How to Use Uber

Uber is an alternative to taxis that is becoming very popular. It is available in many cities now, including Ottawa. To use Uber, first you download the Uber app on your phone and create an account. If you don't have an Uber account yet, we have an invite code that will allow you to have your first ride (up to $25) for free:


Next, you add your payment information. This can be either a credit card or a Paypal account.

To order an Uber, open the app and enter your destination. The app is usually pretty good at figuring out where you currently are and will likely set that as your pickup place. Uber will give you an estimate as to how long it will take for a driver to get to you:

ordering an uber

Note: We are in the country, outside of Ottawa, so it's going to take 12 minutes for a driver to get here. But still, given how far out we are, I'm amazed that Uber will drive this far to get us.

Sometimes you may notice something called Surge pricing. If the demand for Ubers is higher than the current number of Uber drivers can provide, then surge pricing will be in effect.

uber surge pricing

Take note of surge pricing. On some really busy nights, like New Year's Eve, or perhaps after a hockey game has finished, the pricing could be as high as 8 times the normal rate1. But, in most cases, if there is a surge, it is not much more that 1.5x and even then, we have found that the rates are still better than getting a taxi.

You can also ask for a fare estimate. I can see now, that for my drive from out into the country, into Centrum Shopping Centre in Kanata, I'd be paying $15-20. (Without surge pricing this would be $10-13.)

request uber fare estimate

Once you request a ride, your driver will start on his or her way. You can watch in the app as they give you a map with a little car on it to tell you where your driver is at the time.

When you arrive at your destination, no payment is necessary as the fee will immediately come out of your Uber account that is connected to your credit card or Paypal account.

Should you tip an Uber driver?

Tipping is not required. In fact, this is one of the awesome things about using Uber. You can ride and not worry about having to carry cash. In the past, Uber used to have a built in feature in the app to allow you to tip, but this is now gone. If you wish to tip your Uber driver, this is acceptable. However, in many places, Uber drivers will refuse tips.

What is UberX vs XL vs black

You have the option of ordering several different kinds of ubers. In most cases, the UberX is what you want.

  • UberX - This is the least expensive private Uber. Seats 4 riders
  • Uber Pool - If you're willing to pick up other passengers along the way, this is the cheapest way to ride Uber. Not available in all areas. Also, it might take much longer to get to your destination.
  • UberBlack - This is for a luxury car.
  • UberAccessible - Wheelchair accessible rides.

Can you order an Uber by calling on the phone?

No, you cannot order an Uber by phone. You need to install the app and order one from there. It's really easy to do: