Your Ultimate Guide: Uber for Dummies

City Guide


Written by Francesca Bond

Published on June 29, 2017

RIDESHARING IS FINALLY HERE. Yes, Buffalo, the day has come. We no longer have to nod our heads in shame when out-of-towners ask us to call an Uber. Ridesharing is now available and we’re here to show you the in’s and out’s of these apps because, to be honest, they’re not that simple (especially at 2 am). 🙂
What to do first: Download the app and put in your credit card information. They will automatically charge your card for each ride, so this is vital. When it comes to leave your Uber, no need to pull out your wad of cash, swipe your card, or waste another second – all payments are handled automatically on your smartphone.
Pro tip: if you have a friend with the app already, have them share their personal discount code with you. You’ll get the first ride for free and they get Uber credit. Win-win.


How do I request a ride?

Search for your destination by typing in the address or name of the place in the search bar. Then you will select which kind of Uber you want and it will give you a fare estimate for each. Click “Request Uber”, and make sure to drop the pin exactly at your desired pick-up location. The ridesharing car will come pick you up based on your GPS location, giving you minute-by-minute updates on when your driver is set to arrive.


What are the differences between UberX, UberXL, Uber Black and the others?

Chances are, you’re usually going to go with the cheapest one (and we don’t blame you). However, it doesn’t hurt knowing what all the Uber options are. Here’s a breakdown:

  • UberX – This is your standard Uber. It’s the least expensive option and seats up to four passengers. The key word here is four.
  • UberXL – More expensive than the X, UberXLs are usually SUVs and minivans, and seat up to six people (vs. four). These are ideal for large groups, or if you want more legroom. (Pro tip: This isn’t the mid-90s and therefore you can’t just squeeze more people into the car than there are seats. So we suggest just springing for the XL if you’re rolling deep.)
  • Uber Select – If you’re the kind of person where a night on the town isn’t complete without a sweet ride, this is the one for you. More expensive than the previous two, Uber select seats up to four people and the cars are nicer.
  • Uber POOL – Sharing a ride with another Uber user. You can share any Uber between your friends, but this one allows you to share your ride between random users heading in the same direction. Cost-effective.
  • Uber Black – Uber’s most expensive option, these cars are generally black SUVs or luxury sedans. This is the definition of luxury.



How do I split the cost of my ride with my friends?

Nobody wants to be the friend stuck paying the Uber bill, so luckily, you can share the Uber cost with your friends. One friend has to request the Uber, then they have to tap the “up arrow” next to the Driver’s info. Select “split fare” option, choose friends, and tap each of them who are splitting the fare. Then, each friend just has to open the link in a text they’ll receive from Uber, get taken to the Uber app (if they don’t have an account yet they’ll have to set one up) and accept the charge.


Can I cancel an Uber ride?

Yes, but you’ll have to do it very quickly.
If you cancel a ride before a driver has been found, there will be no cancellation fee. If you cancel a ride five minutes or more after finding a driver, you may be charged a cancellation fee, which ranges from $5 to $10.

Does Uber cost more when there’s an event?

Unfortunately, yes. Uber has surge pricing, so when there is a surge in demand (i.e. Canalside concert, prime pick-up times, late night on Chippewa…. we’re just guessing here…) the price will likely increase. Luckily, you can always see the cost of an Uber before you order it, and that will never change.


How do I know if my Uber driver will be good?

Ratings! One of Uber’s claims to fame is their rating service. After each Uber ride, the passenger and driver rate each other. So, if you had a bad experience, warn the rest of the city of the driver by giving them a low rating. Did you have an awesome experience? Let people know! For example, our first Uber in the Queen City was complete with a back seat phone charger and chilled water bottles for our enjoyment.
Keep in mind, the driver can rate you too and if you have a bad score, drivers can deny driving you. This ensures we’re all on our best behavior.

Other pro tips:

  • Uber will let you know the make, model, and license plate number of your car, as well as the driver’s name and a photo of them. Make sure the car is actually your Uber before getting in to stay extra safe.
  • Tipping – Uber does offer a tipping option, though it is not expected (you can also tip in cash).
  • Uber charges cleaning fees, so don’t spill beverages or food in your Uber’s car (or um… throw up after a long night out). These are the drivers’ actual cars so try to keep that in mind before being messy.
  • The Uber app uses your phone’s location services the whole time so it drains your battery, trust me. We suggest investing in a portable charger if you’re going to make Uber a part of your regular routine, or carrying a phone charger around. Some Uber drivers have chargers in their car you can use. Hallelujah.
  • Uber drivers are often the best kind of tour guide. Most are friendly and love to chat. Ask ’em about their favorite places to go, things to do in the area, and places to eat, just like you would in a new city! You never know what you might learn.
Written by <a href="" target="_self">Francesca Bond</a>

Written by Francesca Bond

Francesca was a Step Out Buffalo intern in 2017.
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