If you've ever taken a taxi in any metropolitan area, the "terrible taxi experience" will be familiar to you. We swap awful taxi tales like they're war stories; heck, we're almost proud of them.
However, when it comes to holiday travel, Uber can give people some peace of mind in going to and from the airport with the touch of a button, getting home safely after a night out with friends, or back from a family dinner with the relatives. Most significantly, the customer-driver mutual rating system creates reciprocal obligations in which both sides are incentivized to be as nice as possible. And we all need some civilized transportation in the morning (especially before we've had our 9 a.m. coffee). As long as cars are available on our Uber app—connecting drivers with customers on a cheaper system than metered taxis—we're usually taking Uber instead.
Whether you want to save money by riding in an UberPOOL, take Uber's classic option UberX, or splurge in a premium ride with UberBLACK, Uber's offerings have something for everyone. However, what many don't know is their little known app hacks that are unfortunately overlooked by users. We caught up with Uber and Laura Jones, their Head of Product Marketing, to round up some Uber feature tips that are guaranteed to make your holidays travels just a little bit easier.
1. Schedule your ride
If you're headed out of town, you have extra peace of mind knowing your Uber will be available when you need it—especially before an early morning flight. Uber's Scheduled Rides feature is available in more than 300 cities worldwide, and you can request your ride 30 days to just 30 minutes before you need it.
It's super easy to use:
-Choose your ride and tap "Schedule a Ride" to request up to 30 days in advance.
-Set pickup info: Set your pickup date, time, location, and destination, and get a fare estimate
-Confirm your trip: Confirm the details of your upcoming trip and tap Schedule. You can edit or cancel at any time before your ride is ready
-Enjoy your ride: Uber will send you reminders the day of the trip and notify you when your ride is on the way. They'll also let you know if the price has changed due to high demand.
According to Jones, "Request your ride and your driver should arrive within minutes—and you'll know it's your driver because you'll have the driver's licence plate number and photo of him or her beforehand. And remember, with Uber, there is no hailing or waiting outside for a ride—you can stay warm and cozy inside."
2. Take UberPool
UberPOOL makes it easy for people headed in the same direction at the same time to share the journey—and the cost. I you're heading to the airport, it's worth your while to leave a little early and take an UberPool—it's up to 55 percent cheaper and available in more than 30 cities worldwide. Even if you share a ride, you still get a promised arrival time, so you don't need to worry about missing your flight. You can also take POOL from the airport to your final destination. Learn more about where to get picked up at your destination airport at uber.com/airports.
3. Fare Splitting
If you're sharing your Uber ride with a friend to a Friendsgiving dinner, holiday party, or the airport, it's easy to split the fare without using cash. Once you've requested a ride, tap the arrow icon next to your driver's info, select "Split Fare," choose your friends, and tap "Send."
4. Share your ETA
If you're riding to meet family or friends at a holiday party, Thanksgiving dinner, or anything else, you can share your location with them in real-time so they know when to expect you. Just tap "Share My ETA" to send them a map of your route and expected time of arrival.
"When it comes to the holidays, we find people tend to love the 'Share ETA' feature because it gives your loved ones—whether it's friends or family—your exact location so they know where you are on your trip," Jones explains. "Sharing your ETA with someone not only gives them an idea of when you'll arrive at the holiday party or Friendsgiving dinner, but also will give them peace of mind in knowing you got home safely."
5. Uber Lost and Found
It happens to everyone: You leave your Uber and realize you left something behind in the backseat. Whether it's your phone, your backpack, or even a shoe (yes, it's happened), with Uber it's easy to recover lost items. Lost and found might come in handy during the holidays when gloves, scarves, and hats are apt to get left behind. Here's how:
-The best way to retrieve an item you may have left in a vehicle is to call the driver.
-Scroll down to enter your phone number and tap SUBMIT.
-Your phone will ring and connect you with your driver's mobile number.
-If you've lost your phone, enter a friend's phone number to connect with your driver.
6. Uber Party Trick
Many people don't know it's possible to check your Uber passenger rating. If you need a party trick to impress your friends, simply guide them through the process of checking their rating:
-Go to the menu in your Uber app and tap "Help."
-Tap "Account and Payment" then "Account settings and ratings."
-You'll then see this option: "I'd like to know my rating."
-Click "submit" and your rating will be displayed right in the Uber app.
According to Jones, "Many people don't know that while you're rating your driver, they're also rating you. For this reason, we encourage riders to know what their Uber rating is so they can be conscious about it and respectful of drivers while they're riding. Common courtesy is always appreciated by drivers—for example, saying hello, being on-time and tidy, and general friendliness are easy ways to guarantee a good rating."
7. Treat your Friends and Family
If you're hosting a holiday party or dinner this year, you can treat your guests to more than just festive food and drinks by footing the bill for their ride home. Whether it's a friend, parent, sibling or significant other, you can invite family or friends to join your "Family Profile" so you can easily pay for their ride and make sure they get home safely, with real-time trip tracking. Here's how it works:
-Tap "Add Family Profile" in Settings.
-Add your loved ones as members.
-Once they accept, they'll be one tap from a reliable ride and you'll stay in the know with notifications when they ride.
"Many people love to treat their family and friends to a ride at the end of a holiday party or gathering, and that's where Family Profiles are popular," Jones says. "People will be taking more trips during the holiday season, so these Uber hacks are helpful to know about before heading out of town, to Friendsgiving, family gatherings, or company parties."