Uber’s Available Cities

One of the first things that you're probably going to want to know about Uber — should you want to use it — is "Is it available in my city?"  Seeing as Uber is now available in over 65 countries and over 350 cities and major urban areas around the world, chances are that they're available near you!

Uber has a comprehensive list of all cities and major urban areas in the world that it operates in, which you can find here.  For reference's sake, though, we'll list them here anyway.

North America

Central and South America

Europe, the Middle East, and Africa

Asia and the Pacific

How Much Does Uber Cost?

Since Uber uses a pricing structure similar to traditional taxicab companies, its prices vary depending on what city you're in, how far you're going, and/or how long it takes to get there.  Some of these will also be dependent on what level of Uber service you choose (see our UberX vs. UberSelect vs. UberTaxi vs. UberBlack article).

In addition, you may be charged extra if:

  • Your driver has to pay for driving on toll roads, picking you up or dropping you off at the airport, or finding a parking spot

  • You (or people/pets under your care) cause significant cosmetic or physical damage to your driver's car (usually between $50 and $200, depending on the extent of the damage)

  • You live in the U.S. or Canada, where a "Safe Rides Fee" helps Uber pay the operational costs of making sure that their drivers and app meet acceptable safety standards

  • Inclement weather, special events, or otherwise high demand for Uber taxis causes "surge pricing" (see our Uber Surge Pricing article for more information)

So how much does Uber cost?

On average, an Uber fare costs $24 U.S.  However, this is an average across all of its service areas and service tiers.  So if, for example, you only use the UberX service, which is Uber's least expensive service tier, then your fares may be significantly cheaper (usually more around $10).

How much does an UberX cost, on average?

As an example, we'll look at the costs for requesting an UberX (the least expensive tier of Uber service) car in five major American cities. Their rates are as follows:

  • Los Angeles, CA: $0 base fare, $0.18/minute time cost, $1.00/mile distance cost, $4.65 minimum fare.

  • New York City, NY: $3 base fare, $0.40/minute time cost, $2.15/mile distance cost, $8 minimum fare.

  • Grand Rapids, MI: $1 base fare, $0.15/minute time cost, $0.75/mile distance cost, $4.55 minimum fare.

  • Austin, TX: $1 base fare, $0.18/minute time cost, $1.10/mile distance cost, $2.30 minimum fare.

  • Denver, CO: $1 base fare, $0.16/minute time cost, $1.10/mile distance cost, $4.95 minimum fare.

As you can see, more densely-populated cities tend to have higher Uber fares, and the opposite is true for smaller cities.  You can check what the fares for your area will be by visiting https://www.uber.com/cities and clicking on the name of the city or urban area closest to you.  Then, scroll down and click on the tier of Uber service that you want the rates for.

Is Uber cheaper than a taxi?

Uber is usually a little bit cheaper than taking a traditional taxi.  In most cases, Uber fares can be up to 40% cheaper than traditional taxi fares.  In some cases, though, Uber fares can be almost double what they are for taxis, when you factor in extra costs.  This is especially true when "surge pricing" is in effect.

According to Uber, though, even if your fares are higher than with traditional taxis, there are still benefits to using Uber.  These benefits revolve around how much time and risk you save by using Uber, especially in crowded urban areas like Uber's headquarters of San Francisco, California.  Consider the following:

  • You can have an Uber taxi pick you up pretty much anywhere that is convenient to you.  With a traditional taxi, you usually have to meet one or flag one down in a busy urban area.  This not only likely increases the amount of time that it takes for the taxi to get to you, but it also likely inconveniences you because you have to walk through an area with lots of other cars (which can be unsafe and time-consuming).

  • Uber taxis usually show up faster than traditional taxis.  95% of Uber taxis show up less than 15 minutes after a ride request is made, and nearly all of them (99.98%) show up in less than 30 minutes.  The average taxi rates for these two times are 27% and 63%, respectively.  If you're looking to flag a taxi down instead of calling for one from dispatch, those rates climb to 59% and 88%, respectively… but they're still not better than Uber's numbers.

  • Uber is more reliable (or at least more honest) when it comes to whether or not your taxi actually arrives.  Over 35% of all traditional taxis called from dispatch never actually make it to their pick-up points.  With Uber, if there is no driver currently available in your immediate area, you will be informed of this, and your ride request will not be accepted.  Plus, if you do successfully complete a ride request, you can also use the Uber app to track where your taxi actually is.

  • When you finish riding in a traditional taxi, you have to spend time fumbling around in your wallet or purse for money or a credit card with which to pay your fare.  With Uber, your driver will use the Uber app to automatically charge the credit card on your Uber account, so you can just get out and go!

How does Uber make money?

Uber makes money using a commission-based system.  Passengers pay fares based on how far and how long they travel, and then Uber takes a 20% commission from the driver’s earnings for each ride that they complete.  Some additional fees, such as "Surge Pricing", increase passenger fares and, thus, Uber’s earnings.

Also, like many other technology start-ups (like us here at Techboomers!), Uber got the money they needed to get going from investors who liked their idea, including Google, First Round Capital, and popular Chinese search engine company Baidu.\


That's a bit of information about the costs and financial workings associated with Uber!

Is Uber Safe?

Now that we've introduced and reviewed Uber, you may be thinking by now that it would be a nice alternative to traditional taxi services. After all, it is much more convenient, and (in a lot of cases) can save you a lot of money on cab fares. One major difference between traditional taxi services and Uber is that the drivers use their personal vehicles, and require no formal training to be employed. Uber may be a great alternative to your usual taxi, but how safe is Uber really?

Is Uber safe to use? 

Uber is safe to use because it provides users with their driver’s picture, license plate, and car make and model. Its two-way rating system helps with accountability, and any issues with drivers or passengers can be reported instantly using the app. As long as reasonable precautions are taken, you should be safe.

Uber states that they are "committed to safely connecting riders and drivers".  They conduct multiple background checks on all drivers that they hire to make sure that they have a clean criminal record, as well as a clean record when it comes to driving vehicles.  And they make sure that all of their drivers have required end-to-end liability insurance. 

Both drivers and riders are registered in the Uber system, so there isn't as much mystery regarding whom one is picking up or being driven by.  In addition, Uber has established guidelines for both vehicle and personal safety, so that both drivers and passengers can feel safe and enjoy their Uber trip together.  Finally, Uber drivers and riders can rate each other, so abusive individuals are weeded out and removed from the system.

Uber safety issues

However, safety issues have been brought up with regards to whom Uber hires as drivers, especially because Uber drivers use their own cars and trucks.  In some areas, the only requirements for becoming an Uber driver are being old enough and healthy enough to drive, having a valid driver's license, and passing a criminal background check.  (See our How to Become an Uber Driver tutorial for a more detailed explanation.) 

Therefore, there are some who have expressed concerns with Uber's drivers potentially not being as strictly regulated as traditional taxicab drivers.  Their complaints revolve around a lack of things such as supplementary taxicab driver training and licensing, as well as insurance (taxicab-specific or otherwise) and car condition.

4 tips for staying safe while using Uber

Overall, Uber is about as safe as the traditional taxi service that it emulates, and perhaps even more so.  Just in case, though, we've provided some extra tips that can make your ride with Uber as safe as possible.

1. Wait in a safe place for your Uber driver to arrive.

One of the benefits of using Uber instead of a traditional taxicab service is that you can get an Uber driver to pick you up pretty much anywhere that's convenient to you.  This saves you the trouble of having to wait for a taxi in an unsafe neighbourhood, or in an overly-busy urban area where traffic might pose a hazard to you.  You can even wait inside a building if you want, and Uber will notify you when your driver arrives to pick you up.

2. Make sure that you're getting picked up by the right driver and car.

The Uber app allows you to see the first name, profile picture, license plate number, and car picture for your driver.  Make sure that all of these things match when your driver arrives.  If you can, also see if you can get your driver to recognize you by name.  All of this is to make sure that you are being picked up by an actual Uber driver.  This is especially important because most Uber cars do not have distinctive markings, unlike traditional taxicabs.

More generally, you can also use the Uber app to track the car that your ride request is sent to.  This helps you avoid drivers who show up suspiciously early or that claim that you flagged them down (or were supposed to); Uber drivers are not allowed to respond to flag-downs.

3. Stay in touch with someone you trust.

Your Uber driver will most likely be relatively unfamiliar to you, so it wouldn't hurt to have someone you trust on standby as a backup.  Make sure that person knows where you are and where you're going before you get in your Uber car.  Also make sure that your phone is fully charged and that your confidant has a method of getting in touch with you available.  This lets either of you contact the other and check up on how things are going, or perhaps even intervene in case of an emergency.

4. Use the Uber driver rating system to address concerns.

In addition to your Uber driver's identifying information, the Uber app will also show you the rating score that the driver has been given by people who have ridden with that driver before.  We don't necessarily suggest cancelling your Uber ride if your driver's rating is low (though you can if you want to; see our How to Cancel an Uber Ride tutorial), but if you have a poor experience while riding, you can anonymously rate your driver appropriately (we will explain how in our How to Use Uber tutorial).  This may help warn others about the driver, and perhaps lead to them getting a performance review.

In the unlikely event that something egregious happens that makes you feel unsafe, we would recommend contacting Uber directly (see our How to Contact Uber Customer Service tutorial).  You may also want to contact your regional law enforcement department.


That's our primer on safety while using Uber!

Uber Review

We've told you a bit about what Uber is already, so the question is: should you use it over traditional taxi services?  Here are some points to consider before making that decision.


  • Easily accessible — Uber is available in over 65 countries and 350 metropolitan areas worldwide.  Just download the Uber app, sign up for an account, and you're good to go!

  • You're in control — When you request an Uber car, you choose where you want to be picked up, where you want to go, and what general class of car you want to get you there (from what is available).   That means no going into seedy neighbourhoods or busy urban areas to meet or flag down a taxi.  Plus, there's no need to pay your driver when you get out — your credit card is automatically charged.

  • Get the need-to-know info — The Uber app will show you where your driver is and how far away they are from your pick-up or drop-off point.  You can also see their (first) name, profile picture, license plate number, car type, and user rating.  Uber will also send you a notification when your driver has arrived at the pick-up point.  This means that you can be sure to get in the right car at the right time, every time.

  • Share a ride, save some cash — If you're not in a huge hurry, you can use the "UberPool" function to request to be picked up by an Uber driver who is already taking on a ride from another user (if they have room available).  You will have to wait until the other person is dropped off before the driver takes you to your destination, but on the upside, your fare will cost up to 50% less!


  • Keep an eye on your credit card balance — Uber's prices depend on a number of factors, and can vary greatly as a result.  Sometimes, Uber can be cheaper than traditional taxis, but other times, it can cost twice as much, or even more.  This is especially true with surge pricing during high-demand times, such as holidays and weekends, where demand for Uber rides can outstrip the supply of Uber drivers and send the cost of Uber fares skyrocketing.

  • We're on a tight schedule — Uber cars are usually faster and more reliable than traditional taxis, but that also means that their timing is tight.  You will only have about 5 minutes to cancel a ride request to Uber should you no longer want one, in order to avoid a cancellation fee.  In addition, Uber drivers will only wait about 2 to 5 minutes for you after they arrive.  If you don't show up, they may cancel your ride and drive off, leaving you with no ride and a cancellation fee to pay.

  • You can't always get what you want — Not all tiers of Uber service are available in all locations.  Usually, larger metropolitan areas will have more options, while smaller urban areas may only have access to Uber's most basic services (UberX, or maybe UberXL too).

The bottom line: 8/10

Uber is a radical new idea that is changing the face of transportation worldwide.  It's easy to sign up for and use, and it's available in many places around the globe.  It gives passengers greater control by allowing them to select their service level and where they want to be picked up, as well as allowing them to track where their ride is and how long it will take to get them to their pick-up or drop-off point.  In addition, passengers can see their driver's info and leave anonymous feedback after the ride, so there is an element of accountability in the process.  Finally, if you're worried about money, you can split your fares with other Uber passengers, or even work for Uber yourself and make some money on the side!

Not everything about Uber is as relaxing as a Sunday drive, though.  Uber is experimenting with some unique business models, and many of them often result in fares that are twice the price (or more) of traditional taxi fares.  The trade-off, Uber says, is that their cars are quicker and more reliable than traditional taxis, but there's a flip side to that benefit, too.  Uber drivers are on tight schedules, so you have to be quick when cancelling a ride or meeting your Uber car for pickup, or else you'll get dinged with cancellation fees, and maybe even lose your ride. 

Finally, Uber has met resistance from taxicab companies and public transportation organizations in certain areas around the globe over licensing and safety regulations.  As a result, its services aren't available in some areas, or at least (more commonly) certain tiers of its services are unavailable due to Uber's inability to get proper licensing for them.

All of this is to say that Uber is a great choice if you value your time more than your money, and don't mind paying a little extra to get somewhere quickly and conveniently.  And hey, you might even pay less for your Uber ride than you would a traditional taxi, depending on where you are and how far you're going.  Using tricks like promotional codes and fare-split carpooling can help bring down the cost of your ride, as well.

What is Uber and How Does it Work?

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!