Uber, the popular ride-hailing startup, has taken the transportation world by storm since its launch in 2011. In many cities, the app makes it simple, fast and cheap to call for a car to transport you somewhere. The company has added a variety of options and price levels since it launched, from shared rides to upscale SUV and luxury car transportation.
How to Use Uber
To get started using Uber, download its app for your iPhone or Android smartphone using the iPhone App Store or Google Play store. The app prompts you to create an account with your email address, phone number and a password of your choice and to enter a credit or debit card to pay for your rides. If someone you know uses Uber, ask them for a referral code, and they receive a reward of Uber credit when you sign up. You usually receive a confirmation text message or email to confirm your information, and then the app is set up for you to order a ride.
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When you want to take a trip with Uber, open the app. It should show where you are as a pinpoint on a map. Tap the box that says "Where To" and type in your destination address or a place name, such as "Empire State Building." Choose between the types of available rides using a slider at the bottom of the app, potentially including the cheap UberX option, UberBlack luxury vehicles and UberPool, where your ride is cheaper but may be shared with people you don't know.
Tap request and double-check that your current location is accurate. The app gives you an estimate of how far away the driver is and shows the driver's approximate location on the map as the car approaches. The app also tells you the driver's name, type of car and its license plate number. When the driver arrives, verify the license plate number and get in to ride to your destination.
In many cases, the app gives you a price estimate before you order the ride. Make sure the price is one you feel comfortable paying. Prices can rise when demand increases, so it can be worth waiting a bit to see if prices come down if they seem high.
When you get out at your destination, you have the opportunity to give the driver a rating from one to five stars, add a tip or file a complaint about problems or inappropriate behavior.
How to Use Uber Credit
You receive Uber credits in a variety of ways, including by referring people to the service with your referral code, which is available in the app, or by entering special promotional codes from Uber.
To enter a promo code, go to the main menu in the Uber app, select "payment," scroll to "promotions" and tap "add promo code/gift code." Then enter the code. Promo codes are applied automatically to the next applicable trip.
To check credits currently on your account, select "payment" from the app menu and tap "Uber credits." Credits are applied automatically to your next trip with the remainder charged to your default payment card.
Can You Order an Uber in Advance?
You can order an Uber car in advance through the app's Scheduled Rides mode. At the start of a 15-minute window you specify, Uber automatically orders a car to the location you indicate.
To use this feature, open the app and click the icon of the car with a clock. Select a date and time, enter your pickup and drop-off points and review the estimate from Uber. If you agree with the price, tap "schedule" and await your ride.
According to Uber, there is a chance that you won't be matched with a driver for your scheduled ride. You receive a notification if this happens. You can't schedule a ride departing from an airport, although you can use the feature for rides to the airport.
Do You Sit in the Front or the Back of an Uber?
Most of the time, people sit in the back when riding in an Uber, as they do in a taxi. If you have multiple passengers or luggage you want to put in the back while someone rides up front or otherwise want to sit up front, ask your driver if it's OK.
People often ride up front with shared Uber Pool rides when several people are in the car.
Do You Still Tip Your Uber Driver?
You can tip your driver through the Uber app. The app asks you if you want to tip and how much you want to tip at the end of your trip. Tipping is optional, although many people feel it's a good way to reward prompt service.
You can also tip the driver in cash if you prefer and have cash handy.