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How To Schedule Uber Rides In Advance

Last updated: September 23, 2021
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hand holding a mobile phone and in the process of getting a ride by using the schedule uber feature on the screen

Have you ever wanted to grab an Uber ride and started worrying when Uber told you that very few drivers are available in your area?

This is not only a problem with rideshare rides, but also Uber Eats.

This common error comes in the form of “No Uber Eats Couriers Nearby“.

If so, then you can avoid the stress by simply scheduling an Uber ride in advance.

This Uber feature allows you to tell the rideshare company that it’s important to have a driver pick you up at a specific time in the future.

Scheduling a ride offers many benefits, so it’s no wonder that this feature was a top suggestion from everyday riders and Uber for Business customers.

In this post, we’ll explain how to schedule rides on the Uber app, how ride reservations work, and how to cancel your reservation if necessary, as well as answer some common questions about this valuable Uber feature.

What is a Scheduled Uber Ride?

hand holding a mobile phone and in the process of getting a ride by using the schedule uber feature on the screen

A scheduled Uber ride is one that you set up in advance of needing it.

For example, let’s say that you live in a less populated area.

You know that Uber drivers aren’t available 24/7 like they are in large cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, San Diego, or New York City.

You must catch a ride tomorrow so that you can get to a doctor’s visit on time.

Uber now allows you to schedule that ride so its algorithm does its best to make sure a driver is available in your area when you need it.

How Scheduled Rides Work

Let’s review how the scheduled ride feature works on the Uber app.

Overview of How These Rides Work

A scheduled Uber ride works similarly to asking a friend or family member to pick you up at a certain time.

Instead of speaking to someone, however, you just tell the Uber app via a series of taps and swipes when to arrive for your next ride.

Things to Know

Here are a few important details to understand about how Uber’s scheduled rides work.

How Far in Advance Can I Schedule an Uber Ride?

You can schedule a ride anywhere from five minutes to 30 days in advance.

This means you can use the feature for last-minute decisions when visiting a friend within the next hour or for a scheduled family birthday party two weeks from now.

Scheduled Ride Times are Windows, Not Specific Times

Uber gives you a 10-minute window for when a driver should arrive.

For instance, if you tell it you need to get picked up at 8:50 AM, then the app typically says that you can expect to get picked up between 8:45 and 8:55 AM.

Is a Scheduled Uber Ride Guaranteed?

Uber provides an “on-time pickup guarantee”.

It states that you’re guaranteed a ride for any reservation made at least two hours in advance.

If you don’t get a ride at that time, then you’ll receive $50 in Uber Cash.

Uber can’t guarantee that a driver pinged to get you at the appropriate time will accept the ride.

Once a driver does accept the ride, then your trip becomes confirmed.

Common Reasons to Schedule Uber in Advance

You can use a scheduled Uber ride for a variety of reasons.

Airport Rides

Using an Uber scheduled ride makes a lot of sense when you need to get to the airport in time.

This can take away the stress when wondering if you’re going to find an available Uber car a few minutes before you need to leave the house.

Don’t Want to Rely on Friends or Family

You can schedule a ride for a variety of needs without bothering friends or family to pick you up:

  • Family events such as birthday parties or anniversaries
  • Doctor visits or surgeries (great when using Uber Health)
  • Concerts or sporting events
  • Train rides

How Reliable is Scheduling an Uber?

The reliability of the Uber scheduling feature depends mainly on where you need the ride.

You’ll find that densely populated areas provide an almost guaranteed option.

Larger cities offer plenty of drivers who can easily pick up your scheduled request.

However, locations where fewer drivers exist, like suburbs, make it more difficult to know whether you can 100% count on a driver accepting your scheduled ride.

Where are Scheduled Rides Available?

It’s difficult to know exactly where scheduled rides are available.

You’ll need to open the app to see if you’re located in an area where Uber offers the service.

How Much Do Scheduled Uber Rides Cost?

vector graphic illustrating different elements of how much does Uber cost

Uber calculates scheduled ride costs the same way it does on-demand rides.

The cost depends on demand, traffic, distance, and trip duration.

Of course, tipping your Uber driver is highly encouraged, so make sure to factor the percentage you plan to add to your bill at the end of your ride.

Do Scheduled Rides Cost More than Regular Rides?

Although it isn’t an official Uber policy, scheduled rides can cost more than on-demand rides.

You’ll see the on-demand fare pricing when entering your destination.

You’ll then see whether your scheduled ride will cost more than the current on-demand ride by clicking on the scheduler icon.

Fees to Schedule Uber Rides

Uber doesn’t charge extra fees to schedule a ride.

When You Schedule an Uber is it Guaranteed Price?

Uber does its best to provide a close cost estimate at the time of booking a scheduled ride.

However, the actual price depends on the variable traffic and demand factors at the exact time of the ride.

How To Schedule an Uber Ride

For a visual explanation, check out the video below:

You can schedule an Uber ride by going through these steps:

  • Open the Uber app on your smartphone
  • Look at the top menu and tell the app your destination and pickup address
  • Tap the “Schedule” button
  • Set pickup time on the clock icon when prompted
  • Accept the terms and conditions screen
  • Confirm all the ride details and tap on the “Schedule” button again

Schedule a Ride 30 Days in Advance

Follow the procedure from the last section above.

When you get to the screen where Uber asks for your scheduled pickup time, simply select a date and time somewhere within the next 30 days on the calendar scheduler.

Schedule a Trip from the Airport

Uber doesn’t allow you to schedule a trip from an airport.

The app forces you to use the on-demand ride request functionality after you land.

The good news is that most airports have plenty of Uber drivers available for your on-demand ride request.

We’d suggest checking out our Uber Denver airport and Uber San Francisco Airport pickup guides to learn more about what to expect with airport pickups.

What to Expect After Scheduling an Uber Ride

Uber makes it easy to understand what will happen after you schedule the ride.

Here’s what you need to know about the process:

How do I Know if my Scheduled Uber Ride has Been Accepted?

Uber will show you on the screen that you’ve successfully set up the scheduled ride, including all details of your upcoming trip.

How do I Confirm my Uber Reservation?

You can click on the Scheduled ride icon inside the app at any time between making the reservation and the scheduled ride time.

The app will show you the trip details and also let you tap to make any changes.

How do I Know When my Uber Schedule is Coming?

Uber sends a periodic email, text, and/or in-app push notification as the time for your ride nears.

This is the same functionality you’ve probably seen before when getting an Uber code text.

Cancelling Scheduled Uber Rides

Here’s what you need to know about canceling any scheduled ride.

Uber’s Cancellation Policy for Scheduled Rides

Uber lets you cancel a scheduled ride for free within 60 minutes in advance.

You can also change your ride details without fees if you do it before getting matched with an Uber driver.

Fees Incurred When Cancelling

Uber charges the normal cancellation fees it uses for on-demand rides when charging for scheduled ride cancellations.

If you cancel an UberX request more than two minutes after your driver accepts the ride, then Uber charges a cancellation fee.

After requesting a Black or Black SUV ride, you have up to five minutes to cancel after a driver’s acceptance.

The amount Uber charges you will typically depend on how far your driver has driven already.

How to Cancel a Scheduled Uber

Uber makes it easy to cancel a scheduled Uber ride.

Go into the app and tap “Your Trips”.

Select any “Upcoming” ride and tap on “Cancel Ride”.

You can also tap on “Edit Time” if you simply want to change the details of the ride pickup.

Why Can’t I Schedule an Uber in Advance?

You’ll notice that sometimes the option to schedule a ride won’t appear in your Uber app.

The reason for this is simply that Uber isn’t offering the feature in the city that you’re trying to schedule from.

When NOT To Schedule Uber Rides in Advance

There are times when it’s not to your advantage to schedule an Uber ride.

1. If You Live in the Suburbs

If you live in the suburbs, then you’ll know that Uber doesn’t offer the option to schedule rides in your area when you don’t see the “Schedule” button in the app.

Even if you do see the option to schedule a ride in your Uber app, you should gauge whether it’s likely for drivers to be in the area when you need them.

There’s one way to understand driver availability in your area.

Open the app at the time of day when you need the scheduled ride and test whether drivers are in the area.

Do you see zero or very few drivers available at 6 AM for three days in a row?

If so, then it’s unlikely the scheduled ride you need at 6 AM in the future will turn out well for you.

2. Can’t Miss a Ride

Don’t schedule an Uber ride if it’s critical that a driver shows up.

For example, find alternative means of transportation if you’re uncertain that a driver will pick you up and get you to the airport on time.

3. Airport Arrivals

You can’t schedule an Uber ride for airport arrivals.

The app doesn’t give you the option in this instance.

Downsides to Scheduled Uber Rides

Some downsides to scheduling an Uber ride exist.

Here’s what you should know.

1. Drivers Show up Early

It’s possible that drivers could show up early for your trip.

Remember that the 10-minute window provided by Uber isn’t set in stone when you schedule the ride.

It’s the company’s best estimate based on the algorithm that tries to predict available drivers at the precise moment you need one.

When the 10-minute window nears, Uber might see that it’s a better idea to ping a driver for your trip a little sooner than expected.

The algorithm could do this if it picks up on the fact that very few drivers are in the area.

Uber will ping a nearby driver to make sure they go pick you up before they leave the area and leave you possibly stranded.

The best bet is planning to get yourself ready before the 10-minute window begins.

For example, make sure you’re ready to roll at 8:30 if your window is from 8:40 to 8:50.

2. Extra Costs

You might see that Uber charges more for the scheduled ride.

This happens if you schedule the ride late at night when there isn’t any traffic congestion or high demand for drivers.

You’ll see an on-demand fare estimate before clicking on the option to schedule a ride.

If you’re trying to schedule a ride for rush hour when demand for drivers goes up and traffic congestion is present, then you’ll likely see a much higher estimate for the scheduled ride.

Surge pricing could likely occur during those times.

This doesn’t mean Uber is charging a premium.

Remember that each ride uses traffic, distance, demand, and trip duration cost metrics at the time of pickup.

It’s not based on when you schedule a ride.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s review a few frequently asked questions that typically come up when discussing Uber’s scheduled ride feature.

Can you schedule an Uber for 4 a.m.?

You can schedule an Uber ride for any time of day you prefer.

Whether or not Uber lets you schedule that ride depends on predicted demand and driver availability at 4 a.m. in your current location.

Why did Uber cancel my scheduled ride?

Uber itself won’t cancel your scheduled ride.

However, a driver may very well do so for a variety of reasons. A driver might:

  • Think you’re located too far away
  • Want to go on a break after accepting the ride
  • Try to “game” the system by getting paid on a cancellation fee

This is why a scheduled Uber ride isn’t guaranteed.

It all depends on whether a driver is in your area at the time you need one.

It also depends on if an available driver accepts and fulfills the ride for you.

Can I schedule an Uber ride and make multiple stops?

You can’t schedule a ride with multiple stops.

You can request an on-demand trip with multiple stops, though.

The scheduling feature only lets you select a pickup location and one destination address.

If you need to stop along the way, then you can consider asking your driver if they mind making the stop for you.

When I schedule Uber, can I advise a driver about luggage?

You can’t contact your driver until after you’re connected with one.

Remember that a scheduled Uber ride doesn’t provide you a specific driver at the time of scheduling the ride.

Instead, you’ll get paired with a driver at the time of the ride.

You can then text or call the driver to notify them about your luggage.

Suggested: Uber Luggage: Luggage Policy, Tipping & More

If I need a ride to the airport, can I schedule an Uber the night before?

Yes, you can schedule an Uber ride at any time between 5 minutes and 30 days into the future.

Feel free to schedule your future trip the night before needing the ride.

Schedule Rides to Fit Your Schedule

When convenient rides become even more convenient, do you have any reason not to request a ride?

Ride reservations come with no additional costs and are available for the most popular vehicle options.

We hope you now understand how to schedule an Uber ride for when you need it.

Once you know about this feature, it can completely change the way you travel and get around your city.

Not to mention, it will let you get just a few precious extra minutes of sleep the night before that big business trip or vacation.

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