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UberX vs Uber Black: What’s the Difference For Drivers?

As an Uber driver, you may get the opportunity to choose between several services you can offer to your passengers.

Two of them — UberX and Uber Black — are radically different regarding qualification criteria and potential earnings.

If you’re wondering which of the two services comes out on top in an UberX vs Uber Black showdown, we’ve got you covered.

This article reveals the differences between the two services, as well as their pros and cons, to help you make an informed decision.

CriteriaUberXUber Black
Service TypeBasic ridesharingPremium service
Target PassengersGeneral publicHigh-income passengers seeking luxury
Vehicle Requirements– Manufactured no earlier than 2006
– No visible damage
– No commercial branding
– Four-door car/minivan
– Commercially insured with TLC plates
– Not older than six years
– Black exterior and interior
– No cosmetic damage
– Fully operational AC and windows
– Four passengers for sedan, six for SUV
Driver RequirementsMeet minimum age
Valid driver’s license
1-year driving experience (3 years if under 25)
Background check
– All UberX requirements
– Professional driver with commercial auto insurance
– City-specific commercial driving permits
– Maintain a minimum 4.85 rating
Income$15 – $22 per hour$32 – $35 per hour
Pros– Basic qualification criteria
– Flexible car options
– Higher trip demand
– Higher fares and tips
– Higher-quality passengers
ConsLower fares and payStringent requirements and lower ride demand

About UberX

UberX is Uber’s basic ridesharing service, which presents an affordable yet comfortable and convenient option for passengers who use the Uber app.

Everyday car owners like you can use it to earn money while ferrying riders to their destination of choice.

People can use this service offered through the Uber app to quickly and easily get an affordable ride to or from an airport, run everyday errands, and much more.

UberX lets customers ride in regular, everyday cars. Typically, UberX cars can seat up to four passengers (one in the front and three in the back).

Common choices for UberX cars are sedans such as the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord, and the Toyota Prius.

UberX also has several alternative ride types, including:

  1. UberX Share: It lets passengers share a ride with up to one co-rider per journey.
  2. UberX Priority: This type of ride allows a passenger in a hurry to offer their Uber driver more money in return for prioritizing their trip.
  3. UberX Saver: It’s a service with limited availability that lets passengers “wait to save” by offering lower fares in return for longer waiting times.

About Uber Black

Uber Black (also known as Uber Exec in some markets) is Uber’s premium service.

It’s meant for higher-income passengers who want a luxurious ride, and demand a five-star driving experience from professional drivers. Thus, these customers are willing to pay a higher fare for the service.

Customers may opt for Uber Black when they want a ride to a business meeting, a special fun night out, or another destination that calls for upscale transport. The service also includes premium customer support.

There are two versions of this premium Uber service: Uber Black and Uber Black SUV.

The former offers high-end luxury sedans, whereas Uber SUV provides sports utility vehicles with more room (e.g., a Ford Escape).

The common thread between both Uber services is luxury vehicles and stringent driver requirements.

Feature Comparison of UberX vs Uber Black

Here’s a feature-by-feature review of the key differences between Uber’s luxury and economy options.

header graphic showing ridester graphics with the text "UberX vs Uber Black - what's the difference for drivers?" in the middle

Vehicle Requirements

Uber vehicle requirements differ from city to city. As an example, we used Uber’s New York City vehicle requirements, as found on its website.

What Are the Criteria for UberX Vehicles?

As the cheaper option, UberX has lenient vehicle requirements. You can use a car of any color or model as long as it’s:

  • Manufactured no earlier than 2006
  • In good condition, with no visible damage
  • Clear of commercial branding
  • Undergone a vehicle emissions inspection
  • A four-door car or minivan
  • Commercially insured in your name, with TLC plates

You can also see our list of the best cars for Uber in 2024.

What Are the Criteria for Uber Black Vehicles?

In contrast, you’ll need a luxury sedan or SUV for Uber Black rides. Apart from the same requirements listed for UberX above, your vehicle also:

  • Must not be older than six years
  • Must have a black exterior
  • Needs to have a black leather or vegan leather interior
  • Must have no cosmetic damage, missing pieces, or visible stains
  • Must have fully operational AC and working windows
  • Has to be able to seat at least four passengers in addition to the driver

Uber Black SUV has similar requirements, with the exception being that your car must be able to seat six people instead of four.

Uber Driver Standards

The standards that Uber applies to UberX and Uber Black drivers are drastically different.

What Are the Requirements for UberX Drivers?

To use UberX, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • Age: You must meet the minimum age that your jurisdiction has set for drivers
  • License: You need a valid domestic driver’s license to drive for Uber
  • Experience: Uber requires that its drivers have a minimum of one year’s worth of licensed driving experience (in the US). If you’re under 25 years old, you’ll need at least three years of driving experience

Uber also requires the following documentation:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • Proof of residence for your state, city, or province
  • Vehicle insurance (if you’re driving a car that you own)
  • A profile photo

Additionally, Uber will check your criminal history, meaning you must subject yourself to a background check.

What Are the Requirements for Uber Black Drivers?

In addition to UberX’s criteria, only professional drivers can qualify for Uber Black. For Uber, being a professional driver means having commercial auto insurance alongside every permit required by your city for licensed commercial driving.

You must also consistently maintain a rating of at least 4.85 on the platform, calculated as an average of your most recent 500 trips.

We discuss the exact requirements Uber drivers need to fulfill to drive for Uber Black in more detail in another article.

Income

Several factors dictate how much you can earn as an UberX or Uber Black driver, including the duration of the trip and the location of the starting point and destination.

However, Uber Black drivers earn more due to the quality of the service they provide. The reason you’ll earn more as an Uber Black driver is that passengers are willing to pay more for rides that offer extra comfort and luxury.

A downside to Uber Black is the difficulty of finding regular work due to a more limited supply of customers compared to the standard Uber service.

In the US, UberX drivers can expect to earn between $15 and $22 per hour on average. Contrast this to Uber Black drivers, who can expect to earn an average hourly wage between $32 and $35.

UberX Pros and Cons

To sum it up, here are the essential pros and cons of UberX compared to its upscale alternative:

Pros of UberX

Basic qualification criteria.

More flexibility regarding the cars you can drive.

Greater demand for trips.

Cons of UberX

Lower fares and lower pay.

Uber Black Pros and Cons

And here are the pros and cons of Uber Black compared to UberX:

Pros of Uber Black

Higher trip fares and a potential for greater tips.

Higher-quality passengers.

Cons of Uber Black

Stringent driver and vehicle requirements.

There’s a lower demand for rides.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Driving Uber Black Worth It?

Uber Black is a great option if you want to earn decent money as a rideshare driver. For starters, you can earn more per hour. Apart from that, you can also potentially receive higher tips from wealthier and higher-paying passengers.

Can Uber Black Cars Be In Colors Other Than Black?

No. Per Uber’s requirements, all Uber Black vehicles must have a black exterior and a black or vegan leather interior.

Will I Have to Open Doors for Passengers As an Uber Black Driver?

No, you won’t. Even though it’s Uber’s luxury service, Uber doesn’t require Uber Black drivers to open doors for their passengers.

Conclusion: UberX or Uber Black?

If you meet Uber Black’s vehicle and driver requirements, there’s barely any reason to choose UberX over that service. You’ll earn more income from the higher fares in comparison to Uber’s cheaper service.

However, UberX is the better option if you don’t have an entirely black vehicle or are unable to meet Uber Black’s strict driver requirements. There’s also a considerably higher passenger demand, making it easier to build a consistent work schedule.

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