How Does Uber Work? Your Comprehensive Rider Guide
How does Uber work? This is the question every first-time passenger needs answered. While seasoned riders can’t imagine a world without the service, approaching the process for the first time can be overwhelming. Fortunately, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about using Uber below.
How Does Uber Work?
Uber is a rideshare service, which means that the company more or less serves as the go-between for passengers and drivers. However, they aren’t completely hands-off. While Uber drivers are independent contractors, the company still runs a driving record and criminal background check to ensure the safety of their clients. Uber also sets standards for the types of vehicles used, so you’re sure to get where you’re going without any issues.
If you’ve never used Uber before, here are the steps you need to follow.
Set Up Your Uber Account
The absolute first thing you need to do is set up your account. Click HERE to sign up with Uber and get a discount on your first few rides. Then fill in your name, phone number, and email on the following screen. If the promo code box is empty, simply enter i9tz1 to get your discount. The amount of the discount is determined by your city.
Once you click sign up, Uber will prompt you to install the app. Upon completion, open the app and you’ll see the sign-in menu. At the bottom of the screen, there’s a spot to enter your phone number. Tap it and follow the prompts. The Uber app will send you a text to confirm your phone number, you’ll enter your password, and then you’re done!
You can also create your account directly on the Uber website if it’s more convenient.
Input Payment Information In Uber
Before you can request your first ride, you need to add your payment information. Open the main menu within your app by pressing the three lines in the upper left hand corner.
Then, tap the “Payment” option. Next, click “Add Payment.” At this point, you can enter your credit card or PayPal information in the boxes. Uber also integrates with Apple Pay You can also scan your credit card directly from your phone’s camera. The payment screen is also where you enter any promo codes you may receive in the future.
The company does offer cash payment options in certain cities, but you’ll still need a credit option on file. To pay with cash, you’ll swipe up from the bottom of the screen (inside the app) directly after requesting your ride. You’ll see a section for payment options, which you should click, and then choose “Cash.”
Schedule Your First Uber Ride
Now that you’ve set up all of the necessary information, you should get excited, because the answer to “How does Uber work?” will finally be revealed! First, you need to open the app and verify your pickup location. The app will automatically identify your current position using GPS, so you need to make sure that that’s where you want your driver to stop. If it’s not, you can move your pin to the desired spot.
Next, it’s time to choose your destination. Right below the pickup location, you’ll see the “Where to?” box, which you should tap. Now, you can start typing the address of where you want to go. Once you’ve become a regular customer, the app will suggest your most frequented locations as soon as you tap the box.
The final process of requesting your very first Uber ride is to choose your vehicle style. There are quite a few options (which we’ll cover later), but you only need to tap the one that meets your needs. Once you’ve made your selection, tap the “Request” button on the bottom of the page.
There, you’ve officially made your first request! Now, you’ll wait for a driver to accept it. Once they do, the Uber app will show you the location of your driver and their current ETA. It will alert you when they’re about a minute away from the pickup spot.
Identify Your Uber Ride and Driver
Unlike hailing a taxi, your Uber ride request is chosen by a specific driver. Once they accept the request, your app will provide you with all of your driver’s information. This data consists of a headshot, their name, and a breakdown of the vehicle, including license plate number as well as the make and model. The map on the Uber app also allows you to follow the driver’s course on their way to your location. Once they’ve arrived at the designated pickup spot, you verify the vehicle’s details with the information on your app.
Rate and Tip Your Uber Driver
Uber allows passengers to rate their drivers based on their ride experience, and recently, they also added the ability for riders to provide a tip directly through the app. At the end of your trip, a rating option will show up on your screen and you choose to give your driver between one and five stars. At this point, you’ll have the option to give a tip or you can do so later by accessing your ride history and selecting the specific trip. It’s important that you remember that the rating system works both ways—the driver also rates their passengers after each journey.
Choosing the Best Uber Ride Option for Your Needs
Before you can become an expert Uber passenger, you need to learn more about the various ride options. There are currently seven types of vehicles you can choose from when scheduling your ride. Each one varies by style, seating, and driver requirements.
Your Uber options are as follows:
- UberPOOL: Typically the most cost-effective option, UberPOOL allows you to reduce your overall trip fare by sharing your journey with other people. Unlike splitting the fare with people you know, the other UberPOOL riders are likely to be strangers. Also, you are limited to 2 passengers on UberPool rides.
- UberX: This is the most common style of Uber, which requires a vehicle in good working condition with four doors and five seatbelts. You can request an UberX for up to four people.
- UberXL: UberXL is essentially UberX but with more room. This rideshare option allows you to book a vehicle when you have more than four passengers.
- UberSUV: UberSUV is the higher-end version of UberXL. You’re likely to end up with higher end vehicle models, like an Escalade or a Navigator.
- UberSELECT: UberSELECT is a more luxurious version of UberX, offering higher end brands like BMW and Cadillac. With this option, you can fit up to four riders.
- UberBLACK: If you want to make an entrance, then UberBLACK is the right option for you. Following the rules of more traditional black car services, this option utilizes top of the line, new sedans with professional drivers.
- UberLUX: UberLUX is the epitome of luxury, fitted with professional drivers and top-notch vehicle brands, like Mercedes and Porsche. It’s also the most expensive option.
The Uber App Features You Should Know About It
Suggested Pickup Points
One of the most convenient aspects of the Uber app is its suggested pickup points, which recommends nearby locations known for their faster pickup times. This option typically only shows up in areas with lots of road congestion or limited parking. When you open your map to request a ride, look for green dots surrounding your location. If you want to reduce your wait time and there’s a dot that’s easy for you to access on foot, move your pin to that spot. In some cases, the app will even prompt you to these points when you begin inputting the pickup location.
Share Your Trip Status
The Uber app allows you to share your route with five friends or family members with a tap of your screen. This feature is designed to increase the safety of riders while offering you the convenience of an accurate ETA. When you share your status, the selected individuals will receive a notification that gives them access to your driver’s information as well as the ability to track your route in progress on the map.
To set up this feature, follow these steps:
- Designate your contacts: Click “Settings” from the main menu, and then choose “Emergency Contacts” from the options. Tap “Add Contacts” and complete the information for up to five people.
- Sending ride status: To actually send your status, you’ll need to swipe up on the screen right after you’ve requested a ride. A button will pop up that reads “Send Status”—tap it and the ride information will send directly to your chosen contacts.
- Send ride statuses to additional people: You can also send the information to non-emergency contacts by adding them individually. The option will show up after you choose to send your ETA.
Uber also offers a host of accessibility features to make their service more user-friendly for individuals with disabilities. Visually impaired riders can utilize voice command applications, like VoiceOver (Apple) and TalkBack (Google), to request a ride because Uber has integrated those apps. You can also request wheelchair accessible vehicles by selecting “UberWav” as the ride type when requesting a ride. This option isn’t yet available in all areas, but the company is working to expand their fleet with drivers that offer a wider range of transportation options.
Split Rideshare Fare With Friends
Another perk of using Uber is the ability to split fares among multiple individuals. So, if you’re taking a ride home with your friends, you can pitch in and pay your share. In most markets, this option does charge every rider an additional 25 cent fee, but it makes group journeys incredibly convenient and affordable.
To split the payment, you need to first request a ride. Next, you’ll swipe up from the bottom of the app—just like when sharing your ETA—and tap your pre-set payment method option. You’ll then see an option that reads, “Split Fare.” After tapping it, you’ll then enter the names and numbers of everyone you’re sharing your ride with.
How Does Uber Work? Reaching Uber Customer Service
While it may feel overwhelming requesting your first Uber ride, you’ll quickly feel at ease using the app.
After your first trip, taking an Uber will seem pretty uneventful. In the event something goes wrong and you need to contact customer service, you can do so through the app or by email. You can also contact Uber by phone in emergencies. Check out our page on Contacting Uber Support.
Uber is constantly adding new features to make ridesharing more useful and enjoyable, so check out the Uber Newsroom to learn about the newest updates as they’re announced.
If you’re ready to get started with Uber, simply click the button below. You should also check out our page on riding with Lyft.