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How Uber In Italy Works: Ride Types, Pricing & How To Use

Is Uber in Italy the same as back home? Learn how the rideshare platform works there, how to hail a ride, and whether you have alternative options.

Key Takeaways

  • Uber in Italy offers mainly premium services like Uber Black and Van.
  • Limited to big cities; less practical for budget-conscious travelers.
  • Legal battles restrict cheaper Uber options, favoring traditional taxis.
  • Competes with local taxis and public transport, often more affordable.

Is Uber Available in Italy?

Technically speaking, Uber is available in Italy. However, the rideshare app is somewhat limited when compared to other countries, so it’s not always the go-to option for transportation while you’re on a vacation.

For starters, despite its availability, it’s only common in major Italian cities like Rome and Milan.

You can also find an Uber in other cities like Florence and Naples, but only around city centers.

Besides the few operational locations, the range of options in ride types is also limited.

For instance, the available ride types in these locations are usually the premium options that come at a high price tag.

In other words, Uber in Italy is usually a good option if you want to get around in nicer cars, but it’s an option if you’re on a tight budget and choosing convenience over luxury.

Is Uber Legal in Italy?

One of the main reasons why Italian Uber availability is quite limited is the complicated ridesharing regulations in the country.

When Uber first established itself in Italy, it clashed with the existing taxi union, which challenged the platform, making its licensing process lengthy and expensive.

In fact, In 2015, taxi associations took Uber to court, and an Italian court initially ruled in their favor.

As a result, Uber became illegal in Italy. This banned Uber from offering its affordable ride option, Uber Pop.

However, on appeal, Uber was able to remove the restrictions on some of its ride types, but not all of them.

Today, only their higher-end Uber services, which use licensed professional drivers, are permitted to operate.

These are essentially treated like chauffeur services, which already existed legally in Italy.

Types of Uber Services in Italy

Uber in Italy operates differently compared to other countries.

Due to regulations, the rideshare giant can’t offer its standard ride-sharing options you might be familiar with.

Here’s what you can get through the Uber app in Italy:

1. Black

Uber Black is one of Uber’s premium services, popular for offering high-end cars and professional drivers with a special license.

In Italy, all Uber Black drivers must have a “noleggio con conducente” authorization, also known as “NCC”.

This technically translates to “vehicle for hire”, and it’s a special authorization allowing drivers to operate private limousine services.

In many regions, Uber restricts this service to black high-end cars.

However, in Italy, it still requires a decent car model but the car doesn’t necessarily have to be black, as other dark colors are also possible.

This is a good option if you’re looking for a comfortable and stylish ride, which makes it perfect for business travelers or a special night out.

2. Van

If you’re a bigger group, you can take an Uber Van which can seat up to 6 passengers comfortably.

This option typically includes minivans as well as some SUVs, which are also high-end models with professional drivers.

This option is usually convenient for large groups and families, for rides from and to the airport.

This is because it has enough room for your luggage if you’re a heavy packer.

3. Taxi

After a lengthy legal battle between Uber and the taxi drivers union in Italy, Uber agreed to add regular taxis as an option through the app.

This one is the most convenient type of ride Uber has. However, taxi ride fares through Uber are estimated differently.

While the fares are not subject to surcharges and demand fluctuations, they’re regulated and metered.

In other words, the cost might be quite different from what you see in the Uber app estimate upfront.

Italian taxis need a special license that costs up to 300,000 euros, which explains why these rides aren’t that affordable as well.

How Much Does Uber Cost in Italy?

Since Uber in Italy focuses mainly on premium rides, you should expect it to cost a bit more than other means of transportation.

This is not only because of the relatively high base fare of Uber Black and Van, but also because of the surcharge.

Due to traffic in Italy and limited Uber availability, the app adds a surcharge almost all day long.

For instance, a ride from the airport to the city center may cost more than 70 euros, compared to around 50 euros using taxis (which aren’t cheap themselves.)

There are also additional factors that may affect the ride cost, such as:

  • Time of day
  • Type of ride you’re ordering
  • The distance
  • Traffic status (can fluctuate the cost significantly in Rome)

Where Uber Operates in Italy

The availability of Uber in Italy is quite limited, as you can only use the app conveniently in Rome and Milan.

You may also find Uber rides in other cities, such as Naples, Catania, Florence, Palermo, and Turin.

However, Uber rides in these cities are typically sparse, as some of them require reserving a ride in advance (like in Turin) or are limited only to taxis (like in Catania.)

That said, Uber is still partnering with local taxi services and dispatchers to expand its services in new locations and improve its presence in the country.

Comparing Uber with Local Transportation Options

In Italy, Uber caters to a different user base than usual. Unlike many regions where Uber is all about convenience and affordability, it’s all about luxury in Italy.

As a result, Uber is rarely a good option for users who are on a tight budget, and they may find other methods of transportation much more affordable.

The most reliable and cost-effective options to consider here are:

  • Taxis: You can simply cut the middleman and hail a taxi on the street, but don’t expect a major difference in price.
  • Trains: The extensive network covers multiple locations and can be an excellent way to move between cities.
  • Buses and Shuttle: like trains, they cover plenty of locations but are perfect for changing regions within a city.
  • Metro: Remarkably fast and convenient but only available in certain locations in Rome.

You can also try rental services, as they give you the most flexibility while in Italy. You can go anywhere and there are plenty of options to choose from.

These methods are all cost-effective alternatives and offer a more immersive experience while exploring Italy.

Still, navigating them can be tricky, especially in smaller towns.

Safety, Etiquette, and Practical Tips

While using Uber in Italy, here are some essential tips to help you ensure your safety and enjoy a smoother experience:

  • Always ensure that the car’s license plate matches the details in the app before getting in.
  • If you don’t speak any Italian, use the Uber app’s chat function. This allows you to text the driver and then use a translation app for basic communication.
  • Tipping in Italy isn’t mandatory or heavily required like in the US. However, drivers will always appreciate the gesture. Ideally, rounding up the fare is more than enough.
  • Maintain respectful behavior while on the ride. Avoid making loud noises in the car during the ride or slamming the doors on your way in/out.
  • Cash is still quite common in Italy, so make sure you have enough money on you to pay the fare.
  • Utilize the in-app navigation to keep up with your trip and always share your trip details with friends for additional safety.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

While Uber offers a premium way to get around in some Italian cities, there are a few things to be aware of to avoid scams or misunderstandings while using the app:

  • Always be careful before getting into an Uber ride. Make sure that the description of the car and driver matches the app.
  • Surge pricing can significantly inflate Uber fares, especially in Italy. Always double-check the estimated price in the app before booking to save your money.
  • If you take a taxi through Uber, never get in the ride if the driver doesn’t use the meter.
  • Some drivers might suggest canceling the ride through Uber for a cheaper fare. For your safety, you should never do this.
  • If you feel you’re at risk, call the emergency services directly rather than Uber. However, if it’s only a minor inconvenience, contacting Uber should be enough.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Taxi Cheaper Than Uber in Italy?

In most cases, the answer here would be yes. This is because Uber doesn’t offer cheaper rides similar to its standard UberX in the Italian market due to legal restrictions.

Ideally, you should expect a Taxi to cost you around 20% less than an Uber for the same trip.

This also applies to ordering an Uber Taxi compared to hailing a ride on the street, although the difference here won’t be as big.

What Do Italians Use Instead of Uber?

Italians use a variety of transport methods, including trains, metros, and buses. They also use regular taxis, which you can pick up on the streets or order through dedicated apps like Free Now.

The advantage here is that this app is more widely available across Italy, especially when you compare it to Uber.

What is the Cheapest Way to Transport in Italy?

Public transport is, by far, the most affordable choice, especially for shorter journeys within cities or between major cities.

A single-use bus or train ticket covers a long distance and still costs a fraction of taxis or Ubers’ cost. However, you may need multiple means of transport to get where you want.

Final Thoughts

Uber offers rides in major Italian cities like Rome and Milan. However, the rideshare is practically limited to premium rides like Uber Black and Uber Van, so you shouldn’t expect convenient rides similar to UberX there.

While they can be convenient for late-night travel or guaranteed luxury, they are significantly pricier than other means of transport.

Instead, consider using taxis and public transport for shorter trips and budget travel, especially outside major cities. Taxis and app-based taxi services provide a wider presence and potentially lower fares.

Current Version
May 9, 2024
Written By Brett Helling
Update Details This post has been completely re-written from scratch. The old post has been removed and replaced to better address accuracy and quality.

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