The Uber app is one of the most revolutionary developments in the personal transportation industry. Despite emerging onto the scene less than a decade ago, the app has already changed the way that people get to work, travel, and navigate cities.
But perhaps you’re skeptical of all the hype. Isn’t Uber just a less regulated version of a taxi? Isn’t public transportation still cheaper?
We admire your skepticism, which is why we created this guide. Follow along as we help you decide if the Uber app is worth it for you to use, based on seven key aspects of the service.
- Uber App Convenience
- Uber App Safety
- Uber App Cost
- Uber App Availability
- Uber App Ride Options
- Uber App Device Options
- Uber App Customer Service
1. Uber App Convenience
To start, let’s examine how convenient the Uber app is. The convenient rider experience that the app provides is something that many users of the Uber service love. But how convenient is the ridesharing app in practice?
By far the most convenient feature of the Uber app is the way it lets you use your phone to get a ride (and track that ride in real time). Sure, you can also use your phone to get a ride when you call a taxi company, but you have no way to track the ride’s location, communicate with your driver, or see how much the ride will cost before you book it.
Furthermore, the Uber app features a convenient way to pay for your ride. The app just uses the credit card or other payment method on file to cover the full ride cost. There’s no need to fumble with cash or put your credit card into an unfamiliar card reader. And you can even leave a tip within the app if you like.
That being said, there are some aspects of the Uber app that might feel less convenient than other forms of transportation. Mainly, you can’t just hail an Uber on the street in the same way you can with a taxi. You do have to wait for the ride to arrive, which could take a few minutes if demand for rides is high or you’re in an area without lots of available drivers.
Overall, we think that the Uber app is more convenient than other options out there, though you might prefer hailing a taxi if you need a ride immediately.
2. Uber App Safety
Up next, we have the issue of safety. This is one of people’s biggest concerns when using Uber. How are you supposed to trust that the stranger you just got in the car with isn’t going to cheat, kidnap, or hurt you?
Luckily, the Uber app includes a variety of features to keep both drivers and passengers safe. To start with, the app will display your driver’s picture and the vehicle details (license plate number, color, make, and model) once they’re on their way to pick you up. This ensures that you have the right Uber driver, and that the car you’re getting into isn’t driven by some random person.
Once you’re in the car, the Uber app tracks your location in real time, ensuring that both you and Uber always know where you are. Uber also knows the route your driver is supposed to take, and they’ll get notified if the driver is doing something unusual. The app also requires your driver to confirm that they dropped you off at the correct location, adding a further level of security.
Beyond all this, Uber conducts extensive background checks for all drivers and lets passengers rate drivers after a ride concludes. If they get a report that a driver has done anything in violation of the Uber terms of service (or the law), they’ll remove the driver from the Uber platform.
Finally, the Uber app also lets you send your trip status to a trusted friend or family member. This way, you can count on someone to both know that you got home safe and to take action if it looks like your driver is taking you somewhere besides your intended destination.
3. Uber App Cost
Uber frequently markets itself as an affordable transportation option, especially compared to taking a taxi or hiring a limo or private driver. But is it really as affordable as the company claims?
Generally speaking, Uber is cheaper than a taxi. Because Uber doesn’t have to pay to upkeep a fleet of vehicles or reimburse drivers for any expenses, they’re able to offer lower prices to customers.
That being said, there are some situations when Uber will be more expensive than taking a taxi. If the demand for Uber rides is greater than the number of available drivers, it may create a surge. This can cause the price of an Uber ride to double or even triple. Taxi fares, in contrast, will stay the same regardless of how busy the area is.
We should also note that public transportation remains more affordable than Uber overall. On short trips, the cost of an UberPOOL ride might come close to taking the bus or light rail, but it still tends to be a bit more expensive once you factor in tipping your driver.
When comparing Uber to public transit, the key advantages are convenience and availability. You can get an Uber to come directly to your location at any time of the day or night. With public transit, in contrast, you have to travel to the nearest stop or station while also being at the mercy of the transit schedule. If you don’t mind a bit of waiting around and having to walk a bit to get to your destination, then public transit is still the clear winner in terms of cost.
4. Uber App Availability
Uber claims to offer reliable rides in almost any city in the world. But just how available is the Uber service?
Looking at apps of its kind, Uber is one of the most widely available, at least based on the number of places the app operates. According to the list on Uber’s site, the app is available in 68 countries. The specific ride options vary, of course, as does the number of drivers in each place. But the scope of the service is still substantial.
Noticeably absent from the list of countries on Uber’s site, however, are major locations in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. This is due to Uber withdrawing from Southeast Asia, selling all its operations in the region to rival app Grab. Therefore, you’ll need to look elsewhere if you want to hail a ride with your phone in this part of the world.
Assuming you’re not in Southeast Asia, however, Uber is widely available and lives up to its promise of offering reliable rides across the globe.
5. Uber App Ride Options
Moving on with our comparison, let’s look at the ride options that Uber offers. This is one area where Uber definitely sets itself apart from other transportation services. The company offers vehicle types that are similar to a taxi, but they also have a variety of other vehicle types that either have greater capacity or increased luxury.
Let’s take a more detailed look at some of these options:
- UberX — This is Uber’s flagship service. It offers private rides in vehicles that seat up to four passengers.
- UberXL — Traveling with a big group? Call an UberXL. These vehicles can hold up to six passengers.
- UberBLACK — Looking to splurge? Call an UberBLACK, which will get you a black, high-end vehicle with a professional driver.
- UberPOOL — If you want a lower fare than UberX, UberPOOL is an affordable individual option. It uses your pick-up location and drop-off location to match you with other riders headed in the same direction. In exchange for a cheaper fare (often half the cost of UberX), you share your ride with other passengers.
In addition to these ride options, it’s also worth mentioning Uber Eats. While not part of the Uber app (you need the separate Uber Eats app), Uber Eats uses the same location-based technology and fleet of drivers to offer convenient food delivery from your favorite local restaurants.
Overall, then, Uber excels in terms of the ride options it offers passengers. Whether you need a ride for one or a high-capacity vehicle for six, you can get it with Uber.
6. Uber App Device Options
Perhaps you’re wondering if your phone will work with the Uber app. Luckily, Uber Technologies, Inc. has put a lot of resources into ensuring that their app works across almost all devices.
The only situations where you might run into issues are if you have a phone that doesn’t run the necessary software or a phone that doesn’t support the Uber app. In terms of the necessary software, your phone might be too old. This is the case with flip phones or even just early smartphones.
Also, the Uber app no longer runs on any Windows phones. This shouldn’t pose an issue for most people, as Windows phones themselves now receive only limited support from Microsoft. It’s therefore understandable that Uber no longer wants their app to run on the platform, as a lack of updates from Windows phone developers would make it difficult to maintain the app and keep it secure.
So if you do happen to have a Windows phone, an old smartphone, or a flip phone, are you out of luck when it comes to using the Uber app? Not quite. Even without a supported phone, it is still possible to get an Uber ride using your computer or mobile browser. You can find the full instructions in our guide to calling an Uber (or Lyft) without a smartphone.
Don’t have the Uber app yet? Download it here:
7. Uber App Customer Service
For the final section of this guide, let’s examine Uber’s customer service. The company wants you to have an excellent Uber experience each time you use the service. If you do encounter a problem, they have a variety of customer service options available to you, including live chat support, email support, and an extensive Help Center available at Uber.com.
The biggest complaint about Uber customer service, by far, is their lack of comprehensive phone support. This is indeed a downside, especially if you prefer to talk to a live support person. While it would be handy, Uber has not announced any plans to expand the scope of their current phone support program, which is currently available only to Uber drivers (or to passengers in emergencies).
Still, dealing with Uber customer service is far easier than if you were attempting to make a complaint to a taxi company or local public transit authority. The company has embraced technology to offer extensive online support, as well as assistance right within their mobile app.
Unless you’re extremely averse to tech-centric customer service methods, you’ll find Uber’s customer service to be refreshingly responsive and easy to use compared to other traditional players in the personal transportation space.
The Uber App: Is It Worth It in the End?
Taking everything we’ve covered in this guide, we think that Uber is worth using if you’re looking for an alternative to a taxi or public transit. The company does have flaws, with its lack of phone support and limited options for people without smartphones being two of its biggest issues. Still, Uber more than makes up for these limitations with its convenience, safety, wide availability, and varied ride options.
This guide focused on whether or not the Uber app is worth using. If you’re looking for information about how to use the Uber app, check out our guide to nine Uber app features you must know.
Want to save on your first Uber ride? Check out our guide to Uber promo codes for a simple way to get a discount on your first trip.