Uber has become synonymous with ridesharing for many people, despite competitors like Lyft, DiDi, and of course, taxi fleets. Here’s how to get started with Uber and take your first ride.
How to sign up for an Uber account
The first step is to download the official app, whether for Android or iPhone. You can technically use Uber over the web, but you’ll inevitably call trips away from home at some point, and your phone offers more accurate location information.
When you launch the app, you will be prompted to create an account. You need a valid email address and phone number, the latter will be confirmed by SMS. You must also select a preferred language as well as a payment method. For flexibility, we recommend using Google Pay or Apple Pay, but there are other options, which we explain later in this guide.
Once all the above steps are done, Uber will send an email asking you to confirm your account registration. If you stick to it, that’s all – you’re ready to ride.
How to use Uber
If you want to travel as fast as possible, calling a ride starts with tapping Where? and enter an address where you would like to be dropped off. You can optionally tap beforehand now Button to schedule a pickup up to 30 days in advance. Benefits include extra waiting time (from drivers) and the ability to cancel free of charge up to 60 minutes in advance.
On the screen where you enter your destination, you can also change your pickup point and add multiple stops. The latter is usually only useful when picking up other people.
Once you have set up a route, you will see an overview of your trip with the estimated travel time and costs. There are usually several different ride options (more on that soon) – UberX is the default, but you can swipe up on the bottom panel for a full list.
At the bottom of the screen you will see a selected payment method. Tap to choose an alternative if you’ve set it up in your Uber wallet. When ready, tap Confirm Button.
While you wait, the Uber app will display your driver’s information and location, as well as the make, model, and license plate number of the upcoming vehicle. Be careful so you know which vehicle to board – confusion can happen, especially at airports where dozens of people can request rides at the same time.
When your ride is over, you will be asked to rate your driver and add a tip. Be as generous as you can, otherwise Uber drivers won’t get paid as much and your review can hurt their business. You can tip personally in cash or in the app up to 30 days later.
Uber is primarily a cashless service, ignoring some regional exceptions. However you choose to pay, you can add, edit, or delete methods by opening and selecting the Uber app Account > Wallet. There are many opportunities:
- Uber Cash: This is a prepaid account that you top up with. Usually this involves choosing from credit and debit cards or online services like Venmo and PayPal, but Brazilian drivers can top up at over 280,000 retail locations.
- Gift Cards: You can’t pay for your rides yourself this way, but friends and family can help.
- Google Pay/Apple Pay: These allow you to quickly switch cards and authorize them with biometric authentication. We recommend them whenever they are available.
- PayPal/Venmo (or similar services): Once you’ve linked an account, trips are automatically billed and deducted from the card or bank number it’s linked to.
- Credit/Debit Cards: You will be prompted to scan a card with your phone’s camera or manually enter a number. In both cases, however, you must enter the expiry date, CVV code and zip code.
- Vouchers/promotional codes: This requires entering a provided code to add money for future trips.
Aside from Uber’s scooter, e-bike, rental, and ride-sharing services, you should have up to six ride options, depending on when and where you stop:
- AboutX: This is the standard and usually cheapest option, allowing up to 4 passengers plus a small amount of cargo.
- About XL: This allows up to 6 passengers. It may also be necessary for smaller groups with lots of luggage.
- overgreen: Effectively UberX, but for a slightly higher price you can ride in an electric vehicle.
- Comfort: If you’re willing to spend some cash, this is UberX with a newer car and more leg room.
- About pet: UberX plus accommodations for a single pet, e.g. B. a dog or a cat. You pay extra and still need to bring your own restraints, stretcher and/or blanket. If your pet makes a mess, you may be charged a cleaning fee.
- Premier: UberX in a luxury vehicle with a highly rated driver. This is used by celebrities and other wealthy individuals and can cost more than twice as much per trip.
There is no set price for Uber rides. While the company has base rates based on time, distance, and your ride option, there are additional operating fees that vary from city to city. Prices also tend to rise for busy times and areas – while visiting a friend at lunchtime may be relatively cheap, you’ll pay a fortune to get home from the airport at rush hour.
The good news is that when you book a ride, you get an estimate before you have to commit. That way you can step back if a cheaper, non-Uber option becomes available. Note that you will be charged a cancellation fee if you book a ride and then cancel outside of a certain time window – for example 2 minutes after an UberX request has been accepted by a driver. You will also be charged if you do not show up at your pickup point within a few minutes.
In some regions, Uber offers a monthly subscription option called Uber One. In the US, this cuts 5 percent in fares and eliminates delivery fees for Uber Eats orders, among other discounts. If you use Uber several times a month, you’re probably saving money by subscribing.
Choosing a pickup location
The Uber app doesn’t automatically select your precise GPS location. If you are not already at the roadside, a nearby, road-accessible location within a short walking distance will be suggested. You will also receive a moveable pickup pin which you can change before confirming a ride as well as prior to pickup.
Note that at airports and other transit hubs, you may be asked to enter a designated ride-sharing zone. The app often selects such zones when it detects where you are, but if not, you might want to go to a zone before booking.
Continue reading: Purchase advice e-bikes
frequently asked Questions
You don’t have to, but you probably should unless you can’t afford it. Uber drivers don’t get paid that much, so they rely on tips to make a living.
You can tip personally in cash or in the app for up to 30 days after the trip.
The vast majority of trips should be uneventful, especially since Uber requires annual background checks of a driver’s criminal and vehicle history. A 2020 Alarms.org report claimed that Uber (and Lyft) are actually safer for women than taxis, public transit, and other car services.
However, incidents do happen. Uber’s 2020 internal safety report lists 141 incidents of rape and 998 incidents of sexual assault, including 20 fatalities. As small as the percentage of total trips, women should take advantage of Uber’s built-in safety options and travel with others when practical.
Possibly, but in most situations there isn’t much of a difference.
Where there might be a real gap is in times/areas impacted by price increases. If you see a large bill, it’s probably worth checking both apps before paying.