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How Far Will Uber Take You?

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Uber is a fantastic transit service for anyone who doesn’t own a car or someone who just wants a ride.

City dwellers use Uber regularly to navigate urban areas and run errands, and most trips with the driver are short.

But what if you want to take a long trip?

How far will Uber take you?

Let’s talk about the logistics of Uber, focusing on its minimum and maximum service distances.

Afterward, you’ll be able to schedule high-efficiency errands and trips even at long distances.

Is There a Minimum Distance an Uber Can Take You?

There is no minimum distance that an Uber can take you.

You can ride across the city or just down the street.

Uber is handy for those with disabilities or the elderly, for whom even a short trip can be a hassle.

Everyone who pays for a driver pays the same base rate with added expenses later.

How the Flat Fee Works

Uber’s base rate varies per city, time, and availability.

In general, expect to pay a few dollars.

Uber also applies a per-mile fee and other charges depending on your route.

Fees incurred by distance, service costs, and tolls compound on that flat cost.

No matter how short your trip is, the base rate will stay the same for your area and conditions.

How Far Will Uber Take You?

How far Uber will take you is not a matter of miles but time.

Drivers are required to take breaks of either 6 or 8 consecutive hours after long stretches of work, depending on their location.

Despite that, Uber imposes a maximum trip limit.

If you can reach a destination several hundred miles away within that time, your voyage is still eligible.

Time Limit Policy

The longest Uber ride you can take is eight hours.

That time comprises most, but not all, of any driver’s active duty time for an entire day.

Any distance that a customer can reach in that time is fair game.

Assuming your route took high-speed roads with no traffic, you could travel 550 miles or more in that interval.

How Likely is it You’ll Find a Driver Who Will Go Eight Hours?

Unfortunately, it isn’t very likely to find an Uber driver who will agree to an eight-hour trip.

Remember that drivers have the right to refuse jobs that are too demanding or do not follow Uber guidelines.

Their employer also does not pay for gas costs, so a long trip is expensive for both the chauffeur and the rider.

For an Uber driver, fewer and shorter trips are often more lucrative, since customers have to pay various fees and tips each time.

Finding someone who agrees to a long ride takes good communication.

It is also unlikely to drive for that length of time without multiple stops for gas, a restroom, or other utilities.

However, dedicated drivers do exist.

In urban areas with many Uber contractors, you’re more likely to find a willing chauffeur.

Your chances may also be higher if you upgrade to UberX.

Is a Long-Distance Uber Trip Worth It?

Whether Uber beats competitors like taxis and public transit depends on your location.

Overall, Uber costs less for long-distance travel since the per-mile charges are typically lower.

Let’s compare the options side-by-side to see the pros and cons.

vector graphic showing uber vs taxi side by side

Uber vs. Cab

Since Uber and cab rates vary by city and other conditions, you must research your own location’s fares for this comparison.

Overall, urban American taxi services have higher base rates and per-mile fees than Uber.

Let’s use a sample for comparison.

In Seattle, Washington, the minimum Uber base fare is $1.53, and the per-mile cost is $1.60.

The City of Seattle Taxi Service applies a drop rate (flat cost) of $2.60 and a per-mile rate of $2.70.

In Seattle, Uber costs almost half of the city’s government-owned taxi service fares.

Uber vs. Public Transportation

Once again, the viability of public transportation varies depending on where you are.

Uber has a few perks over public transit, including customizability, privacy, and range.

Public transit must follow circuits.

Uber drivers can take you anywhere within your allotted eight-hour maximum trip time.

For a one-way trip, public subway and bus fares are far cheaper than Uber.

That is because subways and buses do not incur surcharges or per-mile costs.

However, Uber is the superior choice for a long ride simply because public transportation is often limited to small circuits.

Pros of Using Uber for Long Distance

The main positive attribute of a long-distance Uber is flexibility.

The driver will take you wherever you choose to go as long as you pay the fare beforehand.

Unless you’re carpooling, you can enjoy the ride by yourself, which is preferable to cluttered public transit.

The per-mile rate and base fare are cheaper with Uber, and drivers do not run strictly on circuits.

Your driver may be open to stops, detours, or other arrangements as long as you have paid the necessary fees and surcharges.

To summarize, Uber for long distances is:

  • Cheaper than competitors
  • More flexible and customizable
  • More comfortable

Cons of Using Uber for Long Distance

While Uber is considerably cheaper than taxis, it isn’t cheaper than most public transportation.

If your long-distance travel is within a transit circuit, you may be able to get there with just a small flat fee.

The longer an Uber ride is, the more susceptible it is to traffic, slowdowns, detours, and other incidents that pile on additional fees.

You are very likely to pay a lot more than the cost estimate provided by the Uber app or website when traveling far.

Lastly, not all Uber drivers are eager or willing to drive for as many as eight hours for one job.

You may experience scarcity or struggle to find a willing chauffeur even in the most populous cities.

To summarize, Uber for long distances is:

  • Not as cheap as public transit
  • Liable for additional surcharges and fees
  • Not a job most drivers want to take

Can You Cross State Lines in an Uber?

Yes, an Uber can drive you across state lines.

However, when they sign on with Uber, they agree to some conditions about the kinds of clients they can chauffeur.

Let’s take a quick look at those rules so that you understand the restrictions of interstate travel.

vector graphic showing round trip uber route line

State Rules for Uber Drivers

When a contractor signs on to drive with Uber, they agree to only pick up customers within their state.

The website and app database will only link riders with chauffeurs in their current state, even if your location sits on or close to a border.

So, while you can cross state lines in an Uber, a driver will not travel across state lines to pick you up.

Can You Leave the Country in an Uber?

Uber drivers are not allowed to cross international borders for work due to possible licensing differences.

You may be able to find a driver who is willing to do so anyway, but it isn’t safe or convenient.

When crossing into another country, everyone in your vehicle needs a valid passport.

Most Uber drivers won’t have one on hand, so the likelihood of finding a willing chauffeur is low.

How Much Will an Eight-Hour Uber Cost You?

Base fares and per-mile costs vary by location.

Let’s use an example to predict how much an eight-hour Uber costs.

Let’s assume you’re traveling from Red Bluff, California, to Los Angeles.

It’s just under 8 hours using the fastest possible routes and doesn’t cross any state borders.

That covers a distance of about 515 miles, and Uber’s cheapest option charges an upfront rate of $513.

In this case, the base fare costs $1.15 and the per-mile cost is $0.78.

The price scales up depending on your service choices and add-ons.

The most expensive ride is the Black SUV option for almost two thousand dollars.

Keep in mind that your upfront Uber fare is not reflective of the total cost.

Uber will add surcharges based on additional factors like traffic, rush hour, and toll routes.

You should expect to pay at least a little bit more than your estimate.

How to Book a Long-Distance Trip on Uber

Booking a long-distance Uber trip is similar to making a ride request for any other trip.

First, open the Uber app or website, select your starting point, and pick your destination.

As long as it is within eight hours of travel time, you will be able to schedule a trip.

Pick the riding option that suits you best.

After you’ve scheduled your long trip, it is in good courtesy to contact your Uber driver and let them know your expectations.

Doing so will give them time to plan for the return trip on that day.

After that, you’re all set for your long-distance Uber trip.

Wrapping Up

Now you have a good idea of the costs, limitations, and exceptions of long-distance Ubers.

Altogether, Uber is one of the most convenient and safe travel options for short trips and long stretches.

Always remember to tip and thank your driver, and have a great trip.

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