If you live in a major metropolitan city (and even if you don’t), you’re likely familiar with Uber. It’s an ridesharing service that’s available at the tap of a button, bringing a car to your location.
Uber’s available in 44 countries on six continents. Since hiring David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager, the startup is looking to expand its reach even further.
If you’ve never considered using Uber to get around your city, fear not. It’s an incredibly easy process. In just a few steps, you can be on your way from point A to point B in a private car.
Uber is a free app, available in the Apple App Store, Google Play, and in BlackBerry's App World.
Uber makes it incredibly easy for new users to sign up. You'll need to enter your name, email address, phone number, and your credit card information. You aren't paying for anything -- yet.
Uber's different rides come with different price tags, and can fit different numbers of people. Check to see what's available in your area. Uber's Black Car, its original vehicle, is a high-end sedan that fits four. SUV is Uber's bigger upscale option; it fits six people. Choosing 'taxi' will send you a taxi that has an arrangement with Uber. If you don't want to pay a lot, select UberX; it's Uber's 'budget' option, a normal car that fits four. UberXL is a low-cost option that fits six people.
Clicking into any of Uber's ride options shows you what you can expect to pay, how many people the car will fit, and the estimated time of arrival. It's good to check this information out before determining which car you need.
Entering your location lets you see which Uber vehicles are available around you. Uber works with Google Maps to determine your location, so you can drag and drop a pin onto the street grid map. Alternately, you can manually enter your address. You can watch Uber cars move around you in real time on the map to determine which is closest.
Once you select a car and enter your location, you can tell Uber where you want to go.
Though you already entered your credit card information when you signed up, you can choose to enter another card, or opt to pay with PayPal, GoogleWallet, or Uber Credits. Your ride will be charged to your card, so you'll never have a transaction with your driver during your ride. If you're taking Uber for work-related reasons and your company will expense your ride, there's an option for that, too.
It's always a good idea to check your fare quote to see what you'll approximately be paying. Uber is notorious for its surge pricing, an increase in Uber prices that happens when Uber's cars are most in demand. Surge pricing happens during holidays like New Year's Eve, or when the weather's bad and everyone's trying to get a quick ride home.
Tap the screen to request your car. Uber gives you an estimated time of arrival for your car, and will also provide you with your driver's number. You can call or text your driver. If you cancel after five minutes, you are charged a fee. However, if your driver will be more than 5 minutes late (based on Uber's ETA), you can cancel without paying a fee.
Uber will automatically notify you when your driver arrives at your requested address. And there's no need to tip at the end of your ride. If you're taking an Uber Taxi, a 20% tip will be added automatically.
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