Don’t Make These 15 Uber Mistakes

NEWS & TRENDING - TRAVEL NEWS
These common pitfalls can make your ride more expensive or even get you kicked off Uber.
Updated May 15, 2024
Fact checked
Woman with smart phone in car

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Uber's on-demand convenience and budget-friendly fares have become a go-to for many. But hailing the perfect ride isn't always smooth sailing. 

Before you hop in, steer clear of these 15 common rider mistakes to keep more money in your wallet and ensure a seamless Uber experience.

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Choosing the wrong service

Kaspars Grinvalds/Adobe Ride sharing app on mobile phone

Uber offers passengers several different services. For a sleek ride in a luxury vehicle, opt for UberBLACK. If you need a van that can hold a large group of travelers, you’ll want an UberXL.

A standard ride is UberX, which is Uber’s “everyday ride at an everyday price.”

Being slapped with a cancellation fee

Prostock-studio/Adobe frustrated woman using smartphone

This happens when you order a ride and cancel it after the driver has reached or headed toward your location. Fees vary, but you could get dinged $5 or more.

Paying surge prices

kucherav/Adobe surprised african american man using smartphone

Always try to avoid surge pricing. During high-demand periods, you could pay more than twice the usual rate. There are even cases of riders paying $500 for a $75 ride during surges.

Plan on arriving early. You can just hang out in a coffee shop and wait.

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Assuming Uber will be there

dul_ny/Adobe asian woman holding smartphone on street

Uber has a huge coverage area, but it’s not everywhere. Some cities don’t have it. Plus, many rural areas just aren’t large enough to sustain demand.

Before traveling, check the available transportation options.

Avoiding UberPOOL

BalanceFormCreative/Adobe female friends travelling together in car

UberPOOL is even cheaper than UberX. The service matches you with up to four co-riders going in the same direction. Each person in the pool saves a little money.

For a trip that’s only a few miles, the savings may only be a couple of bucks. But if you’re going a longer distance, the savings can add up.

Assuming your driver knows where to go

Rostislav Sedlacek/Adobe Driver using smartphone GPS while driving

Many passengers zone out during their Uber ride and just scroll through their phone, figuring the driver has GPS and knows exactly where to go.

True, but even with GPS, a driver can miss a turn. This can mean a U-turn at a long red light, adding several minutes to your trip.

Asking the driver to take care of your incapacitated friend

Electro Unicorn/Adobe man sleeping in driving seat

We’ve all done it. We’ve ordered an Uber or a taxi for a friend. Trusting a stranger to take care of your incapacitated friend is inconsiderate and unsafe.

The driver is a side hustler using their car to make extra money, not a nurse who wants to clean up vomit or take care of your sick friend.

Beyond that, there have been many allegations of assault against Uber drivers. There is a pending lawsuit against Uber for over 9,000 driver sexual assault incidents from 2017 to 2020.

Giving the driver too much information

Snapic.PhotoProduct/Adobe Uber driver driving female passenger

Good guys and bad guys are everywhere. This goes for drivers, too, who, after drop-off, know where you live or work. Don’t give your driver, another stranger, personally identifying information.

Not keeping a separate account for business trips

Snapic.PhotoProduct/Adobe female Uber driver driving male passenger

If you use Uber during work trips, you can create multiple ride accounts to use one specifically for business. This will save you a headache during tax season.

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Not comparing Lyft’s rates against Uber’s

Koshiro/Adobe car-sharing apps on smartphone homescreen

Lyft and Uber rates are not identical. According to one driver in South Florida who gigs for both apps, the price difference can vary by as much as $10.

Not leaving a rating

Suriyawut/Adobe woman giving rating on smartphone

Uber operates on a system of trust. Riders and drivers trust each other to provide a good experience.

Always leave a rating at the end of your trip. Drivers who get enough bad ratings can be terminated. Ratings are anonymous unless you leave identifying trip details in your review.

Choosing a bad pickup location

robert/Adobe rideshare pick up zone signboard

Don’t tell your driver, “Pick me up at the concert hall main entrance.” That’s going to be a nightmare. Instead, select an easy-to-access spot on the right-hand side of the road. The driver will get there faster and spot you more easily.

Some drivers note that if they can’t find you within five minutes, they will mark you as a no-show and collect the $5 cancellation fee. That charge can vary based on location and other factors.

Not bringing a car seat

Trendsetter Images/Adobe Father fastening baby in car seat

Uber drivers must follow the law. This means children under three years old must be in car seats. This can be frustrating for parents who grumble, “I’ve already done it a million times,” and “Uber lets me.”

No, Uber doesn’t. It means you’ve placed some drivers in an awkward situation where, had they been pulled over, they could have landed in hot water — probably getting terminated. 

Safety laws vary by state or local jurisdiction, and in some locations, car seats or booster seats may be required for children older than three.

If you order an Uber and don't have a car seat for your child, most drivers will do as Uber prescribes: cancel the ride. You’ll be charged a cancellation fee and could be reported to Uber for child endangerment, which deactivates your account.

Forgetting to double-check ‌all of your items

Minerva Studio/Adobe couple choosing car at dealership shop

Always double-check you have everything before exiting the car.

On its website, Uber states: “Drivers are independent contractors. Neither Uber nor drivers are responsible for the items left in a vehicle after a trip ends.”

If you forget something, Uber may help you contact the driver, but you could be out of luck. And if the item is returned, Uber charges a $20 fee for the driver’s time.

Assuming Uber will be the cheapest option

Odua Images/Adobe polite asian taxi driver

Uber is often the cheapest option, but not always. If you’re in a city with excellent public transportation and you just have one bag, it may make more sense to take the subway. It will be cheaper and probably quicker without all the traffic lights and street congestion.

In some instances, you can avoid wasting money by using a taxi. Fare calculators like Taxi-Calculator.com can help you research taxi rates.

Bottom line

Proxima Studio/Adobe Uber driver holding smartphone in car

By following safety guidelines and practicing common courtesy, you can continue to save money with access to convenient and reliable rides. 

Remember, both Uber and Lyft offer similar services and etiquette expectations. Focusing on being a responsible rider keeps your options open and makes every journey a smooth one.

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Author Details

Stacy Garrels Stacy enjoys writing about fintech, consumer deals, the side hustle economy, and random tomfoolery. She's personally tried more than 100 different gigs, including being an Uber driver for one afternoon.

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