8 Common Mistakes During a Budget Travel Uber Ride
Choosing the Wrong Service
An Uber ride can be economical and rewarding. Although the service has many critics, it also has gained wide popularity because it can be set up through a phone app and result in quick, cashless transactions. The charge goes to the credit card on the account.
But many people jump into an Uber experience without understanding how the service works.
Among the most common early mistakes is failing to recognize that Uber provides a number of services, each at its own price point.
The most economical service is UberX, which is billed as “an everyday ride at an everyday price.” But some novices accidentally lock in premium choices such as UberBLACK, or UberXL when all they wanted was basic transportation. Be certain to start with the appropriate choice for your situation.
Incurring a Cancellation Fee
In busy places such as airport terminals or cruise ports, dozens of people within a block or so might be arranging an Uber ride. It’s possible you’re unfamiliar with the layout of the area and the nearby streets. This is when many beginners simply give up, hail a cab, or search for public transportation.
But if you summoned an Uber driver, don’t assume a slow response means no one is coming.
If an Uber driver fails to connect with you after five minutes, and after attempts to message you, your account will incur a cancellation fee.
This fee varies by city and the Uber service selected. Generally, you may cancel your ride order while the driver is en-route to your location, or before a driver actually is assigned. But once a driver is assigned to your request, cancellation often prompts a fee.
To avoid this unnecessary expense, don’t call for a driver until absolutely certain of current location and destination. Avoid being caught up in the rush to connect.
Failing to Understand Surge Pricing
Uber surge pricing is one of the more controversial aspects of the service. But it points to the fact that Uber isn’t always cheaper than taking a taxi.
Uber’s business model depends upon drivers arriving quickly to pick up passengers. But there are circumstances when demand is great and traffic is heavy. Drivers need some extra incentive to dive into these difficult situations. Surge pricing is their reward.
Uber claims it always will notify customers of the surge, and required them to type in the multiplier as acknowledgment and approval of the higher fee.
There are cases on record of Uber rides coming in at $500 during a surge pricing period. But it’s far more likely you’ll wind up paying $75 for a ride the Uber price estimator indicated would cost $30 during normal conditions.
Assess the urgency of that need for a ride during a surge pricing event. It might cheaper — and more satisfying — to duck into a coffee shop for a few minutes and wait for conditions to improve.
Assuming Uber is Available Everywhere
It wouldn’t be wise to expect an Uber ride on this rural gravel road. But there are also many urban areas where, for a variety of reasons, Uber service does not exist or operates on a limited basis due to government regulation.
At this writing, for example, Germany is among the countries that have banned UberPOP service. That means a host of problems are possible in large cities like Berlin and Munich. If Uber is in your plans, formulate a solid backup strategy.
Keep updated on the latest Uber service areas and plan accordingly.
Missing an Opportunity to use UberPOOL
Uber offers an option that splits fares for those traveling in a small group. So long as their credit card is on file with Uber, the split fare option works quickly and easily.
But there is also a car pooling option, appropriately named UberPOOL. By clicking this option, you agree to share your Uber ride with others along the route who are looking for cheap, efficient transportation. Instead of starting with UberX, enter UberPool when you initiate the request. You’ll be shown a “guaranteed fare,”
You’ll be matched with up to four co-riders who want to travel in the same direction. No more than two riders per stop are allowed under the rules. Also note that someone who was picked up after you might be taken to their destination before you. There can be times when baggage space in the car is tight.
With these potential drawbacks, is UberPOOL worthwhile for budget travel?
The answer seems to be affirmative for longer, potentially expensive rides. For a trip of a mile or so, maybe not.
But for travelers on a tight budget who have some distance to cover, it often is a mistake not to click the UberPOOL button.
Not Setting Up a Separate Business Account
Many of us travel both for business and pleasure. Separating the two trips can be messy, especially on a crowded credit card report.
But Uber offers separate business accounts for road warriors. They will save the time and trouble of unraveling these expenses. The business report is separate and easily accessed.
Assuming Uber is Always the Cheapest Option
Don’t ever assume Uber is the cheapest option. Many times, it is a simple, pre-paid option that is worthy of consideration.
But if you’re in a city with an extensive public transportation system, and you practice one-bag travel, taking the subway or a bus could be far less expensive than an Uber ride.
At times when Uber surge pricing conditions exist, even a taxi could be the cheaper option. The point here is to make no assumptions. Use a taxicab fare estimator in places without efficient public transportation. Make the public bus or subway the first choice when practical.
Skipping the Driver Rating
Uber operates on a relatively simple principle. Riders and drivers rate each other. The system is designed to weed out consistently bad drivers or riders.
It’s always a good idea to leave an honest appraisal of the ride received. The system calls for 1-5 stars, and only a click is required to enter that into the account. Drivers almost always ask for a rating of five, because low ratings can lead to termination. Only give that rating if they provided efficient, courteous service.
There have been stories about drivers who add unwarranted charges to a rider’s account in exchange for a disappointing rating. Such displays of spite are rare. But if you do encounter a vindictive driver, straighten out the errant charges and single out the driver for the company’s attention.
Leave a fair rating and help other riders avoid trouble.