You can easily get an Uber fare estimate through the Uber app or their website. But you may wonder exactly how Uber is calculating the charges. Especially if you are new to Uber, or are taking a different trip than your usual (say from an airport to hotel in a new city) the fare estimator can alleviate any concerns about the charges before making a trip. So let’s see how the Uber fare estimate system works & how you can calculate the total fare for a ride.
How does the Uber fare estimate work?
An Uber fare is calculated on 4 criteria:
Base fare – Uber charges a flat fee at the starting of the ride.
Cost per minute – You’ll be charged for every minute during the ride.
Cost per mile – Charge for each mile during the trip.
Booking fee – Formerly known as safe rides fee. It’s a flat fee for operational costs for all Uber services except UberBlack & UberSuv. Booking fee is different for every Uber service.
Surge multiplier – A temporary surcharge when there is high demand for rides in an area. The surge multiplier only kicks in when there is are significantly more ride requests than the number of available drivers in a particular location.
Note that except for the surge multiplier, this system is very similar to how a traditional metered taxi fare is calculated.
Note: All charges vary depending upon the city & the particular class of Uber service that you request.
How to calculate the regular Uber fare estimate
Calculate the standard Uber fare estimate for a ride using the formula bellow –
Base fare + (Cost per minute * Total time in ride) + (Cost per mile * Total distance in ride) + Booking fee + tolls and additional charges= Total fare
How to calculate the Uber fare estimate with surge multiplier
Use the formula bellow to calculate the Uber fare estimate for a ride in a surge area –
((Base fare + (Cost per minute * Total time in ride) + (Cost per mile * Total distance in ride) + Booking fee) * Surge multiplier) + tolls and additional charges = Total fare
What the heck is the surge multiplier?
The surge multiplier is a fare increase designed to get more drivers on the road when demand is high in relation to the number of available drivers. It varies from 1.5X to 3X the normal price for the area. Since all Uber partners (drivers) are independent, they may have the flexibility and desire to turn out when there’s a possibility of earning extra money. This puts more drivers on the road when they are most needed.
While some riders feel this constitutes price gouging, the system does indeed make it easier to get a ride when demand is high – such as rush hour or when a large event is ending. Fortunately, a passenger has options. For one, the Uber app makes clear if surge pricing is in effect, how much it is, and importantly, when it will end. If it’s a matter of minutes, you might just choose to wait it out. You can also opt for another service if you are unwilling to pay the higher Uber rate or wait for their fares to return to normal. I have seen the Uber app displaying surge pricing while an idle city taxi was sitting right in front of me! I love Uber, but sometimes the old fashioned way just works.
Let’s explain the Uber fare estimate through an Example
Suppose you are in Texas and ordered a UberX ride request. The current charges for UberX in Texas are–
Now, if the destination is 20 miles from your pickup location & takes 20 minutes to reach then the total fare will be –
$1.00 (Base fare) + ($0.11*20 (Cost per minute * Total time in ride))+(0.87*20(Cost per mile * Total distance in ride))+$1.95 (Booking fee)+$1 (tolls and additional charges) = $23.55 (Total fare)
Is there an Uber minimum fare?
Uber sets a minimum fare for every service to help their drivers to get a reasonable payment for short rides. That means you have to pay the minimum fare if the total fare is less than the minimum.
For example, the total fare for your ride is $3, but the minimum fare is $5 in your area. So, you’ll be charged $5 instead of $3. Remember, the minimum fare is different based on cities & Uber services.
How to get an Uber fare estimate using the app
Open the Uber app and input your destination. Fare estimates for every Uber service will appear after you input your destination. Scroll down to see the charge for other Uber services in your area.
It’s important that you set the app for the class of service that you want (assuming more than one class is available in your area). When I was new to Uber, I was taking 2-4 trips a day in Las Vegas during a conference. I couldn’t figure out why my prices seemed to be markedly higher after a day or so. Also I always seemed to be getting SUVs (I didn’t think that was too unusual since my first ride was an SUV and the driver explained that while eligible to take rides at higher classes, he had opted to accept my uberx ride request). Turns out I had accidentally tapped the option for a higher class service in the app at some point, and it simply remained there as my default preference until I eventually figured it out and changed it back to uberx.
How to get an Uber fare estimate from Uber’s website
Go to https://www.uber.com/fare-estimate/ and input your pick-up and drop-off locations. The fare estimate for different Uber services will appear automatically. Click on the question icon beside each fare estimate to see the rates for that service.
That’s really all there is to know about getting an Uber fare estimate. You can easily calculate the total fare estimate for a ride through the formula & information I’ve given above –easier yet, just use the app or website. Remember these are only estimates, because even on a trip with a fixed route, the length of trip will vary depending on traffic, and you are charged for time as well as distance. Before making a ride, be sure to note sure if you are in a surge area or not (but the app makes this very clear). You wil have to pay higher than regular fare if you order trip request from a surge area.