How to Use Uber : A Step by Step Guide (NEW 2020)

Are you wondering how to use Uber? Maybe you’re new to the app and not sure how it works? Or perhaps you have a specific question about the app? 

Whatever brought you here, don’t worry, you have landed in the right place.

Over the last ten years, Uber has taken the world by storm. And I’m not joking. You can now find Uber in almost 70 countries and hundreds – if not thousands – of cities. The company’s one of the fastest and most successful startups in history.

In this post, we are going to take a deep dive into the app. We will answer questions like how does Uber work, using promo codes, the different types of cars, payment methods, tips, and more.

So buckle up! And get ready to become an Uber expert.

How Does Uber Work?

Using Uber is a breeze. Basically, Uber’s your own affordable private car service. You can order a car that takes you from A to B. And the entire process from requesting an Uber cab to pricing is handled through an easy-to-use app. 

To start using Uber, you need to download the app and create an account. You’ll need a phone number, an email address, and the promo code stephens1894ue, which gifts some free credit.

To request an Uber cab, just open the app (or desktop browser).

Once it’s open, you’ll see a map of the surrounding area. And in the Where to box type in your destination and hit confirm. 

Next, Uber will let you choose your pick up location. It also gives an estimate of how long it will take a driver to reach you. 

Hit confirm again, and Uber will show you the different cars and prices. 

Finally, select your payment method and order your ride. 

The app automatically contacts all the nearby drivers. Most of the time, it only takes moments for a driver to accept your ride. 

From here, the app tracks the driver, so you see when they arrive at your pickup point.  Your phone will also notify you when they have arrived. 

For safety, Uber also sends you the car’s license plate number, as well as the vehicles make and model. So you have no doubt you are getting into the right vehicle.  

And that’s all there is to it. 

Get in, and the driver takes you to your drop off point, and the app handles the payment. From here it is like riding in a taxi cab, with only a couple of small differences.

Benifits of Using Uber

Benefits of Using Uber

If you’re new to Uber, you might be asking, “what’s the difference between Uber and taxis.” 

There are a few perks that make Uber a better option than cabs, in my opinion. 

Uber Comes to You

With Uber, there’s no need to walk to a major street and try to hail down a free cab; or stand out in the cold. 

With only a few clicks you have your Uber ordered, and a driver’s on his way to wherever you want to be picked up, including outside your doorstep. 

Of course, it’s possible to call a cab to anywhere, but it’s a lot more hassle.

Know Before You Go

One major difference is that Uber sets the price in the app; there’s no need to worry about a meter running, or overcharged. 

And you know the costs before riding! This is a major part of how Uber works and one of my favorite things about the app.

No Need to Handle Cash

One of my favorite parts about Uber is that payment is handled through the app. There is no need to pull cash out of my wallet or let a cab driver run my credit card. (Two ways I have gotten ripped off while traveling.)

The price is set and paid through the app. Just say thanks and step out of the car when you arrive. Although, You can opt to pay by cash with Uber if you want.

Schedule Your Ride

Another perk of Uber, you can schedule a ride in advance. Say, for example, you know you need to leave for the airport in a couple of hours. 

Instead of waiting until the last minute to book your Uber, when your frantically trying to get ready, schedule it ahead of time. It’s one less thing you have to worry about.

Track Your Ride

Utilizing GPS, you can track where you are on your route, and get updated estimated arrival times. This helps you stay safer and plan around traffic.

No Haggling

If you’re a traveler, like myself, then you’re aware than in many countries, foreigners get charged more, and you often haggle cab fares. 

With Uber, that’s stripped away, no more haggling, or getting ripped off. You pay the same amount as the locals.

Checks and Safety

I’m not saying cabs are unsafe. I’ve never had a problem in cabs (other than getting ripped off a few times.)

But Uber has also proposed to run criminal and license checks on its drivers annually. Uber also has a multi-step screening process.

Cost of Uber

Of course, this varies by location, date, and time. But I’ve found that most of the time Uber’s cheaper than Taxis.

Why?

Well, maybe it’s because Uber determines the price by distance rather than a metered cab, which goes by time and distance.

A downside of Uber is that the fares rise or fall depending on the time of day, and higher traffic. Many places like to and from airports have a fixed price, but this is true for cabs as well.

Uber Promo Codes

You get Uber Promo Codes just for signing up. But you can also earn credit for recommending Uber to your friends and family. Plus, every once in a while, Uber gives you some credit just for using them. (I know in Thailand I was getting Uber coupons almost weekly.) 

How to Use Uber: Signing Up

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    So far, we’ve answered the question of how does Uber work, as well as some of the benefits of using Uber.

    Now, let’s go over how to use Uber Step by Step to get you started.

    There are four things needed in-order-to use the Uber app.

    1. A smartphone capable of running the app. (I’ve never seen a smartphone that couldn’t run the it.)
    2. An email address and phone number.
    3. A payment method. (credit, debit card, or Paypal, etc.)
    4. Promo Code: stephens1894ue. (This code gets you $2 off each of your first 3 rides.)

    Once you have those 4 things, it only takes a few minutes to get started.

    Step 1: Download the App

    You can download Uber via the Apple store here or the Google Play Store.

    Step 2: Make Your Account

    The process is straightforward. Uber will ask you to pick your preferred language and then fill out your name, email, and phone number.

    Next, create your password, read, and agree to Uber’s terms and conditions.

    Step 3: Verify Your Account

    Before you can use Uber, you must verify the phone number. Just to make sure it’s you! 

    Luckily, it’s easy to verify. Uber will text you a verification code. Enter the code, and you are all good!

    Step 4: Add a Payment Method

    Next, you’ll need to add a way to pay in Uber by entering a credit or debit card; Paypal’s another option. This is so Uber can pay for the rides automatically.

    You can choose to pay in cash if you prefer, but you still need to have a card or PayPal account on the app.

    Note: Uber cannot accept prepaid cards.

    Step 5: Add Your Promo Code

    Right under where you added your payment method you’ll see promo code. Here enter stephens1894ue, which saves you $2 for your first 3 rides.

    (I also get a little Uber credit for the recommendation).

    Step 6: Confirm You Email

    Lastly, head to the email you used to sign-up. By this point, Uber should have sent you a confirmation email. Click the confirm link, and you are good to go. If you can’t find the email, check your spam folder.

    That’s all the steps! You can now call your first Uber cab.

    Understanding the Different Type of Ubers

    One thing you’ll notice when you call your first ride, is you have a choice between different Ubers.

    There are six popular types of Ubers; UberX, UberXL, UberSELECT, UberBLACK, WAV, and UberSUV.

    Each of these vehicles is slightly different with pros and cons.

    Let’s take a moment to look at your options and when you might want to use these different Uber cabs.

    What is UberX?

    UberX is the company’s most popular option and the flagship service.

    UberX; also known as “The low-cost option,” means you’re ordering a car that can seat up to 4 people. 

    The major requirements of UberX are that the car has 4 doors, can seat up to 4 passengers, and can’t be older than 2002.

    Most of the time, you’ll want to use UBerX most of the time for small A to B rides.

    What is UberXL

    Like the XL in the name suggests, UberXL means ordering bigger cars like an SUV or Minivan.

    This service is perfect for traveling in a small group of friends, or for those with a lot of luggage.

    Requirements for UberXL; a vehicle that fits up to 6 people, newer than 2002, and has no cosmetic damage.

    What is UberSELECT?

    UberSELECT (Referred to as UberPlus in some cities) means calling a middle of the line luxury car that can fit up to 4 people.

    UberSELECT’s have stricter requirements. I. E. they must-have 2009 models or newer and have leather interior. And while the cars are nicer, you’re going to pay for the upgrade. 

    Personally, I don’t think the price jump justifies it. I call UberX or UberXL 99% of the time.

    An Acura’s a good example of an UberSELECT

    What is UberBlack?

    If you want even more luxury than UberBlack is the top of the line. This service means high-end black cars and professional drivers. 

    UberBLACK cars have all the bell and whistles, and extremely strict requirements. The car must be 2012 or newer and in pristine condition. These cars are great for business or in you want to impress your date.

    Funny enough, Uber’s most expensive option was the first service they offered.

    What is UberPool?

    UberPool’s a great way to save some cash if you’re not in an extreme rush.

    UberPool acts as a ride-sharing service. Uber matches your driver with people going the same direction as you, and you share the cost. UberPool’s cars are comfortable sedans. 

    Since they are picking up another person, you can only call UberPool with a maximum of 2 people.

    What is WAV?

    WAV’s a new service provided by Uber. WAV offers cheap rides for people needing a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. The WAV drivers-partners, are certified via a third-party that they are able to assist and drive people with disabilities safely.

    How Much DOes Uber Cost

    A common question asked by new riders is, “How much does Uber cost?” What many of them are actually wanting to know is “How much does Uber Cost per mile?” Which is legitimate question.

    The truth is that no one knows.

    Why?

    Because Uber uses what it calls a dynamic pricing algorithm that adjusts the rate for factors like time, traffic, route, and demand. Similar to how cabs are more expensive during peak hours or how they start charging by the minute if you are stuck in traffic. 

    Uber does all of this before you get into the car, so you know what you are going to pay!

    That’s why if you request an Uber home from the bar on a Saturday night, the rate will be different than if you request the same route on a weekday. And why prices go up during particularly busy times of the day.

    Let’s breakdown how Uber decides your fare below.

    Uber Rate and Pricing Factors

    There are 5 main factors that go into determining your fare.

    1. Base Fare

    A base fare’s similar to when a taxi starts the meter at $2 – $3 just for getting in. It’s the cost of using the service.

    2. Time

    Based on traffic and route, Uber estimates how long you are going to be in the car.

    3. Distance

    How far the vehicle goes. (Note: this doesn’t include the distance the driver travels to pick you up – that’s free.)

    4. Demand

    Prices go up when there aren’t enough drivers to cover the demand. This is to encourage more Ubers to get on the road. Prices also tend to go up at peak hours or late at night.

    5. Booking Fee

    This is a small fee that helps cover the administrative costs. This goes into supporting operational, safety, and regulatory costs.

    These are all the factors that go the Uber Rate.

    And lastly, there’s the tip which is handled through the app, after the ride.

    Those five factors might make you think that Uber’s expensive. However, in my experience, Uber’s are cheaper than cabs. And there’s some useful data out there to support this claim.

    And beside public transport, it’s the cheapest option for getting around.

    Can You Estimate Uber Cost

    Yes! The easiest way is to just check the app. Type in where you want to go and it will show you the price. Remember that fares change over time before you need to go it could be higher or lower when it is time to actually leave. 

    Uber also has a fare estimator on their website. 

    Adding Promo Codes in the Uber App

    Adding promo codes in Uber only takes a couple of minutes. Uber’s always updating and changing their promo codes. 

    So in this example, we will use my referral code, which never changes. Use this code when signing up, and you will save on your first three rides, and I get a little kickback from Uber.

    1. Open the App

    You can only add promo codes from inside of the Uber app.

    2. Go to Payment Options

    In the top left of the app, you will see the menu icon. Open the menu and click on payment.

    3. Go to the Promo Code Section

    Once in the payment options, scroll down until you see the promotion section. (it is right under any credit cards you have in the app.

    4. Add Your Promo Code

    Click on the promo code option. Enter the code stephens1894ue. Click enter.

    And that’s it.

    Check out this other post to learn more about Uber promo codes and how to earn free rides.

    How to Use Uber: Ordering Your First Ride

    Once you’ve downloaded the app, created your account – and you savvy travelers have the promo code added – it is time to order your first ride.

    Don’t dismay, ordering a ride is a quick and painless 5-step process.

    1. Enter Your Destination & Pickup Point

     

    Open the app, enter your destination in the where to? box; click confirm. Next, choose where you want picked up.

    2. Meet Your Driver

    While waiting for them at the pickup point, track your driver on the app. 

    3. Double Check Your Ride

    This is something I always recommend. Double check the license plate number, the cars make, and the driver’s photo before getting in the car. It’s never wrong to protect yourself. Most drivers will also ask your name (This is common curiosity, they are not required to ask your name).  

    4. Relax and Ride

    Get in, track your rides progress, relax, and read my latest blog post (shameless plug).

    5. Rate & Tip Your Driver

    Arrive at your destination. Lastly, open the app to rate your driver and give them a small token of your gratitude if you choose too.

    Uber Pricing Models: Upfront Vs Estimated Fares

    Uber works with two different pricing options, depending on where you’re requesting a ride.

    And while you might not even notice them, it’s important to realize what they are.

    Uber’s Upfront Pricing

    First is what Uber calls Upfront pricing. This is where Uber shows you the “exact” price of your ride.

    Upfront pricing isn’t available everywhere and only for certain types of rides. This rate is based on the distance and time, as well as any applicable fees, surcharges, and tolls.

    A good example of Upfront pricing is going to and from the airport – which usually has a set rate.

    Note: Even with upfront pricing, if you ask for extra stops, change your destination, or make your driver wait for a long time, you can be charged more.

    Uber’s Estimated Fares

    Estimated fares are the most common type of pricing. This is when Uber gives you an estimated fare for your ride. For example, next to each vehicle will be a price range for your requested ride, something like UberX: $8 -$12.

    This shows you what they think the price range will be and doesn’t take into account tolls and surcharges.

    And the actual total is calculated when you arrive at your destination. In this example, if there were light traffic and no unexpected delays, then the price will be around $8. 

    However, if there were delays but you still arrived in a reasonable time, the cost would be closer to $12.

    How to Schedule An Uber in Advance 

    If you were asking yourself the question, “Can you schedule an Uber in advance?” then I’ve got good news for you.

    Yes, you can schedule an Uber from 5 minutes or up to 30 days in advance.

    And the benefits are endless!

    Schedule your ride for when the bars close; rather than waiting outside in the elements.

    Plan to have your Uber meet you outside the grocery store.

    Or have peace of mind that you’ll leave with plenty of time to get to your meeting.

    How it Works

    An important thing to note, when planning your ride in advance, is that you’re giving your driver a ten-minute pick up window for your selected time.

    Say, for example, you have to leave for the airport the very latest at 12:30 P.M. Then set your ten-minute window at 12:20 – !2:30 P.M. This also gives you a little wiggle room in the rare case your driver can’t make it. 

    However, it’s important to be ready to go at the start of your ten-minute window as making the driver wait can raise the price.

    How to Schedule An Uber in Advance

    You can schedule your Uber in advance in 4 easy steps.

    1. Hit the schedule button that’s next to the Where to? Box. It’s the button that says “now” and has a little clock.

    2. Schedule your ten-minute pickup window, as well as the date and time.

    3. Enter Your Drop off and pick up points.

     

    4. Review the price and hit confirm.

    Changing or Cancelling Your Scheduled Ride.1

    You can cancel the ride inside the app.

    Go to upcoming trips, select cancel, or edit ride.

    And if it’s before you’ve been matched with a driver, then there’s no cancelation fee. If you’ve been matched with a driver than normal cancellation fees apply.

    Where can I schedule a ride?

    Scheduling an Uber in advance is available in almost every city that has Uber.

    One strange limitation is that you can schedule a ride to the airport. 

    But not away from the airport (only an on-demand Uber rides works from the airport.) I guess this is, so drivers aren’t waiting around the airport in case of flight delays.

    How does pricing work with Scheduling a Ride?

    This is similar to the pricing we talked about earlier. If you schedule your Uber more than an hour in advance, you will receive a locked-in price. 

    If less than 60 minutes, you’ll receive a price estimate, and if dynamic pricing “price surges” occurs, they will send you a notification.

    Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Uber

    Ok, so we have a basic understanding of how Uber works. We know how to sign up, how to call our first ride, and how to add promo codes inside the Uber app.

    But now, let’s dig a little deeper. And answer some of the most important questions about how Uber works.

    What Countries Have Uber and What CIties?

    Uber works in 70 countries and hundreds – if not thousands – of cities around the world. So wherever you are, there’s a good chance that Uber’s going strong somewhere nearby. This makes Uber a great option for everyone, from people looking for a rideshare on their daily commute to adventurers taking a trip to the other side of the world.

    The easiest way to find out if Uber is available in your area is to open the app (it will tell you if Uber available in your area) or head to this page for the latest list of available cities.

    What’s more, Uber’s growing, and so keep checking back for the most updated list.

    Can I cancel My Uber?

    Maybe you realize you’re not ready to leave yet, or perhaps a friend offered to give you are ride instead.

    Whatever the reason, you might want to cancel your Uber.

    Canceling an Uber only takes a couple of seconds.

    All you need to do is open the app and hit cancel – in the top left of the screen.

    Do I Get Charged for Canceling My Uber?

    Sometimes, yes. You won’t get charged if you cancel your Uber before you’ve been matched with a driver. And there’s a chance that if you cancel within 2 minutes, you’ll also be spared the cancellation fee.

    However, if the driver is already on their way, then you will have to pay a small fee. The fee goes towards compensating the drive for the time spent driving to you. 

    The fees differ by location, but I always assume it will cost somewhere between $3-$6.

    What’s Up with Price Surges?

    Every once in a while, usually during peak traffic hours or when the bars on letting out on the weekends, you’ll see that the cost of Uber rise. 

    This is known as surge pricing. Surge pricing is when there are not enough Uber drivers on the road to cover all the rides. 

    And because of there is more demand than supply, then prices go up. (Some cabs also have fluctuating rates, they just don’t tell you about it.)

    What Causes Price Surges?

    Anything that can affect the supply and demand can cause the prices to rise.

    Things like peak traffic hours, construction, wreaks, concerts, sporting events, and bars closing can all impact price.

    Can my Trip Price Change during my Ride?

    Technically yes, but it isn’t common. For example, I’ve taken hundreds of trips with Uber, and my price has only changed a couple of times from the estimate. And the change has never been much more than a dollar.

    So it can, but the chances are that the change is so small you won’t notice.

    What can affect my Trip Price?

    A few factors.

    According to Uber, “Factors like heavy traffic or bad weather that extend the distance or duration of your ride can affect the amount you’re actually charged.”

    But again, I wouldn’t expect your trip fare to go up notably.

    Why Does Uber Raise The Price?

    Well, Uber released an official statement that says that the price hike is to encourage more drivers to get on the road. 

    The prices fall to normal as the demand slows. Meaning, if you’re not in a rush, you can always wait out the price surge

    Can I pay for my Uber using Cash?

    Most of the time, no.

    Uber’s meant as a cashless experience; it’s one of the app’s biggest selling points. Not only is “cash free” more convenient, it’s safer – no-one likes pulling out Cash in front of strangers.

    If you’re traveling in some remote parts of the world, dealing with money, or haggling rides protects you from getting ripped off. (Which has happened to me more than I’m willing to admit.)

    And while you can’t use it to pay for your ride, it’s okay to tip the driver in cash.

    UPDATE: You can now pay for Uber’s with Cash. 

    Can I get a price estimate?

    Yes, there are two ways to get an estimate on your Uber fare.

    The first way is relatively simple; go through the motions of ordering a ride. Open the app, enter your destination, and pickup points. And Uber will show you the estimated price before confirming the ride.

    Additionally, you can head to Uber’s Fare Estimator to see the price.

    Can Uber Drivers Rate Me?

    Yes, just like you rate the driver, the driver gets the chance to evaluate you and your behavior. 

    Most of the Uber drivers are generous, and you have to act up to get a bad rating. 

    Things like arguing with your friends, talking loudly on the phone, have out-of-control kids; or disrespecting the driver, or their car can get you bad ratings.

    Does Uber Rate Their Drivers?

    Yes, the company has a rating system for their drivers. This rating system is based on how many ride requests they accept. 

    And, of course, Uber prefers a high number.

    Do Bad Rating IMpact Getting Rides?

    This differs by driver. 

    However, according to a recent article I read, most Uber drivers are willing to transport those with low ratings. 

    Uber is a job for them, and ever single ride means money.

    Do Uber Drivers Make More Than Cab?

    According to recent reports, UberX drivers make around $10 -$25 more per hour than taxi drivers. Uber cares about their drivers and passengers. And it’s nice to know they pay their drivers decently.

    Can I call An Uber for A Friend

    Sure, if you meet a couple of Uber’s conditions. First, the person can’t be in the same location as you. However, if the person is with you, I don’t know what is stopping you from just picking a nearby pick-up-point. You do this in the app. After you enter the person’s pick up point, select “someone else.” Enter the personal contact info, such as a phone number. And click confirm.

    Can you Request a Specific Driver?

    No, at this time Uber cannot match you with a specific driver.

    Can I Bring My Pet?

    This is really up to each driver. Unless, it’s a service animal. Drivers cannot deny service animals as in accordance with Uber’s policies, as well as state and federal laws.

    If your pet isn’t a service animal, the driver can deny them. The best way is to contact the driver who accepts your ride, let them know, and ask if it’s okay.

    Which brings us to our next question…

    How do I contact My Uber Driver?

    Uber has a built-in call and chat that lets you contact your driver. Even better, the app doesn’t reveal your phone number to the driver. Instead, whenever you call or text, the drivers see an anonymized local number. This helps you keep your privacy safe.

    To contact your driver, go into the app. Then tap the phone icon and choose “free call.” Or send them a message.

    Can I contact a driver or fellow passenger after my ride has ended?

    No, this is against the Uber community guidelines. You are not allowed any unwanted contact like calling or texting with a driver or fellow passengers after the ride is over. 

    Of course, if you hit it off, and it is wanted contact then just share your number with them.

    What Happens If I left or lost something in my Uber?

    If you left an item in your Uber, the best way to get it back is by contacting the driver.

    You can contact the driver by heading to this page. And following the instructions. Uber will do the rest.

    Note: There is a $15 return fee.

    Can I request more than one car?

    At the moment, you can only request one Uber at a time, which is one reason why Uber offers larger cars such as uberXL.

    If your group is larger than 6 then someone needs to call another Uber. And if you’re only one of the group that has Uber, then refer them, they will save on their ride and you’ll earn some free Uber Credit.

    Contacting Uber Support

    Before contacting Uber support, I recommend checking out the Uber Help Center as it is much quicker.

    However, if you can’t find the answer, then you can contact support via the app. Open up Uber and access “Your trips”. From here, contact support about a ride-related issue.

    You can also submit a question about a trip through one of the articles in the help section. This feeds your question to the support team.

    How to Pay for Uber

    There are many ways to pay for Uber. A newer mode of payment is the ability to pay with cash.

    Current Uber Payment Methods

    • Credit / Debit Cards
    • Cash
    • Commuter Benefits.
    • Paypal
    • Promo Codes
    • Uber gift cards

    Splitting a Fare with A Friend

    Inside the app, there is a split fare feature that allows you to divide up the trip equally among friends.

    Here is how it works.

    1. Request Your Uber
    2. Before, or during your trip, swipe up on the bottom of the app.
    3. Select Payment Method
    4. Click on a split fare.
    5. Enter the phone number and names of all the other passengers.
    6. Friends will get a message to accept the split fare.

    They need to accept the split fare before the trip ends, or Uber will charge the account of the persons who called it.

    Split fares only work with certain types of Ubers. For example, it doesn’t work with Uber Pool, since Ubers already splitting the cost of the ride between you and someone else anyway.

    Note: Each rider also pays a $0.25 split fare fee. And, Uber says that Apple Pay may or may not work when splitting fares.

    Can I change My Payment During a Trip?

    Yes, tap on the white panel (at the bottom of the app) and tap “switch.” This lets you adjust your payment method.

    What’s a Non-Stop Shared Ride?

    Rides will sometimes see this when ordering an UberX. And Uber is offering you the choice to take the last seat on a shared Uber or Uber Pool. 

    If you accept the ride then you might be the last in and first out. This is a non-stop shared ride, and people who accept might earn rewards.

    Uberpool and Walking

    Sometimes when booking an Uber Pool, the app will ask you to walk a short distance. This is to meet up with your driver’s current route and help everyone stay on time.

    And there we go! Everything you’ve ever wanted to know – and then some – about this rideshare app

    Uber’s a great option for getting around and saving some cash. And one of my favorite travel tools.

    This post answers virtually any question you have about “How to use Uber”. However, if you have any more things you’d like to know, please ask them in the comments below.

    And as always, thanks for your support.

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