How Much Does Uber Cost? Everything You Need to Know
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are poaching rides from taxis and car services in large cities across the United States like New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago. One of the reasons for their popularity is the ability to summon a car to your location. Another is knowing how much your Uber costs before you begin the ride.
Knowing how long and how much your ride will be is an important feature for Uber riders. These details matter whether you’re sharing an UberPOOL with strangers or need an Uber XL to transport a large party. This article will walk you through everything you need to know about how much Uber costs from the Uber price estimator to tipping to paying for your Uber ride.
How Much Does Uber Cost?
How much your Uber ride costs depends on a range of factors. These factors include:
- The Base Fare: a flat fee which covers the price of pick up, similar to a taxi
- Time in the vehicle: the amount of time you’re actually in the vehicle charged by the minute
- Distance traveled: how far the vehicle traveled during your trip charged by the mile
- Booking fee: a flat fee which helps cover administrative costs (not charged for UberBLACK or UberSUV)
- Any applicable surge fees: if driver supply is less than demand for rides, a price multiplier goes into effect
- Tipping (optional): If you choose to leave the driver a tip, this is added to the cost of the ride
All of these factors combined result in the fare you pay for your Uber ride. Uber calculates the cost of your Uber ride using the following formula:
((Base fare + time rate + distance rate) * surge multiplier) + tolls and other fees = your Uber cost
The type of Uber vehicle you choose will also impact your fare. For example, a standard UberX will cost less than an UberBLACK, which is a more high-end service. If you’re price sensitive, UberPOOL generally has the lowest of all Uber rates.
Uber Tolls and Fees
There are additional tolls and fees you should know about when you’re requesting an Uber ride. Many riders are surprised to learn that they are responsible for the cost of any tolls but will not be expected to have appropriate cash or coins handy.
If your driver takes a toll road, the cost of that toll will be automatically added to your total cost. You’ll be able to see these toll costs in your price breakdown. Tolls can vary based on your car type so it’s possible to pay a higher toll for an Uber trip in an UberXL than in a standard Uber.
The most important Uber fee that sometimes catches new riders by surprise is the cancellation fee. This is a fee which is automatically charged to your account if you cancel an Uber ride more than two minutes after requesting it or when you take five minutes or longer to get into the Uber car. The cancellation fee on average costs $5.
The Uber Price Estimator
Fortunately for every Uber rider, you don’t have to do these calculations yourself. Uber provides an Uber Price Estimator tool in the Uber app so you can see the cost of any Uber ride prior to confirming it.
Uber pricing for various ride options can be significantly different based on the number of available drivers and the current demand for a specific level of Uber service.
To check the Uber Price Estimate for your Uber trip on the Uber website, you should:
- Open uber.com/cities and choose your city
- Select “Get a Fare Estimate”
- Enter your pick up location and your dropoff location
- You can click on the small question mark (?) next to each fare estimate in order to see a breakdown of the rate for that Uber service
In the Uber App
In order to see the Uber Price Estimate for your Uber ride in the Uber app, you’ll need to:
- Open the Uber app
- Enter your dropoff location in the “Where to?” box
- Verify your pick up location is the current location
- If your ride has a starting point other than your current location, update the pick up location
- Check the fare estimates quoted for the different Uber services available for your ride
- You can tap on an Uber fare estimate to see a breakdown of the total cost
Do Price Estimates Change?
Estimated prices are calculated in real time and can change from minute to minute based on factors such as increased demand or an accident along your route causing more traffic. It’s rare for estimated prices to change significantly in short periods of time and once you book your ride, your price is locked in no matter what external factors change.
If you’re getting a price estimate for a ride hours or days in advance, it is very likely the estimate will change along with factors such as driver availability, rider demand, and traffic. These changes can be dramatic when surge pricing comes into play. The Uber Price Estimator will give you the most accurate price estimate it can based on current information about the ride you want to know about, but as factors change, so will your Uber price.
Does the Price Estimate Include a Tip?
No, the estimated price does not include a tip. As tipping is officially at the rider’s discretion, Uber will not include it in a price estimate. You can leave as much or as little as you would like as a tip but many Uber drivers do expect it as a sign of a job well done.
How to Tip Your Uber Driver
If you’d like to tip your Uber driver, you can do electronically through the Uber app or in cash. To tip your Uber driver in the app:
- Wait for your ride to end
- Rate your driver through the rating feature at the bottom of the home screen
- Once your rating is submitted, you can choose from a suggested tip amount or enter a custom tip amount
You can also always slip your driver a cash tip. Whether you choose to tip through the app or in cash, your Uber driver will receive 100 percent of the tip.
How to Pay for Your Uber Ride
Uber accepts most of the common forms of payment. These include:
- Most major credit cards
- Apple Pay
- American Express Points
- Gift cards and vouchers
If you have a promo code, you will need to apply it prior to booking your ride. Once your Uber trip is confirmed, your Uber estimate becomes a set price which will be charged to your credit card or other payment method. Promo codes can not be applied to rides which have already been completed.
Booking Without an Uber Cost Estimate
It is possible to book an Uber ride without checking the Uber fare estimate in the Uber Price Estimator. If you’re in a hurry, you can just enter your pickup location and destination address and book a car immediately.
If you do that, Uber will ask you to give the fare calculator a few seconds to deliver your cost estimate. Uber does this because it wants you to agree in advance to the price and not have sticker shock at the end of the ride if your Uber trip was more expensive than you were expecting.
The Uber Cost Estimate Works to Your Advantage
Generally giving the Uber Fare Estimator a few seconds to give you a firm quote for your ride right now is well worth the few seconds it takes. After all, once you and Uber agree on a price, that’s what you pay, regardless of any new traffic or surge pricing that happens during your ride.
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