Uber is one of the easiest ways to get a ride if you don’t want to drive. It’s faster than public transit, cheaper than taking a taxi, and more relaxing than driving yourself. And with Uber available in cities across the United States and world, you can get a ride almost anywhere.
For all its convenience, however, Uber isn’t free. And if you use the service on a regular basis, the cost can add up quickly. To help you keep your Uber rides economical, it’s wise to look at the different tools you can use to estimate your Uber ride fares.
Below, we’ll take a look at how Uber calculates fares, how you can estimate a fare for your next Uber ride, and the best Uber calculator out there.
How Uber Calculates Fares
To start, we need to understand how Uber calculates fares for its rides. For each ride, Uber considers the following variables when calculating the price:
- Base fare: This is a flat fee that you pay just for getting picked up.
- Time: This is simply the amount of time you spend in the ride.
- Distance: The distance the Uber vehicle travels from your pick-up location to drop-off location.
- Booking fee: This flat fee helps cover Uber’s administrative costs (such as background checks and overhead).
- Surge variable: If there are more Uber requests than available drivers, Uber will apply this multiplier to the price.
- Tips: If you decide to leave the driver a tip, this will get added onto your fare after the ride.
- Tolls and other fees: If your Uber driver has to pay a toll during a ride, Uber will charge you for it. This category also includes fees that airports charge Uber for the right to pick up passengers and any other relevant local fees.
Putting this all together, Uber calculates your ride fare using the following formula:
((base fare + time rate + distance rate) * surge multiplier) + booking fee + tolls and other fees
We should also note that the type of Uber ride you choose has a major impact on the price you pay. In fact, this affects the final price of your Uber ride more than any other factor (with the exception of a large surge). In general, an UberX ride will cost less than an higher-capacity UberXL ride, which will cost less than a high-end Uber service such as Uber Black or UberSUV.
3 Reasons to Use an Uber Calculator
So why would you want to use an Uber calculator? It’s not necessary, right? This is certainly true: You don’t need to get an Uber estimate before you take a ride. However, there are plenty of situations where getting a fare estimate can be helpful. Here are three of the most common:
1. Comparing Uber to Other Transportation Methods
While Uber is a very useful service, it’s not the only transportation method out there. Particularly if you live in a big city, you may find plenty of situations where you want to compare the cost of taking an Uber to driving or taking public transit.
In these cases, using an Uber fare estimator can be an easy way to see if the time you’ll save is worth the extra cost of an Uber. You’ll be able to immediately see the cost of an Uber ride and compare that to the rates for taking the bus, train, biking, or even walking (the last two of which are free but tend to take longer).
2. Deciding Whether to Go Out or Stay In
We’ve all had nights where we’re trying to decide between going out on the town and spending a quiet evening at home. Both can be fun ways to spend an evening, but going out will often involve the expense of taking an Uber.
If you’re in a situation where you just can’t decide, sometimes seeing how much an Uber costs will make the decision easy. This is especially useful if there’s a big event going on in the city and you want to see if it’s affecting ride prices.
3. Estimating Business Trip Costs
This final situation won’t apply to as many people, but it can still be useful if it does. When you’re taking a business trip, you’ll often have to submit a list of estimated expenses. This is especially true if you’re attempting to convince your company to let you attend a particular conference or training.
With an Uber fare estimator, you can quickly find out how much it will cost to take an Uber from the airport to your hotel, to the convention center, or even to get around the city during a trip. You can then reference these numbers in your trip proposal or other required pre-trip documentation.
3 Uber Calculators to Use (and How to Use Them)
Now that you understand why you’d want to use an Uber calculator, let’s examine three options you can use to estimate the cost of your next Uber ride. We’ll also briefly show you how you can use each tool to get a fare estimate.
1. The Uber App
We’ll start with the most basic option. If you have the Uber app, then you can use it to get a real-time estimate of your fare for a particular route. It only takes a few simple steps.
First, open the Uber app and enter your destination. In this instance, we’re estimating the cost of a trip between the Rockefeller Center and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City:
Once you’ve entered your destination and confirmed that your pickup location is correct, you’ll then be able to see an estimate of the fare for your selected ride type:
By default, this is UberX, but you can also change it to another Uber car option to get a precise estimate for that vehicle type. To see additional vehicle options, just swipe up.
2. The Uber Website
The next option you have for estimating your Uber fare is the calculator on the Uber website. This tool works much the same way as using the Uber app on your phone, except you can access it from the convenience of your computer.
To start, go to the Uber price estimator page:
Next, enter your pick-up location and destination. In this instance, we’ll be estimating the cost of a ride between Golden Gate Park and The Fillmore in San Francisco:
After you’ve done that, you’ll be able to see an estimate of your fare for some of the most popular Uber ride types, as well as a potential route:
If you want to see the estimated fares for another ride type, just click on “All rides”:
You’ll then be able to see a full list of estimated fares for the ride types available in your selected location:
3. The Ridester Fare Estimator
For our final pick, we have the Fare Estimator tool from our friends at Ridester.com. To see this tool in action, we’ll estimate the cost of a ride between the Walk of Fame and the Hollywood Palladium, two iconic landmarks in Los Angeles.
To start, visit the Ridester Fare Estimate website. You’ll see an interface that looks like this:
Next, enter your starting point and destination point:
Finally, click “Estimate Uber Fare”:
You’ll then be able to see fare estimates for your ride:
If you scroll down, you can also see a projected route for your trip:
Additionally, if you scroll down to the very bottom of the page, you can also click “Check Lyft Fare For This” to see an estimate of what it will cost to take Lyft for the same ride:
This can be quite useful if you’re trying to decide between Uber and Lyft for a given trip, as one can sometimes be cheaper than the other.
Use an Uber Calculator and Ride With Confidence
We hope this guide has shown you the power of estimating your Uber fare before you take a ride. As you can see, there are several tools that will help you achieve this goal, all of which we suggest you try the next time you need an Uber fare estimate.
Interested to learn more about how to use the Uber service? Check out our definitive guide to using Uber in 2019.