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When you should Call Uber or Lyft Instead of an Ambulance

Posted by: felicia May 23, 2019
Updated May 24, 2019



It can sometimes be a gut reaction to call an ambulance when you or a friend is hurt and you can’t drive to the hospital yourself. The safety that an ambulance provides can offer immediate relief, or at least comfort in knowing that you will be taken care of properly.

But, an ambulance can cost close to a thousand dollars, even if you have insurance, for just a 15-minute drive. If you’re not in critical condition, there may be a better option for you. Calling an Uber or Lyft ride instead can be a great alternative, and will likely cost closer to $20 for a 15-minute drive. 

If you think about it, the time it takes for an Uber or Lyft to arrive in a city is probably a lot less than calling an ambulance anyways, so it could actually get you to the hospital faster!

A study was conducted by the University of Kansas that showed that in cities where Uber was available, there was a 7 percent decline in ambulance calls. This is a good thing, because they are freed up for people who need immediate medical assistance or treatment, and since there is a lower demand, ambulances can get to patients in greater need quicker. 

Another benefit to taking an Uber or Lyft instead of a hospital is that often times when calling an ambulance, they will transport you to the nearest hospital without giving you a choice as to which you would prefer. When requesting your own car, you could put in the destination to whatever hospital you would like. 

Both Uber and Lyft have stated that they should not be used as an alternative to calling 911 (likely for liability reasons). They do not want to encourage everyone to do that because of course, there are cases where a person should absolutely be calling for an ambulance and not a rideshare. Some of those cases may include a person who is having trouble breathing, pregnancy-related complications, signs of stroke, an asthma attack, and anything that results in severe pain. This might be obvious, but if you are experiencing discomfort that results in your bodily fluids not being under control, you should NOT be taking an Uber! In this case, it’s best to call an ambulance, because it’s not fair to the driver, and you’ll be charged a damage fee in the hundreds of dollars.


Some rideshare drivers may also choose to cancel the ride once they arrive and see you are in critical condition and should be calling an ambulance instead. No one wants to be responsible for your health, so if you think you look like you’re dying, take care of yourself and call 911.  



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