How much does Uber Cost? Uber Upfront Pricing, Estimate, Fees and Rates Explained

(Brandon Bhangoo) #1

This is one of the main questions that surrounds Uber and all rideshare driving. What does an Uber ride cost? It should be easy to answers since it is not rocket science, it is straightforward mathematics in an accountancy situation. So, I decided to review this question in depth for you and provide you with a competing answer.

These are the subjects I will cover so you can fully comprehend the pricing system.

  1. Pricing variables: What makes up a complete Uber fare

  2. Uber rates: The variances in Uber's pricing

  3. Upfront pricing: How to understand the process

  4. Uber estimate: An introduction toUber's calculator and fare estimator

  5. Example Uber Fare: I will use the data presented to show a fare

  6. Pricing Variables

Calculating an Uber fare is simple, here goes:

  1. Base fare: This is the Uber flat fee that all rides start from, it is a minimum fee.
  2. Ride Time: Uber charges a rate per hour (or minute)
  3. Distance: Uber charges a rate per mile
  4. Booking fee: This is Uber's operation income fee, goes entirely to Uber.
  5. SURGE variable: When the market is saturated by requests, then the surge price is added, it is a multiplier such as x1.5, x2
  6. Tipping: Tipping is voluntary, and you reach it after you rate the driver in your app.

Here is the calculation:

((base fare + time rate + distance rate) * surge multiplier) + tolls and other fees.

These fares will different based on the Uber category you choose, so if you opt for UberX you will get the lowest private car fee, if you go for ExpressPOOL you will pay the lowest public ride type and if you live in a city with UberLux you will pay a fortune to ride in a fancy car.

The main factor in a ride is the mileage; this is what costs you more than time. Drivers prefer long rides that are traffic free to maximize income and dread slow drives with short distances due to traffic.

Uber Safe Ride fee is Uber Booking fee

The safe ride fee is an Uber scam to take more money to cover operational costs that should be part of their fare income but prefer to give it another name other than "booking fee." It's pure psychology, small amounts, even when banded together look smaller than one larger amount, that might be less than the total of the smaller amounts. Uber claims that this fee is used to cover the costs of their driver's application process, vehicle inspections and insurance policy payments. This fee starts at $1 but can be $2.50 in some cities.

Uber Rates

The base rate is dependent on the category of ride your choice, so if you use an UberX or an Uber SUV expect different rate for mileage and time. The Uber rates also vary per city, so expect different prices for the same service when traveling to other parts of the country.

If you want to know the difference between city rates, go to Uber's fare calculator, you can enter your city and check out the prices there. For instance, let's take a look at Denver, CO.

After you choose your city, check out the prices per category.

Now you have the details per category in the city of Denver. You can do this for every city that Uber is operational.

Is Uber cheaper than a Taxi?

Yes, the base fare for taxi's always starts out higher than Uber's since Uber makes sure that their base fare is lower in every city. The rates are also lower; however, this is only true for UberX and UberPOOL, all the rest are the same or more expensive, especially the more luxurious rides such as UberBlack or UberSUV.

Here is an updated quote for a ride of 18.7 mi, 42 mins from Brooklyn, NY, USA to Bronx, NY, USA

  • UberX $58.08
  • Lyft $53.35
  • Taxi $66.70
  • UberBlack $112.56

As you can see, UberX and Lyft are both cheaper than a taxi. However, the UberBlack is more expensive.

Is there a difference between Uber and Lyft?

Generally, there is a slight difference in favor of Lyft. I found that LyftLine is the cheapest option available for a door to door ride.

How to pay for your ride

Since the most important part of the ride is the payment, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise, Uber couldn't care less for your safety so long as you pay, as far as they are concerned if they could get away with rickshaw rides in the Sahara desert in which customers pull the driver, they would go for it.

So, expect the payment scheme to be efficient, and here it is:

  1. In your app, tap the menu and select 'PAYMENT.'
  2. Tap 'ADD PAYMENT.'
  3. Add your preferred payment method:
    1. Scan your card,
    2. Manually enter your card info,
    3. Or add your payTM wallet.
  4. Topping up your PayTM wallet,
    1. tap 'ADD '
    2. Use your credit/debit card or net-banking to recharge.

Uber accepts the following payment options:

  1. Most major credit cards
  2. PayPal
  3. Apple Pay
  4. American Express Points
  5. Gift Cards and Vouchers
  6. Cash

Uber Upfront Pricing

Upfront pricing is Uber's newest scam to charge riders more than they should pay, and this was introduced when riders wanted an estimated cost of their ride fee. Uber's magicians came up with an interesting way to make more money with less effort, they introduce upfront pricing, which shows the price and asks if the rider accepts it.

Once the rider does, it doesn't matter what the ride really costs, that is the price you will pay. Take into account that 99.9% of all upfront pricing is much more expensive than a ride metered fare.

One of the downsides of this method is that it does not notify you when a surge is added. Another downside is that Uber does bot share the income with the driver. They pay the driver the metered fee that appears on their app, which is usually less. This is a sore point for many drivers, and if there is a surge going on, many drivers opt out and cancel requests that come with an upfront price in place. There is a lot of legal battling going on between Uber drivers and Uber over the upfront pricing income distribution issue.

Lyft Upfront Pricing

Lyft also has an up-front pricing method, and they are fair with their driver, so there are no legal shenanigans going on between Lyft drivers and Lyft with the upfront pricing method.

Lyft Fare Estimate

Here is how a Lyft upfront pricing process works:

  • Fees
  • Taxes
  • Tolls
  • Prime Time
  • Any applicable promotions

You can see, Lyft includes all the variables, does not hide how the total is reached and you get a reasonable price.

The Uber Estimate

If you want to get a close estimation as to the cost of a fare, you can use a number of third party calculations, or you can just add up all the variables yourself, or you can use the Uber fare calculator which does the following:

  1. Open the Uber app
  2. Enter your destination
  3. Check your pickup location on the map
  4. Once entered and verified, you'll see a list of vehicle categories to choose from
  5. Tap the category you want to estimate and the price will pop-up.

Sample Uber Fares

If you are ready to take on the calculation yourself rather than use a third-party calculator or rely on Uber's calculation, then this is what you need to do.

I am going to go to Denver, CO again, and will do a sample of an UberX and UberSUV ride for 9 minute distance of 2.61 miles.

UberX fare

Seat Capacity 4
Base Fare $0.75
Per Minute $0.13 x 9 = $1.17
Per Mile $1.00 x 2.61 = $2.61
Cancellation Fee $5.00
Booking Fee $2.45
Minimum Fare $7.45 (This is what you will pay)
Total Fare $6.98

UberBLACK Fare

UberBlack is a much more expensive category, so here goes:

Seat Capacity 4.00
Base Fare $7.00
Per Minute $0.35 x 9 = $3.15
Per Mile $3.20 x 2.61 = $7.83
Cancellation Fee $10.00
Minimum Fare $7.45
Total Fare $17.98 (This is what you will pay)

This is our calculation based on the variables and information we have, As you can see, the UberX fee will be the minimum fee, while the UberBlack fee will be the fare fee. now let's check it against the Uber, ride estimator.


Calculating a fare is not hard, it just needs the application of data into a table and a quick calculation. The Uber estimator is close to the actual price, and its always best to request a car without an upfront fee. This will both be easier on your pocket as well as placate the driver.

Bonus Tip: If you are a new passenger, you can get a promo bonus, so only sign up via an Uber driver.

Did you know that Chicago, IL is the cheapest place to ride with Uber? Well, it is, Fact.

Uber Ride Pass: Uber's Monthly Subscription Service for $14.99
(Steve Mann) #2

It don’t matter how much Uber costs, they will always be cheaper than taxis cos the pricing is subsidized. However, just wait and watch as prices start to creep up in value over time. I expect that by the end of 2018 Uber prices will not be so far from Taxi prices, and Lyft will still be the cheapest of all.
Lyfts current subscription plan is a big scam, its so damaging to profits, but its so cheap for a company with billions to spend, that they can really push the subscriptions and all to try and overtake Uber.
Isn’t it great to have a pricing war in a two horse race.

(Audrina Jameson) #3

The upfront pricing is something asked FROM the costumers so as long as an airport ride will cost $29 for a costumer and cost $50 via a taxi, who’s gonna care about how much they pay their contractor?

The pricing will be always cheaper than a cab (except when there’s a surge) and more convenient than a bus, so go ahead, drive and try to compare your receipt and the costumer one and let us know how many of them care about that?

(Paul Garcia) #4

You seem to be missing the point. WE DRIVERS should all tell the passengers that they might be getting overcharged due to the upfront pricing. We tell them how much the fare is on our end and they can see if Uber charged them more when they get their receipt. If there is a difference then they ask Uber to adjust the fare to what the driver got paid. Word gets out that Uber is scamming the passengers.

(Audrina Jameson) #5

They do understand, and they also understand this is how every contractor/company works. the contractor doing the electrical install doesn’t get paid 5k for his work from the customer, he gets paid 5k for his work from the company which signed him to the contract. That company has already told the customer they owe 7k for the electric work. SAME/SAME except the electric worker probably does not know all the customer’s billing details like we do, AND are not new to the job. They bid it for 5k, that’s what they get paid.

(Cody Parker) #6

This is exactly why businesses like this need MORE regulation. Taxicabs fare were always approved and limited by local and state regulators. A company as arrogant as Uber needs to be stopped from doing what they want whenever they want. . The fact is that they are calculating the total advertised fare and padding the trips, making the brain-dead riders pay whatever Uncle Uber decides, while paying the drivers only on what the trip actually registers in mileage and pocketing the difference. This need to be brought to the attention of state and local governments, the media and most importantly, the passengers who are really the ones getting ripped off.