What is Uber and how does it work? (2022)

What is Uber and how does it work? (1) Why you can trust Pocket-lint

(Pocket-lint) - Uber is a ride-hailing company that offers the Uber mobile app, which you can use to submit a trip request that is automatically sent to an Uber driver near to you, alerting the driver to your location. The accepting Uber driver will then come and pick you up and drive you to your requested destination.

The Uber app automatically figures out the navigational route for the driver, calculates the distance and fare, and transfers the payment to the driver from your selected payment method, without you having to say a word or grab your wallet.

Here's everything you need to know about Uber, including how it works, how to sign up and how to use it.

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Where is Uber available?

Uber is available in over 10,000 cities worldwide. You can see if it's available in your city using this Uber webpage.

How do you become an Uber rider?

Requirements

There are two ways to sign up to become an Uber rider: through the Uber app (iOS or Android), or through the Uber website. When you sign up, you'll need to provide your full name, a mobile number, an email address and preferred language.

You'll also need to grant access to your location andprovide a payment option, whether that's a credit card, debit card, or a PayPal account. Uber also accepts Apple Pay and Google Pay if you have it set up. Your email address and mobile number will need to be verified before you can start using Uber.

(Video) How To Use Uber

Rider app

Uber's app can be downloaded from Apple's App Store or Google's Play Store. The app enables you to submit a trip request. It automatically finds your location and logs GPS data.

It then matches you with the closest Uber driver available. When a driver accepts your trip, you'll see their name, license plate, photo, rating, and a temporary substitute telephone number. You'll be able to follow your Uber driver on the built-in map until they arrive with you and when on a trip, you can follow your trip in real-time and share your ETA with friends.

How does Uber work for riders?

First, download the Uber mobile app and sign up to be a rider. Once you've signed up for Uber, everything takes place through the app. No cash is exchanged between you and the Uber driver, so you never need to worry if you have enough cash to get you where you need to be.

Instead, the payment method you set up when you sign up to Uber will be used to automatically pay your Uber driver when a trip is completed, whether this is a credit card, debit card, Paypal, Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Submit a trip request

  1. Open Uber on your mobile device.
  2. Type in where you are going in the "Where to?" box
  3. Select a ride mode by tapping one of the following options that should appear with a fare estimate alongside them: UberX, Comfort, Exec, UberXL, UberBLACK, UberTAXI, UberSUV, UberLUX, UberPOOL, or Assist. You may see some or all of these options, depending on your location, time, and sheer availability. You will also see how many people each can take.
  4. Select which method of payment you want to use. The payment method is below the ride modes and your default option will be automatically selected but you can change it if you tap on it.
  5. Tap the "Confirm UberX (or whichever ride mode you've selected)" button at the bottom.
  6. You'll then be asked to confirm your pickup spot. Be sure to check properly to make sure your phone's location has got it right. Press "Confirm Pickup".Uber may take a few seconds or a few minutes to find a driver nearby.
  7. Once Uber's found a match, it will bring you to a screen where you can watch your driver navigate toward you on a map and see his or her's ETA. From this screen, you can also see the driver's name, license plate, photo, rating, and a temporary substitute number for contact.

Cancel your trip

Sometimes you may wish to cancel a ride. The Uber app will allow you to do this two to five minutes after you submit a request, but a cancellation fee may be charged depending on the city.

Follow your trip

  1. When the driver has arrived and noted in his own app that you've entered the vehicle, you will see a new Map screen. You can use this to follow your trip. You can also hit tap Send Status on the Map screen to share your ETA in real-time, so your contacts know you're safe.
  2. When you've arrived at your destination, the driver will note in his app that the trip is complete, and then your app will automatically process the payment with the payment option stored in your account.
  3. You'll be able to see past trips by tapping on the three lines in the top right of the Uber app, followed by Your Trips.
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Rate your driver

At the end of your trip, the Uber app will ask you to rate your driver from one to five stars (five being the highest). This rating will affect the driver's current overall rating that all riders see, thus enabling you to either recommend or warn against the driver.

You'll also be able to add a tip for your driver and pay them a compliment by tapping one of the pre-set options, such as Excellent Service.

What do the different Uber cars mean?

Uber offers various ride options, including the ability to request a luxury car, split fare with another rider, or travel in a specific assistance vehicle. Here are definitions for the most commonly available ride options.

  • UberX:An everyday car for up to three riders
  • Comfort: New spacious cars with top-rated drivers for up to three riders
  • Exec: Premium rides in high-end cars for up to three riders
  • UberXL:An everyday car for up to five riders
  • UberBLACK:A high-end sedan for up to three riders
  • UberTAXI:A partner taxi cab for up to three riders
  • Intercity: Taking riders from city to city
  • UberSUV:An SUV for up to five riders
  • UberLUX:A high-end luxury car for up to three riders
  • UberPOOL:Share your ride with other riders and be automatically charged a guaranteed split fare
  • Assist:An UberX option that is designed to provide additional assistance to seniors and people with disabilities

What other features does Uber offer to riders?

Aside from allowing riders to request a trip, there are several other features offered within the Uber app.

Since May 2019, the Uber app offers London public transport information, for example, allowing riders to see if there is an alternative way home. This is especially useful if there is a surge - a price increase due to increased demand -in the area you are in.

It's also possible to add work and home addresses to your Uber account, as well as other saved places, such as the hotel you're staying at when on holiday for example. This allows you to select the "Where to?" destination more easily.

You can add "Trusted Contacts" to your Uber account too. Once someone is set up as a Trusted Contact, you can share your trip status with a single tap. It's also possible to add a family member to your account, allowing them to share your default payment method so you can pay for your loved ones to use Uber, as well as get trip notifications when they use it.

Split Fare is a feature within the Uber app too, allowing you to split the fare with whoever you're travelling with. A contact will have to accept to Split Fare with you before this will happen though and you will be charged a small fee.

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The Verify your Trip feature meanwhile, enables you to use a PIN to make sure you get in the right car. You will receive a new unique PIN for each trip and you will need to share it with your driver when they pick you up for your trip to start.

There are other features we've not gone into detail on, including Quiet Mode for UberBlack and UberSUV drivers in the US, as well as Uber Jump e-bikes. You can read about Uber Jump e-bikes in our separate story, which details where they are available and how much they cost to use.

There's also Uber Eats for ordering food delivery, but we'll talk more about that further down the page.

How do you become an Uber driver?

Requirements

If you're interested in being a driver rather than a rider, go to this Uber webpage to sign up to be a driver (it's free). You must be 21 years old, have at least one year of driving experience, a valid driver's license with proof of vehicle registration and insurance, and access to an eligible 4- or 6-door vehicle. After signing up, your driving record and criminal history will be reviewed by Uber.

Driver app

Uber gives its drivers access to a specific app. That app helps you decide how, where, and when to earn. When you want to drive, open the app and tap Go Online.

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You can follow your earnings, decide when you want to get paid (end of a car trip, etc), track profitable hotspots, minimise downtime, get access to turn-by-turn navigation directions, and leverage the rating system to help riders decide you're the best driver for them.

Independent contractor/worker

When Uber first launched, all Uber drivers were considered independant contractors, which meant taxation, work hours, pay, overtime benefits, and so forth are treated differently by various political jurisdictions globally.

The UK Supreme Court ruled Uber drivers as workers and not independent contractors in February 2021 however, which could mean minimum wage, holiday pay and possibly other benefits for some, at least in the UK.

Uber drivers get paid weekly and drive wherever they want at any time of day. They don't have to report to an office or a direct boss, but they do have to drive their own personal car, or at least lease/rent one from an Uber partner.

Insurance

All UberBLACK, UberSUV, and UberTAXI rides are provided by commercially licensed and insured partners and drivers. Those transportation providers are covered by commercial insurance policies in accordance with local and state requirements.

Uber also said it offers US drivers third-party liability policies that work with their existing, personal insurance coverage. You can learn more about that from this Uber webpage.

Are there alternatives to Uber?

There are several ride-hailing services available in app stores, but the most popular one aside from Uber is probably Lyft. All these apps function nearly identically, though each one may offer a few unique features.

We have a separate feature on Uber alternatives for those in London, which you can read here.

What is UberEATS?

Uber partnered with restaurants in select cities to offer a food-delivery service, in which you can order anything from a roster of local food joints, as well as McDonald's, and get it delivered to you within 35 minutes.

This paid service is called UberEATS, and it has its own Android and iOS mobile app.UberEATS, which also hires drivers, is available in over 500 cities worldwide.

Writing by Maggie Tillman and Britta O'Boyle. Editing by Luke Baker.

FAQs

Is Uber cheaper than a taxi? ›

Uber is usually a little bit cheaper than taking a traditional taxi. In most cases, Uber fares can be up to 40% cheaper than traditional taxi fares. In some cases, though, Uber fares can be almost double what they are for taxis, when you factor in extra costs. This is especially true when “surge pricing” is in effect.

How do you pay on Uber? ›

Before requesting a ride, use your app to add a payment method of your choice to your account.
...
To set up a payment account:
  1. Tap the menu icon and select PAYMENT.
  2. Tap ADD PAYMENT.
  3. Add a payment method by selecting the cash option, scanning a card, manually entering card info, or adding your payTM wallet.
24 Jan 2017

Do you tip an Uber driver? ›

Tipping is optional. You are free to add a tip, and drivers are free to accept tips. How do I leave my driver a tip? The easiest way to tip your driver is through the app.

How much do you tip Uber drivers? ›

For U.S. rides, she recommends tipping between 15 and 20 percent for exceptional service, 10 to 15 for good service, and 10 percent for average service. “Many Uber trips can be more expensive than a standard cab.

Does Uber charge per person? ›

3. Does Uber Charge per Person? When calculating the final cost of the trip, Uber does not consider the number of passengers in the vehicle, nor does it charge the price per person.

Do I sit in front or back of Uber? ›

Whenever possible, sit in the back seat, especially if you're riding alone. This helps ensure that you can safely exit on either side of the vehicle to avoid moving traffic, and it gives you and your driver some personal space.

How do I set up Uber for the first time? ›

Here's the simple step-by-step on how to use Uber for the first time:
  1. Open and log into the Uber app on your device.
  2. Type your destination into the “Where to?” section.
  3. Select the type of vehicle you would like at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Tap “request” and then confirm the pickup location.

Can you pay cash for Uber? ›

Can I pay for Uber with cash? Yes, you can pay with cash. Before requesting a ride, go to the Payment section in the app and select Cash. At the end of your trip, pay cash directly to your driver.

What happens if you don't tip Uber? ›

What Happens If You Don't Tip Your Uber Driver? Nothing happens if you don't tip your Uber driver. The driver earns less money than they would have if you had tipped. However, leaving a tip can also be a sign of encouragement for them to continue with their rides and providing good service.

How do I schedule an Uber ride? ›

How it works
  1. Schedule a ride. Open the Uber app, then tap Schedule or the button that says Now located just to the right of the "Where to?" bar.
  2. Provide pickup info. Set your pickup date, time, location, destination, and ride type, and get a price estimate.
  3. Get set to ride.

Should I schedule Uber in advance? ›

The only reason why you should use the scheduled pickup feature is that planning an Uber ride head can save you time. Imagine you have to be at the airport to take your flight for Detroit after a long working day. Scheduling your ride in advance the day before, you will not have to worry about it the day of the flight.

Is first trip with Uber free? ›

If you haven't already used Uber, and are a first-time rider, your first ride with Uber can be free (up to a certain amount, depending on where you are located). All you need to do is enter a promo code (which you can find at uber.com), or have a friend refer you to Uber. Download the Uber app and create an account.

Can you schedule an Uber in advance? ›

If you're expecting an event you just can't miss, the app lets you schedule a ride up to 30 days in advance, so you don't leave anything to chance. When you schedule at least 60 minutes in advance, your price for the trip will be locked in.

Why do people use Uber instead of taxis? ›

While wait times vary, Uber customers typically spend far less time waiting than customers of traditional taxi services. Riders also have the option to share rides with others heading in the same direction through UberPool, the app's ride-sharing feature.

Is Uber calculated by distance or time? ›

The base rate is determined by the time and distance of a trip.

Are Ubers safe? ›

Although Uber is generally safe, there are still some common-sense safety precautions to know. Females should always ride in the back of the Uber, and having some personal protection devices available can be a good safety measure. Be sure to verify details of the vehicle, driver, and the trip before entering the Uber.

Why did I get charged 9.99 from Uber? ›

Uber One is a new membership that provides Rides as well as Eats discounts for $9.99 per month or $99.99 annually. You can cancel your membership within the app up to 48 hours prior to the next scheduled payment without being charged.

Can I ask for a female Uber driver? ›

Can You Request a Female Uber Driver? No, you cannot request a driver based on gender, neither male nor female. Though female passengers may be more comfortable with a female driver, especially at night and in a deserted or unfamiliar area, it can be discriminatory to ask for a female driver only.

Does Uber fit luggage? ›

Uber, very similarly to Lyft luggage rules, allows each of their passengers to travel with luggage. The transport of this luggage must be done free of charge by your Uber driver: Traveling with luggage is quite normal, so there is no question that you pay anything extra!

How do I book an Uber by myself? ›

How do I request a ride? When you're ready to go, open the app and enter your destination. Then choose the ride option that best suits your needs. Confirm your pickup by tapping Confirm Pickup.

Do you need a credit card to Uber? ›

When you go to request a ride in the Uber app, you can switch between cash or credit card payments – in fact, you don't even need to have a credit card connected to use the service if you're using cash payments.

Can you use Uber without Internet? ›

In any case, Uber use does not require internet, only cell phone service. Why isn't Uber doing city to city rides? Can I request a free ride from an Uber if it arrives too late?

Which is better Uber or Lyft? ›

Lyft is a great choice in times of high demand or when there is a driver nearby and you need a low cost ride fast. If you need a ride that looks good, Uber has a better selection of vehicles. If Uber is your choice, then you will pay less with UberPOOL.

Why is Uber not accepting my card? ›

Update or add a new payment method in the Payment section of the app menu if your payment method was declined for one of the reasons below: Card number entered is incorrect. Credit or debit card has expired. Insufficient funds in the account.

How do I contact Uber customer service? ›

Call Uber on the phone

Uber has a 24/7 local support line for general customer service: 800-593-7069.

Is it rude not to tip Uber driver? ›

Drivers don't expect passengers to tip every single time, but certain situations definitely call for it. If your driver goes above and beyond by helping you with your bags, taking you to a faraway destination, or providing you with a memorable experience, you should pay a little extra.

Can Uber drivers see tip before delivery? ›

Yes, delivery drivers and rideshare drivers have their own versions of the app on their phones and they'll see your tip amount for every Uber Eats order. If customers tip after delivery, the driver will receive a push notification when the tip after delivery is added, and their income breakdown will be updated.

Are there Ubers at 4am? ›

With an Uber account, you can request a ride in any city where Uber operates, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What is a reservation fee on Uber? ›

Booking Fees help support regulatory, safety, and operational costs. This fee scales with the distance of the trip and is variable because operational costs scale with the distance of the trip. Note: Not all states have a booking fee. You'll still see the price (or fare estimate) before you request a ride.

Why can't I schedule an Uber in advance 2022? ›

You can schedule a ride in nearly all cities where Uber is available. If the area you're attempting to schedule a pickup from isn't available, the schedule button may not appear, or you may receive an error message telling you scheduling isn't available in that area.

What is the cheapest Uber? ›

What Is UberX? UberX is available in each city under Uber's network and is the most affordable for everyday riders.

Why is LYFT cheaper than Uber? ›

Why is Lyft cheaper than Uber? Lyft has claimed to be the cheapest for Uber ride-sharing as it charges you less than what Uber charges per hour and on the contrary, Uber pays less to the drivers for about $2 per hour. This is why people prefer Lyft to ride and drive.

What is the difference between Uber taxi and Uber black? ›

If UberX is the app-based equivalent of a cab, then Uber Black is the company's answer to a professional driver. If you book this service, you can expect all the comforts of having your own driver, as well as a more luxurious car. Of course, Uber Black adds an additional premium to your fare, too.

Why do people use Uber instead of taxis? ›

While wait times vary, Uber customers typically spend far less time waiting than customers of traditional taxi services. Riders also have the option to share rides with others heading in the same direction through UberPool, the app's ride-sharing feature.

Does Uber charge by mile or time? ›

Instead, you're charged either a minimum price or a price based on the time and distance for your trip's route, which may include a base fare, a Booking Fee, surcharges, tolls, and dynamic pricing. Prices may vary by location, the vehicle option you select, and other factors.

Is Uber in Dubai cheap? ›

Uber/Careem

In Dubai, Uber and Careem typically cost more than a taxi . The advantage is that Uber offers a flat rate, so if there's traffic and you're going a long distance, it can also be cheaper. In general, Careem is less expensive than Uber for shorter distances and Uber is less expensive for longer distances.

Is taxi or Uber cheaper in Las Vegas? ›

The Uber vs Taxi is an ever ending battle. If you are traveling in Las Vegas, you should know that taxi rates are on average 20-30% higher than rideshare rates.

What are the disadvantages of using Uber? ›

One of the disadvantages of Uber is its variable rate. Uber increase price in different occasions. Uber uses automated system to increase prices based on supply and demand. For instance, if you take a ride on New Year's Eve or any other occasion, the fare is doubled or sometimes even tripled the normal rate.

How much do you tip your Uber? ›

You should tip Uber and Lyft drivers between 10 and 20 percent based on quality of service. You should use a set tip of $4-$6 for rideshare delivery. According to HyreCar, Uber and Lyft drivers make less than $15 an hour when driver costs are considered.

Can you pay Uber with cash? ›

Can I pay for Uber with cash? Yes, you can pay with cash. Before requesting a ride, go to the Payment section in the app and select Cash. At the end of your trip, pay cash directly to your driver.

Does Uber charge per person? ›

3. Does Uber Charge per Person? When calculating the final cost of the trip, Uber does not consider the number of passengers in the vehicle, nor does it charge the price per person.

How do you call Uber? ›

Call Uber on the phone

Uber has a 24/7 local support line for general customer service: 800-593-7069.

What is the best way to get around in Dubai? ›

The best way to get around Dubai is by taxi or by metro. Although prices are high across the board in Dubai, a taxi here or there won't break the bank. Plus, they provide the freedom to move at your own pace without the hassle of navigating traffic.

Is it safe to take Uber in Dubai? ›

Yes, Uber is safe in Dubai. It's also much cheaper than taxis. Uber has to be safe in Dubai – its government makes sure it is. The usual Uber benefits apply here: knowing the car that will turn up, reading driver's reviews, tracking your journey, not needing cash, not needing any language, etc.

Do you tip in Dubai? ›

Waitstaff: While most restaurants will note that taxes and service charge have already been included in the bill, it's still common for diners in Dubai to tip the service staff. A figure between 10% and 15% is customary, but this is dependent on the quality of service.

Do you tip Uber drivers in Las Vegas? ›

▶ Taxicab or rideshare service, such as Lyft and Uber drivers: 20%. Also consider tipping $20 to a limo driver who provides a complimentary ride to or from your hotel.

How much is an Uber from Las Vegas Airport to the Strip 2022? ›

On average, you can get to spend between $23 to $43 on Uber (plus a tip) for an Uber ride from the Harry Reid International Airport to the Las Vegas Strip. It is important to note that the cost of the ride depends on where you are going, the time of day, and the type of Uber ride you opt for.

How much is cab from airport to Vegas Strip? ›

Las Vegas airport taxis and private shuttle services offer a flat-rate fee of around $23 USD (€18.50) to get to the Las Vegas strip from McCarran International Airport.

Videos

1. How to use the Uber app | Uber
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2. Rent a Car - How It Works | Uber
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3. How To Use Uber App As A Passenger In 2022
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4. How Surge Pricing and the Uber Marketplace Work | What Moves Us | Uber
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5. Business Model of Uber | How Uber earns Money? | Dhruv Rathee
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