Uber has always marketed itself as an on-demand service.
Need a ride?
Open your smartphone, book a ride, and a car will appear shortly to whisk you away.
But what if you don’t need a car now?
What if you need a ride tomorrow?
Uber has your back there as well.
They’ve worked to implement and improve their scheduled rides feature, letting Uber users book rides well in advance for airport trips, job interviews, or any other event where you’ll want to make sure an Uber is there when you need it.
This article will serve as a comprehensive guide on how to schedule rides with Uber.
We’ll walk you through how to schedule — and cancel — an Uber, and explain the fees and surge pricing that can occur when booking with Uber.
We’ll also give you a rundown of the Uber Scheduled Ride Pickup Guarantee, and answer some FAQs.
How to Schedule Uber Rides (or Cancel Them)
You’ve got an important place to be, and you want to schedule Uber to make sure you’re there on time.
Let’s give you a brief walk through of the scheduling feature on the app, plus how to cancel if plans change.
Scheduling an Uber
Scheduling an Uber is easy with the app, as the company has made it a feature you can access right from the main page when you open the app.
Below, we’ll demonstrate with screenshots on the iPhone app, but the Android app has the same process.
To start, open up the Uber app.
Next to “Where to?,” you should notice a button that says “Schedule.”
If you have an older version of the app and haven’t updated it, this will look like a clock icon.
Once you tap that, a menu will pop up that will allow you to select a date and time up to one month in the future.
It looks like this:
You’ll notice that these time slots come in 5-minute windows.
(This used to be a 10-minute pickup window, so it’s a nice upgrade.)
Once you’ve found the one you like, tap “continue” to select your time.
On older versions of the app, this will say “set pickup time.”
You’ve now got your date and time set.
But the app still needs to know where to pick you up.
It will automatically set the location to your current location, so if you’re scheduling where you’re getting picked up, you’ll be fine.
If you’re somewhere different, tap “current location,” which will allow you to change to the appropriate pickup location.
Once you’ve got your pickup location set, add the destination that you’d like to travel to.
After you’ve done that, it’s time to review your ride.
On the next page, double check all the information to make sure the date, time, pickup, and dropoff locations are all correct.
Here you’ll also review the pricing of your fare, and select which Uber ride type you’d like to take.
At the bottom, you’ll be able to select which credit card you want to pay for the ride with.
Once you’ve confirmed all that information is correct, tap “Schedule Your UberX.”
You’ve made your ride request, and you’re all set.
There won’t be any day-of confirmations, so remember you booked it — that Uber will be showing up and if you’re not there, you’ll be charged a no-show fee.
Canceling a Scheduled Uber
You’ve scheduled an Uber, but something has come up.
Maybe a flight was canceled, or a coworker booked another form of transportation for you.
No worries: Uber makes it easy.
To cancel an upcoming Uber, first click on the menu in the top left corner of the app.
It’s marked by three horizontal lines in a small icon.
From the menu that pops up, select “Your Trips.”
In the top right hand corner, you’ll see a drop down menu that says “Past.”
If you tap on the that, it will drop down, and you’ll be able to select “Upcoming.”
On the next page, you’ll see any scheduled rides you have.
There will be options to “Cancel Ride” or “Edit Time” there, and you can easily cancel or augment your scheduled ride.
As long as you cancel ahead of time, there will not be any cancellation fees.
If you cancel after the driver has already been matched with the trip (which will occur a few minutes before your pickup, usually), standard cancellation fees will apply.
Fees and Surge Pricing
There are no special fees for an Uber scheduled ride.
That being said, it’s important to remember that you can’t lock in an Uber price ahead of time.
When you schedule an Uber, you’ll receive a fare estimate.
This is Uber’s best guess as to what your ride will cost based on the normal costs associated with a ride of that distance in your area.
That isn’t a set price, however.
It’s an estimate.
Uber scheduled rides are still subject to Uber’s surge pricing, should it be in effect.
Surge pricing is Uber’s way of handling a large volume of riders, or short supply of drivers, and can result in a significant price increase.
Read more in our guide to Uber fees and pricing.
The app will notify you if surge pricing is in effect for a scheduled ride, but it’s still important to remember that it could be a factor for your scheduled ride, especially if you book during a busy time like rush hour, or after a sporting event or concert.
Are Scheduled Ubers Reliable?
So now we know how to book an Uber ahead of time, and understand how its pricing works.
But the question remains: Will the Uber be there when it needs to be there?
If you’ve got a massively important meeting, you’re going to want to make sure that your scheduled Uber is going to be there on time.
On the one hand, Uber drivers are equipped with state-of-the-art GPS on their phones, and won’t get lost.
This is a plus.
On the other hand, Uber, like most rideshare services, classifies its drivers as independent contractors.
Because of that, Uber cannot mandate when its drivers are on the road.
This can present issues when it comes to scheduling.
That’s the thing with Uber — the company cannot demand that a certain driver be up and at your hotel at a certain point in time.
Rather, the day of your trip, they will see which drivers are on the road and assign your ride at that time.
If you’re in one of the top business travel cities with a ton of drivers on the road, this shouldn’t be an issue.
They’ll call one of the many Ubers to your location, and you’ll get picked up.
If you’re in a remote or suburban area, however, or one with a limited Uber presence, Uber can only dispatch the drivers that are on the road.
If there are only a few in town, and they’re already out on rides, you could be in trouble.
In that case, booking a traditional livery or cab service might be a better option.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve covered Uber, scheduled rides, and how to make them happen.
Let’s get to some frequently asked questions about scheduling pickups with Uber.
1. Can I schedule any kind of Uber ride?
Yes, with one notable exception: You can’t schedule an UberPool — Uber’s carpool shared ride option — ahead of time.
The reasons for this are likely twofold.
First, if you’re scheduling ahead of time, odds are that you need to be somewhere at a specific time, and the unpredictable nature of an UberPool arrival would make that hard to guarantee.
And second, it’s harder to schedule multiple riders ahead of time and complicates things for your Uber driver
2. How far into the future can I schedule a ride?
Uber limits you to 30 days in advance when selecting a pickup date.
This is to simplify things on their end and make sure they don’t have people booking dates way in the future and then forgetting about them.
You may notice when booking with the app that you can select any date in the future.
But fair warning: The menu will revert it back to one month out if you tap on a date that’s too far ahead.
That’s another reason why it’s always important to double check the date before scheduling a ride.
3. Does Lyft do scheduled rides?
Yep, they have a similar feature on their app, which is detailed on their website.
Lyft only allows passengers to schedule a Lyft ride one week in advance, but otherwise, the feature is more or less the exact same.
This includes the risks of booking ahead with Uber — a Lyft driver will be dispatched the day of, and won’t be locked in ahead of time.
Plan Ahead With Uber
Business travelers, planners, or people catching an early flight will often rest easier knowing that they have a ride booked ahead of time.
Uber has made it easy to schedule rides, giving you a 30-day window to plan ahead for your trip.
While the price will only be an estimate, and there are risks when it comes to booking ahead with a ridesharing service, it can be a good way to lock in a ride ahead of time and know that Uber will be there when you need them.