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June 1, 2016updated 22 Sep 2016 1:31pm

How does Uber work?

Taxi drivers around the world hate it, but why the fuss around Uber?

By Joao Lima

Uber is an on-demand taxi app, which has set a new level of digital disruption across the world.

The application runs on Android and iOS phones and once a ride is requested, the app’s software will automatically send out an alert to the closest available driver to pick up the person requesting the journey.

Another advantage is that all payments happen digitally, so there is no need for cash.

How to sign up

To use the service, costumers have to register first. This can be done on the company’s website,, or via the phone app (which can be downloaded from app stores and is essential to use the service going forward).

The registration process will ask you for your name, phone number, email, language (to present you the content in your desired language) and in the end, you will be requested to register a form of payment by inserting either a debit or credit card details.

Once this is done, you will be asked to accept the terms and conditions; press the sign up button and you are ready to go.

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How to request a lift

Through the already mentioned mobile Uber app, you will be able to use the service. Once signed in, the app should automatically show your location on a map. Sometimes the location is not exact, especially if the app is being used on mobile data instead of a WiFi connection. Yet, you can easily correct this by pressing the screen and moving the map until the location mark is in the right place.

After, you can include the final destination. You are also able to choose between different types of rides. These are: Uber pool (sharing a vehicle with another user making the ride cheaper), Black Cab (a high end vehicle), LUX (a high end luxury car), SUV (an SUV car), Taxi (a taxi that collaborates with Uber), and UberX (the most common ride, which is an everyday car).

Once you have chosen the vehicle that answers your needs, you will be able to see a fare estimate of your requested ride (rates on Uber vary based on location and current events, such as high and/or low demand).

If you have a voucher, this is also the time to introduce it. Just follow the on-screen instructions. The last bit will be to press the request button to call for a car.

You will be instantly given a car plate number, the driver’s name and how far away (in minutes) your ride is. You will also be able to check where your ride is on the real-time map. Once your car has arrived you will be sent a message telling you so.

Generally, the car will be parked exactly where you requested it to be, however, sometimes due to road congestion or parking restrictions, the driver might not have been able to park exactly where requested.

You will have to look for the car plate and/or your name on a board (for the high end rides). However, cars are never more than 20 to 50 meters away from the intended pick up location.

How the payment works

Once inside, enjoy the ride. As soon as the Uber reaches the desired destination, the driver will lock your fare and an automatic invoice will be sent to your pre-registered email. The payment is taken from your account also automatically.

To complete the journey, you can rate and give feedback about the driver and your experience. Doing so will help others identify who the most welcomed drivers are.

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