Using Uber is great. There’s nothing better than pressing a button and having a reliable ride magically show up.
But what if you’re new to Uber and don’t know how it works? Pulling out your phone and taking a ride in a stranger’s car seems weird at first….
…. but once you try Uber, you’ll never go back.
Today we’re going to dive into the question every new Uber user wonders:
How does Uber work?
Note: We are publishing this as a comprehensive guide for new Uber riders. We’ll update the post to include new functionality and features as they are released.
Uber isn’t a typical transportation company; they don’t own their own vehicles and they don’t manage fleets. According to their website, “Uber is a technology platform. Our smartphone apps connect driver-partners and riders”.
And boy, do they make that connection simple.
At first, it may seem like a foreign, super-confusing concept, but once you dive into the details, using Uber is insanely easy.
Open your phone, request a ride, and boom… the ride you requested shows up just a few minutes later. Yes, it really is that easy.
Uber’s main goal is to provide affordable private transportation so simple that anybody can use the app.
Whether you’re a seasoned business traveler, a college student looking for a ride to class, or just a Regular Joe out on the town with a group of friends, Uber has your back.
Here’s a simple breakdown of how it works:
Here’s how Uber works, step by step in more detail:
Before you can enjoy using Uber’s services as a rider, you have to download and install the app on your smartphone.
The Uber rider app is available from the following places:
Once downloaded, open the app and proceed to the following steps:
- Sign up to create an account. For first time users, Uber gives out a free ride worth $15 when you use a promo code.
- Next, open the app and login with your username and password.
- Set up your payment method by saving your credit card or linking your PayPal account. But, you can also choose to pay in cash. (Note: Uber will only charge you when you ride.)
- Once your account has been set up, you can now start booking your ride.
Here’s how to book for one:
- Select your pickup location. It can either be where you are now, or another location, if you are booking for another person.
- Select your drop-off point or destination.
- Once you have keyed in your location, choose your ride. Uber has a variety of car options for you to choose from:
- Economy – UberX, UberXL, UberSelect
- Premium – UberBlack, UberSUV, UberLUX
- Accessibility – Accessible for wheelchairs or has car seats readily available
- Carpool – UberPOOL
- After choosing your ride, complete your request by tapping ‘Confirm’. Voila! Your Uber driver will then be on their way to pick you up. You will receive a notification through the app once your driver has arrived at your pickup location.
Listen, rider safety was the first thing that came to mind when I first started using Uber. Getting into a stranger’s car and trusting them to drive you to the requested location kind of scared me a bit.
But once I started using Uber, I realized that there’s actually quite a bit that goes on behind the scenes to keep riders and drivers safe.
After a driver signs up to drive for the platform, Uber commences a pretty heavy vetting process for each driver. This includes background checks, vehicle inspections, and much more to ensure that both the driver and vehicle comply with the rules set by Uber.
Here are a few of the ways Uber keeps riders safe:
The Uber app works off GPS, meaning the rider’s location is known and accurate. The app will automatically find your location and direct a driver your way, even if you don’t know where you are.
The Uber rider app shows minimal rider details, meaning drivers cannot decline a ride request based on gender, race, or destination. Uber makes a big deal about this, which is great for rider safety.
Every driver has their own profile, complete with details about them and their vehicle. Information includes name, license plate number, phone, and rating, so you can ensure the correct vehicle is picking you up before you hop in.
Unlike a taxi cab where you just get in and go, Uber keeps drivers accountable and holds them to a higher standard than other modes of transportation. Uber offers the chance for riders to rate their drivers, which helps keep drivers on their best behavior. If they are unsafe, rude, or display behavior undesirable to passengers, the passenger has the ability to give the driver a low rating, and they won’t be matched for future rides.
Uber is safe for riders before, during and after a trip, and riders can rest assured knowing there is an entire team at Uber customer service standing behind them. This team is available 24/7, and can be contacted for any issues, including general questions, safety issues, or even lost items.
While the news likes to highlight the rare stories from rogue Uber drivers, you have to keep in mind that there are millions of Uber drivers all over the world, working 24/7. Its virtually guaranteed that one of them will eventually do something newsworthy, but for the most part, Uber is incredibly safe.
Uber makes payment easy and conducts these payments directly through the rider app.
Riders must enter a valid credit/debit card, which will automatically be charged upon completion of a ride.
Riders can add multiple payment methods, and then select which one they would like to pay for the ride with.
Future payment methods that are supposedly in the works include Bitcoin, Apple Pay, and a few others. Until then, riders will have to use a credit card.
Uber is one of the first “on-demand” services that operate on a smartphone platform.
Founded about 8 years ago, Uber has cemented itself as the go-to player in the rideshare game. Other competitors are doing their part to upend Uber’s position, but Uber still dominates the game.
Commuters prefer Uber service over taxi cabs for a number of reasons. First, Uber’s booking process is incredibly convenient. Instead of passengers having to flag down a traditional cab on the street, they are able to book from their smartphone app. Once booked, you have the option to pay with cash or the credit card associated with your account. Because Uber estimates the cost of the ride before beginning the trip, it’s often faster than taking a taxi. Riders are looking for a stress-free experience and often choose Uber due to the cost, speed, and reliability.
Uber is a car service accessible only through the application. To be able to use its services, you need to have the Uber app installed in a compatible smartphone with internet connection and GPS capabilities. The app connects the rider to nearby drivers based on the location provided.
How Does Uber Work For Drivers?
Being an Uber driver means being your own boss. That is if you are driving your own vehicle. You control your time and earn as much as you can–all at the comfort of your own car.
If you want to be an Uber Driver, you have to meet the following requirements:
- At least 21 years old
- Valid driver’s license for at least a year
- Own or have access to a good-condition 4-door vehicle (However, actual model and year will vary by city and car service)
- Have a valid car insurance
- No major criminal history
If you meet all of the requirements, you are eligible to apply to become a driver. Uber will then email more information on how to get started.Uber is a technology platform.
What do you think about Uber’s services? Let us know in the comments below!