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Uber Tips for a Smooth Rideshare

Uber gets a lot of bad press; in recent months, the #DeleteUber episode resulted in a loss of 200,000 customers.

After CEO Travis Kalanick resigned as an adviser to Donald Trump and the company joined the lawsuit against the president's travel ban, there were fewer calls to ditch the ride-hailing app. But with Uber, controversy is never too far away.

There are alternatives, like Lyft, which briefly surpassed its competitor in the App Store during the travel ban tussle, but when you're standing on a street corner with no taxi in sight, it's hard not to click on that familiar logo.

And while it's easy to use, Uber has a lot more going on under the hood than you might realize. Did you know there are seven types of rides available, and you can end up literally paying the price for not being able to discern one from another? And even if you don't care because your employer is the one footing the bill, there are ways to make that process even easier. If you want to make things harder on your driver, cue up your own playlist. But if you do, you should tip heavily. What's that you say? You don't tip your Uber driver? We have some thoughts on that, too.

So read on for some tricks that will have you navigating the service better.

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  • 1

    Know Before You Go

    There's far more to Uber than just Uber anymore. The app has several levels of pricing and service, some of which may be available in your area and some of which may not.
    UberTAXI
    You can use Uber to request a taxi. The payment is not included so you will have to pay your driver. A $2 booking fee is processed through the app. The cancellation fee is $5.
    uberPool (known as UberPop in Europe)
    With uberPool you share your ride and the cost with others. You'll be given the price for a flat fare before you request a car.
    uberX
    UberX has cars that are owned by the driver and are year 2000 or newer. An uberX seats four riders. Base fare and per-minute and per-mile fees are higher than uberPool. The minimum fare is $7 and the cancellation fee is $10.
    uberXL
    The same as uberX but with larger cars for larger groups. An uberXL seats six riders. Base fare and per-minute and per-mile fees are higher than uberX. The minimum fare is $10.50 and the cancellation fee is $10.
    UberBlack
    The original Uber black-car service. Base fare and per-minute and per-mile fees are higher than uberX and uberXL. The minimum fare is $15 and the cancellation fee is $10.
    UberSelect
    Request an UberSelect and you'll get a 2008 model year or later high-end car like a BMW, Mercedes, or Audi with a leather interior for slightly less than you'd pay for an uberBlack.
    UberSUV
    The most expensive Uber option gets you an SUV that seats six and has the highest base fare and per-minute and per-mile fees. The minimum fare is $25 and the cancellation fee is $10.
    UberLux
    When you really want to make an impression, order up an uberLux. A professional chauffeur will pick you up in an Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ series, Land Rover Range Rover, Lexus LS, Mercedes-Benz S-Class or G-Class, a Porsche Panamera, Tesla Model S, Bentley, Maybach, or a Rolls Royce. Expect it to set you back about twice as much as an UberBlack would.

  • 2

    Share Your Ride

    We don't mean literally (unless you want to). If you feel unsafe or just want someone to know when you're scheduled to arrive without texting them every two minutes, you can share the details of your ride. When the app alerts you that your driver is on the way, go to Share My ETA next to the driver's name, enter the destination, and then select people from your contacts list that you'd like to share the info with. They will then get a text with a live map of your location. You can also share your Uber ETA via Snapchat.
    You can also pre-select up to five emergency contacts by going to Settings > Manage Emergency Contacts > Add Contacts. Choose contacts from your address book and tap Add Contacts again. Next time you take a trip and would like to share it, tap Send Status to Contacts. You'll see your list pop up and you can select Send.

  • 3

    You Are My Destination

    To simplify the process of meeting up with a friend, sync your contacts to Uber (Settings > Sync Contacts). When you go to request a ride, type your friend's name in the "Where To…" box. Your friend will get a request for their current location. When they accept, their location is set as your destination.

  • 4

    Get the Message

    If you're making plans with a friend in Facebook Messenger, there's no need to leave the app to book an Uber. Have your friend shoot you the address of where to meet, tap the address, and then select Request a Ride.

  • 5

    Easy Money

    Filling out expense reports is a pain, but Uber makes it easy to get your cash back. Go to the menu, select History, and get the details on all of your rides, including total miles and minutes.
    If you want to use separate cards for your business and personal rides with Uber, you can set up a separate profile. Add your work email to your Uber account and Uber will set you up.

  • 6

    Here's a Tip

    Uber's success is predicated on just how easy it makes hailing and paying for a ride. But there's no way to add a tip inside the app (here's why, according to Uber), so you might want to have a little cash on hand for tips. It might help you get a better Uber rating.
    You can set up tipping in uberTaxi by going to Payment and choosing a preferred tip percentage from the drop-down menu. This feature might become more widespread if New York officials have their say; the Taxi and Limousine Commission has proposed requiring car services that only take credit cards to accept tips, the New York Times reports.

  • 7

    In My Estimation

    When you're sitting in the back of a cushy Uber, smug that you're not on the subway, it's easy to forget just how much you'll be paying for it later. Uber last year made it easier to know how much you'll be charged. But if you're at your laptop wondering if you should brave the cold or swing for an Uber, you can tap into Uber's fare estimator, which tells you how much your ride could cost across its various kinds of cars.

  • 8

    There Is Such a Thing As a Free Ride

    You can get free rides or money off rides if you invite friends to sign up for Uber. Go to the menu and then select Free Rides to see your promo code, which you can share with friends.

  • 9

    Easy Listening Rider

    You should probably let the driver listen to their own music, but if you must, Uber lets you play your own Spotify playlists (and tracks from Pandora). Just try to avoid these songs. Go to Settings > Connected Accounts > Connect Spotify.

  • 10

    Does Not Commute

    You can use commuter pre-tax benefits toward uberPool if your employer uses WageWorks, Edenred, Ameriflex, Benefit Resource, or Navia. Just enter your commuter benefits debit card to your account via Payments > Add Payment Method. Select Credit or Debit Card, add the information from the benefit card, and then select Save. Before you request a ride to or from work, go into Payments and select the card.
    Remember that because it is an uberPool you could be riding with up to six people, so allow some extra time in your schedule for pick-ups and drop-offs.

  • 11

    Pick Up Where You Left Off

    Did you move locations since you last requested that Uber? Dashed across the street for a hot dog? Slipped indoors out of the sun? You can let your driver know in the app. Go into the map, tap Pickup Location, and enter in a new address.

  • 12

    Plan Ahead

    Save some time with Calendar Shortcuts. Connect your calendar to Uber and upcoming meetings and appointments will show up as a "shortcut" on the bottom of Uber when you open the app. Just tap the one you're going to for a ride there (make sure that you enter an address for the event in your calendar app). If you don't see Calendar Shortcuts in your app yet, it should roll out soon.

  • 13

    On the Map

    If you're in Google Maps trying to figure out your next destination, there's no reason to leave it to request a ride. When you enter in your location and direction in Maps, you'll see transportation icons. Select the one of the figure with a bag hailing a ride. You'll be able to click on any one of the types of Ubers available in that area and can just hit Request to summon one.

  • 14

    Be Our Guest

    If you're hosting an event and you want to make it a fun, carefree one for your guests, you can take care of their transportation. Log onto Uber Events and fill out the form to get customized ride passes you can give to guests to use to get to and from your event. If they don't use the pass, you won't be out the cost of the ride.

  • 15

    Private Matter

    When an app knows where you're going and where you've been, privacy is a major concern. Uber has now put all its privacy settings—Location, Contacts, and Notifications—on one page. Go to Settings > Privacy Settings to choose when Uber and others can see your location, manage or remove contacts, and select what notifications you want to get from Uber and how.

  • 16

    #DeleteUber

    If none of this is compelling and you're still on team #DeleteUber, the ridesharing service has made it a tad easier to say farewell. Just go to the bottom of the Privacy Settings page and tap Delete Account.

Read more

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The new era in mobile

Joe Apprendi Contributor Joe Apprendi is a general partner at Revel Partners. More posts by this contributor Big data’s humble beginnings A future dominated by autonomous vehicles (AVs) is, for many experts, a foregone conclusion. Declarations that the automobile will become the next living room are almost as common — but, they are imprecise. In our inevitable driverless future, the more apt comparison is to the mobile device. As with smartphones, operating systems will go a long way toward determining what autonomous vehicles are and what they could be. For mobile app companies trying to seize on the coming AV opportunity, their future depends on how the OS landscape shapes up. By most measures, the mobile app economy is still growing, yet the time people spend using their apps is actually starting to dip. A recent study reported that overall app session activity grew only 6 percent in 2017, down from the 11 percent growth it reported in 2016. This trend suggests users are reaching a saturation point in terms of how much time they can devote to apps. The AV industry could reverse that. But just how mobile apps will penetrate this market and who will hold the keys in this new era of mobility is still very much in doubt. When it comes to a driverless future, multiple factors are now converging. Over the last few years, while app usage showed signs of stagnation, the push for driverless vehicles has only intensified. More cities are live-testing driverless software than ever, and investments in autonomous vehicle technology and software by tech giants like Google and Uber (measured in the billions) are starting to mature. And, after some reluctance, automakers have now embraced this idea of a driverless future. Expectations from all sides point to a “passenger economy” of mobility-as-a-service, which, by some estimates, may be worth as much as $7 trillion by 2050. For mobile app companies this suggests several interesting questions: Will smart cars, like smartphones before them, be forced to go “exclusive” with a single OS of record (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon/AGL), or will they be able to offer multiple OS/platforms of record based on app maturity or functionality? Or, will automakers simply step in to create their own closed loop operating systems, fragmenting the market completely? Automakers and tech companies clearly recognize the importance of “connected mobility.” Complicating the picture even further is the potential significance of an OS’s ability to support multiple Digital Assistants of Record (independent of the OS), as we see with Google Assistant now working on iOS. Obviously, voice NLP/U will be even more critical for smart car applications as compared to smart speakers and phones. Even in those established arenas the battle for OS dominance is only just beginning. Opening a new front in driverless vehicles could have a fascinating impact. Either way, the implications for mobile app companies are significant. Looking at the driverless landscape today there are several indications as to which direction the OSes in AVs will ultimately go. For example, after some initial inroads developing their own fleet of autonomous vehicles, Google has now focused almost all its efforts on autonomous driving software while striking numerous partnership deals with traditional automakers. Some automakers, however, are moving forward developing their own OSes. Volkswagen, for instance, announced that vw.OS will be introduced in VW brand electric cars from 2020 onward, with an eye toward autonomous driving functions. (VW also plans to launch a fleet of autonomous cars in 2019 to rival Uber.) Tesla, a leader in AV, is building its own unified hardware-software stack. Companies like Udacity, however, are building an “open-source” self-driving car tech. Mobileye and Baidu have a partnership in place to provide software for automobile manufacturers. Clearly, most smartphone apps would benefit from native integration, but there are several categories beyond music, voice and navigation that require significant hardware investment to natively integrate. Will automakers be interested in the Tesla model? If not, how will smart cars and apps (independent of OS/voice assistant) partner up? Given the hardware requirements necessary to enable native app functionality and optimal user experience, how will this force smart car manufacturers to work more seamlessly with platforms like AGL to ensure competitive advantage and differentiation? And, will this commoditize the OS dominance we see in smartphones today? It’s clearly still early days and — at least in the near term — multiple OS solutions will likely be employed until preferred solutions rise to the top. Regardless, automakers and tech companies clearly recognize the importance of “connected mobility.” Connectivity and vehicular mobility will very likely replace traditional auto values like speed, comfort and power. The combination of Wi-Fi hotspot and autonomous vehicles (let alone consumer/business choice of on-demand vehicles) will propel instant conversion/personalization of smart car environments to passenger preferences. And, while questions remain around the how and the who in this new era in mobile, it’s not hard to see the why. Americans already spend an average of 293 hours per year inside a car, and the average commute time has jumped around 20 percent since 1980. In a recent survey (conducted by Ipsos/GenPop) researchers found that in a driverless future people would spend roughly a third of the time communicating with friends and family or for business and online shopping. By 2030, it’s estimated the autonomous cars “will free up a mind-blowing 1.9 trillion minutes for passengers.” Another analysis suggested that even with just 10 percent adoption, driverless cars could account for $250 billion in driver productivity alone. Productivity in this sense extends well beyond personal entertainment and commerce and into the realm of business productivity. Use of integrated display (screen and heads-up) and voice will enable business multi-tasking from video conferencing, search, messaging, scheduling, travel booking, e-commerce and navigation. First-mover advantage goes to the mobile app companies that first bundle into a single compelling package information density, content access and mobility. An app company that can claim 10 to 15 percent of this market will be a significant player. For now, investors are throwing lots of money at possible winners in the autonomous automotive race, who, in turn, are beginning to define the shape of the mobile app landscape in a driverless future. In fact, what we’re seeing now looks a lot like the early days of smartphones with companies like Tesla, for example, applying an Apple -esque strategy for smart car versus smartphone. Will these OS/app marketplaces be dominated by a Tesla — or Google (for that matter) — and command a 30 percent revenue share from apps, or will auto manufacturers with proprietary platforms capitalize on this opportunity? Questions like these — while at the same time wondering just who the winners and losers in AV will be — mean investment and entrepreneurship in the mobile app sector is an extremely lucrative but risky gamble.

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