Have you ever been sitting in a taxi, watching the meter run up, and wondering if it’s ever going to stop? Were you maybe wishing that you could have known beforehand how much it would have cost you for your ride? Have you ever stood outside in the rain, waiting for a cab that never showed up? Have you ever wished that your driver knew exactly where you were going, and never needed directions? Travis Kalanick and Garret Camp knew people who did, and that’s why they founded Uber in 2009.
So what exactly is Uber?
Uber is an independent taxicab company that hires drivers who use their personal vehicles while logged into the Uber app on a mobile device. Passengers request rides using the app, inputting pick-up and drop-off locations, and all payment is done through a pre-authorized credit card right through the app.
As of mid-2015, Uber is available in over 65 countries and 350 major cities and urban areas around the world, and is estimated to be worth over $50 billion US.
How Uber works: 6 ways you can utilize the convenience of Uber
1. Download the Uber app and sign up for a free Uber account.
Download the Uber app for your mobile device, such as your smart phone or tablet computer, and sign up for an account. It's fast, it's easy, and it's free!
2. You get to decide your Uber car type, as well as your pick-up and drop-off points.
No need to hail a taxi or meet one in a crowded urban area; YOU choose both where you want to be picked up and where you want to go. Plus, you can choose what kind of car you want to be picked up in, whether that's an economical low-end sedan, an SUV or van for carpooling, or a luxury car for riding in comfort and style.
3. Keep tabs on your Uber driver, so you'll know whom you're being picked up by, and when.
Know when you're going to be picked up, and by whom. Uber lets you track your driver's position and ETA, and it also shows you your driver's name, profile picture, license plate number, and type of car. Uber will even send you a notification when your car arrives!
4. Hitch a ride with another Uber user and cut the cost of your fare with UberPool.
Uber cars tend to be quicker and more reliable than regular taxis. But if you're more interested in saving money than saving time, then you can try UberPool. Get an Uber ride with a fellow Uber user who's going the same way that you are. In exchange for waiting for them to be dropped off before you are, you can cut your fare cost by up to half!
5. Take advantage of Uber promotions by referring your friends to Uber.
Uber also has plenty of promotional offers that you can use to reduce the cost of using it. You can apply some of them when you sign up for Uber, and others when you request a ride from Uber. You might even be able to get some of your Uber rides absolutely free!
6. Join Uber's fleet — be your own boss, and make money by driving in your spare time.
If you like to drive and have some spare time, why not become an Uber driver partner and make some money? As long as you fulfill some loose quotas for ride acceptance rates, you can work as a driver for Uber pretty much whenever it's convenient to you. Plus, you get to keep a whopping 80% of each of the fares that you collect!
That's our brief introduction to what Uber is and how it works! The rest of our Uber course will focus on how to get around with Uber, including how to download the Uber app, create an Uber account, request an Uber ride, and cancel an Uber pick-up (if you need to). We'll also explain some other features of Uber, such as their "surge pricing" and UberPool. Get ready to get on the road to a better taxi experience with Uber!