Uber is a ride hailing (taxi) service which operates in over 200 cities worldwide.
Uber drivers are self-employed workers, so they can work the hours that suit them, ensuring taxis are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The service is competitively priced, and drivers and passengers can rate each other after the journey has been completed. All drivers are regulated by the authority in which they work, so in London for instance this would be Transport for London.
A variety of vehicles are available, from shared car options (Uber Pool) which brings together people travelling in the same direction as you, to a selection of personal options such as Uber X (a standard hatchback or saloon vehicle). There are more spacious and luxuriously appointed vehicles available for special occasions, to accommodate luggage or for executive business travel.
There are also options for disabled passengers in the form of Access and Assist. Those with additional support needs can be accommodated by drivers who are disability aware and have received specialist training.
The Uber app has been tested and is fully compatible with assistive technologies such as VoiceOver and Talkback.
The app gives you full control over your journey from booking to drop-off and has a variety of features to enable you to communicate with your driver. There is the ability to message your driver using a text-message style chat system or by simply placing a phone call.
Passengers also have the option to tip the driver and leave a rating and complement after the journey has completed. Ratings and compliments are used by the Uber community of passengers to help them assess the quality and performance of the driver and the service that they have provided. Uber monitors driver performance so drivers that receive a lot of negative feedback can be banned from using Uber.
There is also the ability for drivers to rate passengers. This helps drivers assess passenger in a similar way. Having a good passenger rating will increase the chance of getting a taxi willing to pick you up. Uber has guidance in the app to support both passengers and drivers make the most of the service and foster a good working relationship during the journey.
As Uber drivers are self-employed and use their own cars, there is a chance that you may face problems if you have more complex needs or are travelling with a guide dog as some drivers do not wish to carry guide or assistance dogs , even though it is illegal for them to refuse to do so. It is always worth letting your driver know before point of pick-up what additional support you may need and whether you will be travelling with a dog. This way the driver can decide if they can undertake the journey.
Uber operates a sliding scale of fares based on peak times, so during busier periods of the day (rush hour, weekends and bank holidays), fairs can be higher (surge pricing). Uber will always tell you the approximate fare you will be charged, which is based on a calculation of per minute journey time and mileage and is given in a range form, for example £29 to £34. You will also be told if you are paying a higher fare due to peak demand. If this is the case, you have the option of trying again later when availability is greater.
There are many other ride hailing apps available. MyTaxi works in London to hail a black taxi, Gett hail taxis are available in Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and 19 other UK towns and cities. Independent taxi firms in different cities may have their own apps. It’s worth asking around to find which ones people near you find the most safe, best value and most reliable. They all work on Apple and Android phones.
Our technology for life team will be more than happy to talk you through the available options in more detail.