How does Uber Calculate (Estimate) your Fare - Explained

(Bick Bhangoo) #1

If you are an Uber customer, you will most probably think you know what it costs you to ride. However, there are some issues within the costing process that you should be aware of, which will enable you to estimate the cost for a ride. This knowledge will be especially useful when dealing with pre-quotes and other such deals that Uber offers now and then. The Uber app gives you a good breakdown, so let's take a look at how your fee is constructed.

The Uber Fare Construct

Base Fare : this is the flat fee that Uber charges for each ride, it varies according to the car category UberX, Uber Black, SUV, etc.

Cost per Minute : This is what Uber charges for every minute from the moment the ride begins. It takes into account traffic and other circumstances that can cause a ride to take longer than expected.

Cost per Mile : This is what Uber charges for every mile drive. Drivers usually take the fastest route, but when traffic or other instructions are foreseen, they will choose a different route. Uber charges for the shortest distance in a pre-quote fare.

Booking Fee : This is an extra fee that Uber charges to cover its operational costs. It is not included in Uber Black and SUV fares.

Surge Price : This is an additional multiplier that is added when there is a lot of strain in the system, basically a supply and demand function. So if you are in a surge area, your overall fee can multiply by up to x3.

Tipping : This is purely optional, while there is an Uber tipping platform, the passenger can give the driver cash at their discretion.

The Fare is calculated like this:

  • Base Fare + ((Cost per minute x time of the ride) + (cost per mile x ride distance) x surge boost multiplier) + booking fee = Passengers Ride Fare

Minimum Fare

There is a minimum fare rate that is set to assure a certain level of income for the Uber driver. This varies per city and is based on the above calculation being no lower than the minimum fee. If the total is lower, then you will be charged the minimum price.

Up Front Fare and Quote

Uber has developed an upfront fare estimator that calculates how much a ride will cost based on all the above parameters stored in its memory. This historical data takes into account all the variables and the time the passenger makes the call adds into the equation surge and traffic factors. So a basic calculation will always be used as the baseline, most probably the baseline will increase due to traffic and surge fluctuations.

To get an estimation, all you need to do is open the app and supply a destination, and the app will calculate the ride. Uber has been known to add a random sum for extra income, and this is not an exact science, more of a random number generator based on the overall price and with hopes that the passenger agrees. Uber does not provide detailed information on how the prices are reached, so you are in the dark on the overall cost, but if you know the time and mileage, and you know the base fare and fees, you can work it out and see the difference.

How to receive an uber estimate:

  1. Open your Uber app
  2. Input the destination
  3. You will get the estimate. If you scroll the screen to the side, you will see how the estimate is broken down.

Uber pricing is dependant on every category and city. So there is a lot of variances, in other words, a user in NY will receive a different price to a user in Seattle. Add to that the various services that include UberX, Uber XL, Uber Select, Uber BlackCar, Uber SUV and Uber Pool.


As of July and part of Ubers 180 days of the change, they added a tipping feature to the app. Passengers can now pay tips directly via the app or in cash to the driver.Tips are purely discretional, but tipping is urged as a sign of appreciation.

  1. Always wait until the ride is over and you are ready to leave the car.
  2. Rate your driver, and remember, a 4-star rating is bad! In fact, it's like this: Anything under 4.6 is considered to be an unsuccessful ride. So when a passenger rates less than 5, Uber expects feedback to explain the rating.
  3. Tip the driver in the next screen; the passenger can select one of three options: no tip, a pre-set tip or a personal tip amount. The passenger can tip in cash if they prefer.

Using Uber webs site for city details

If you want to check out city-specific details you can go to Uber's website, and check out the fares specific to that city:

  1. Enter
  2. Select the city you want to check
  3. Choose "Get Fare Estimate"
  4. Input your pickup and drop off locations
  5. Hover your mouse over the question mark (?)
  6. You will get the fare estimates rates for the service chosen

For Uber app:

  1. Open Uber app
  2. Input your destination, (It will use your location as the indicator)
  3. Choose the Uber service you want
  4. Tap on the (i) icon that is next to the fare estimate, and it will give you a breakdown of the fare.

Using Uber app for scheduling a ride

The Uber app now allows passengers to pre-order a ride, a scheduled ride and it will be dealt with by the company, allowing the passenger eas of mind that they will have a driver at any given moment without worrying about requesting in a surge.

Just be aware that this is a marketing trick, in fact, o driver claims the ride beforehand, it is scheduled to go off as a standard request enough time before the ride should start, and estimate the notification based on driver availability.

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