Where Are Ubers Available In Southern California?
Uber operates in all three of the main counties in Southern California: Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego. However as we mentioned earlier, the demand for drivers in this area is higher than the supply of drivers.
You can find more info about where Uber is available on their site.
Wrap Up: Is Uber Expensive In Los Angeles
Since Uber is quite expensive in Los Angeles, renting a car or taking a tour might be a much better option during your visit to Southern California depending on your itinerary. Whichever option you choose, be cautious, stay safe, and have a wonderful time in Los Angeles!