If you’ve ever wondered…
“What are the Uber rates that go into each ride I take?”
“How much does Uber cost?”
“How much does Uber cost per mile?”
“Is there an Uber calculator I can use to estimate a fare?”
… then you’re not alone. Some of the questions we get asked most frequently have to do with Uber rates and what it costs to take a ride.
Since it’s such a hot topic, we put together a complete guide to Uber pricing so you have a better understanding of what it costs and the math behind the rides you take.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Pricing variables: The costs that go into an Uber fare
- Uber rates: The different types of pricing you can expect when taking a ride
- Upfront pricing: What it is and why it matters to riders
- Uber estimate: Uber calculator and fare estimator
- Sample Uber Fare: We’ll break down an Uber fare using the information above
- Bonus: We’ll give you a few tips to on how to save money when using Uber
Let’s get started.
Estimating an Uber fare is pretty straightforward with a few simple tools, but before we do that, you should understand what actually goes into an Uber fare.
Every time Uber calculates a ride fare, there’s a few factors that come into play. They are:
- Base fare: a flat fee that covers the pickup price
- Time in vehicle: the amount of time spent in the vehicle
- Distance traveled: the distance the vehicle traveled during the trip
- Booking fee: a flat fee that helps offset Uber’s administrative costs (ie. background checks, overhead, etc..)
- SURGE variable: if demand out weighs driver supply, a price multiplier kicks in
- Tipping: if you elect to leave the driver a tip, this will be added to the total cost of the ride
Once you combine all these factors together, a ride fare for Uber can be calculated. According to their website, a ride fare is calculated by combining the factors as follows:
“((base fare + time rate + distance rate) * surge multiplier) + tolls and other fees.((base fare + time rate + distance rate) * surge multiplier) + tolls and other fees.”
These fares will sometimes differ depending on which Uber vehicle option you select. For example, an UberBLACK will cost much more than a simple UberX.
The vehicle that you select within the app plays a large role into what the Uber price of your ride will be.
Uber vehicle prices also depend on which city a rider is located in. They vary across the board, and there’s no standard pricing for every city.
If you’d like to find the vehicle prices for your city, there’s a cool tool we found that taps Uber’s direct data and gives city-based pricing for each city.
For this example I used my favorite city, Denver.
1. Head over to the fare calculator app then type your city into the search box
2. Select the type of Uber vehicle option you’d like to ride in.
Once you select the vehicle you want to take, data for each type will be generated. All of this data is what goes into Uber rates for that city you request a ride in.
Now that you understand the factors that go into pricing an Uber ride, it’s important to take a look at how that data is used to calculate a fare.
Last summer, Uber rolled out a new form of pricing called upfront pricing that was supposed to be a game changer for drivers. However, it led to a lot of pushback from drivers and as turned out to actually overcharge riders by a lot.
QZ.com quotes the pricing as,
In other words, the total upfront fares paid by riders were that much higher than the fares used to calculate driver pay. The company lost money overall on UberPool, its carpooling service, but more than made it up by overcharging customers who booked trips on UberX and its other private ride options.
We won’t cover talk much about the pushback Uber received from drivers when this pricing was introduced, but we covered it in a separate detailed writeup that you can check out here.
In short, the upfront pricing model allows Uber riders to see what their ride costs before they request the ride, and it ensures that riders aren’t grossly overcharged once the ride is complete. Basically, what you see is what you get.
There are a few downsides to this model though.
First, it’s a little more difficult to see when SURGE is in effect, and you might pay more for your ride without fully realizing it. Unlike the big bold notification that used to pop up, this pricing system doesn’t give much warning that the price is surging.
Second, drivers make less than expected. Budget-friendly riders will simply wait till SURGE is over, if it’s hitting, leading to frustrated drivers that may quit or lower their quality of service as a result.
There’s definitely a lot that goes into calculating an Uber rate, but luckily for riders, there’s tools that do heavily lifting.
There’s two ways to get an Uber cost estimate: using the Uber app or using a third party Uber calculator.
If you want to estimate an Uber fare using the Uber app, there’s a few steps involved.
- Open the Uber app
- Input the destination you’d like to end up at
- Verify your pickup location on the map
- Once entered and verified, you’ll see a list of vehicle options populate
- Tap the one you want an estimate for, and a fare estimate will pop up
This estimate is a good breakdown, of the rates themselves, but it’s not as simple as it used to be. That’s where third party calculators come in.
Using a third party Uber estimator that taps the official API is probably one of the easiest ways to get a ride estimate before you request a ride.
We recently created a calculator for Uber fare prices, and we’re sure you’re going to love it.
Our tool not only gives ride estimates, but also has tons of other features like city-based information and data, popular destinations, and links to the estimated fares.
Sample Uber Fare
Taking everything we’ve learned so far, let’s figure out a few sample Uber fares.
In this case, we’ll use Denver and price two fares; and UberX fare and an UberSUV fare. In both we’ll be going from Coors Field to Mile High Wine Tours in Denver, a distance of 2.61 miles.
Sample UberX Fare
Using the city-based pricing tool above, we get the follwing data for an UberX fare:
Sample UberBLACK Fare
Likewise, UberBLACK costs a little more:
Now let’s take that data and plug it into the Uber calculator widget.
As you can see, the cost of an UberX ride barely makes it past the minimum rate, while the cost of an UberSUV is much more. You’ll also notice the estimated time of arrival is longer for the SUV.
You can expect this type of difference regardless of which city you request a ride in. There are less high end vehicles on the road, and they cost more to buy and operate, hence the difference between the two.
Bonus: Uber Promo Codes
If you’re a new rider that hasn’t tried Uber, you can offset the cost of an Uber ride by downloading the app and claiming one of the great promotions the company has going.
Currently, Uber is giving new riders who haven’t tried the app $15 in free ride credit, just for signing up.
To claim the credit, simply download the app and enter a special promo code. Once entered, you’ll see the free ride credit amount reflected in the “Payment” portion of the rider app.
What did you think?
We worked hard to put together our guide, and would love to hear your feedback on what you thought.
Have a question about something you read? Want more information about one of the topics we covered?
Let us know by leaving a comment below!