Helpful hints for a better ride.
This story originally appeared on Realsimple.com.
If all you ever do is open the app, request a ride, and sit back, you may be missing out on some features that could save you both time and money. Here, Laura Jones, head of product marketing at Uber, shares her best tips for maximizing the ride-sharing app.
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Schedule Your Ride
Early morning flight? Minimize your stress by scheduling a pick-up ahead of time. The feature is not available to all users, but passengers in 25 cities nationwide can request an Uber as many as 30 days ahead of time (and as little as 30 minutes before departure). If the feature is available in your area, you will see an option to "schedule a ride" when you open the app. It's important to note that you may still face a surge: The app will notify you when your driver is on the way, and this notification will include any surge pricing that may be in effect. Prefer to cancel? Simply cancel within five minutes of receiving the notification to avoid a cancelation fee.
Make Airport Pick-Up Easier
Though Uber passengers can be picked up at most major airports in the U.S., you can find a full list at uber.com/airports. Select your destination airport for tips about where and when to request your Uber (some airports only allow pick-up in designated areas, like parking garages), plus get fare estimates for common rides.
Share Your ETA
If a friend is waiting for you, you can share your location so they know when to expect you. In the app, click "share my ETA" to send a real-time map of your route as well as your estimated arrival time to the person of your choice. (This could also be a helpful feature for parents.)
Treat Someone to a Ride
The option to set up a "family profile" is another feature parents or partners might find useful. Setting up a family profile allows you to add up to 10 approved individuals to use your payment info. This feature could also prove to be helpful when you have house guests arriving but can't leave work in time to pick them up. Simply add them to your list of approved riders. To do so, navigate to settings in the app, select "add a family profile," and select the contacts you'd like to add. This will send an invitation to anyone you've designated. Once accepted, they can request rides from their own phone using the family profile as their payment method (you will receive the receipt).
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Find a Lost Item
Left your sunglass—or, worse, your cellphone—in the Uber? Scroll to the bottom of your receipt to find a message that says "Click here if you lost something on this trip" to find your driver's contact information (alternatively, you can visit this site).
Get Your Uber Rating
You know you have to rate the drivers at the end of every ride, but did you know they rate you too? And it can affect whether or not a driver chooses to pick you up? You can find out what your rating is in the help section of the app. Navigate to "account and payment," then "account settings and ratings." Click the option "I'd like to know my rating" and then hit submit to display your rating.
Not quite satisfied with your number? Jones recommends a few common-sense tips, like ensuring your pick-up location is accurate so your driver can find you, limiting the number of passengers to match the number of seats in the car, and exercising general respect for the space.
Split the Fare
If you're sharing a ride with a friend, one person doesn't have to cover the full cost. Instead, once you've requested a ride, click the arrow next to the driver's information and select "split fare." Choose the friend you want to split the trip with and then hit send. You'll both be billed for half the cost of the trip.
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Avoid Surge Pricing
Uber says surge pricing occurs when there are more riders requesting a car than there are drivers in a given area. Nobody likes to pay a premium for a ride, but Uber is tight-lipped about how to avoid surge pricing. "Uber always estimates your fare ahead of time, so if surge pricing is in effect, we’ll notify you in big bold print," says Jones. "If you’re looking to avoid surge, you can opt for the app to notify you as soon as surge pricing at your location ends." Though unconfirmed by Uber, some passengers suggest walking a few blocks, trying another ride-sharing app, selecting another vehicle type (like Uber Select, Black, or XL), or waiting a few minutes before trying again.