Harry here. If you’re a brand new Uber driver, learning how the apps work can be a challenge. Unlike Lyft, Uber has separate apps for passengers and drivers – and they each work a bit different.
Uber Partners and Drivers
Today, RSG contributor Jonathan Knope gives us a full walk-through of the Uber partner app and explains everything from how to do a pick-up as an Uber partner to how to request a ride as an Uber passenger. As a driver, it’s obviously important to know how the partner app works but it’s also equally as important to know what the passenger is seeing. In addition to the videos, you can also read on to find answers to frequently asked questions.
Download and Use the Uber Partner App
When I first signed up to drive for Uber a couple years ago, I actually rented an iPhone from them, even though I already had a perfectly good Android. Why? Well, when I went to download the app, I kept searching for “Uber driver app” – and for whatever reason, the Google Play store would only show me the passenger version. Somewhat miffed, I assumed that the Android version must not be out yet. Then right after my shiny new iPhone arrived, I figured out my error… I just needed to search for the “Uber Partner app.” Sigh.
I checked it again today, and the Uber Partner app does, in fact, come up now – even when you search for “Uber driver app” instead! But actually using the app is a challenge unto itself. If you’re new to rideshare driving, I highly recommend checking out the Driver Advice section of this blog – and if you haven’t signed up to drive yet, you can get a bonus of up to $500 when you apply using this link.
If you’re on iPhone, you can download the Uber partner app here: t.uber.com/driver-app
If you’re on Android, you can download the Uber driver app here: Google Play Store
Q. How can I text my passenger?
A. Texting is a great way to unobtrusively remind your passenger that you’ve arrived, and it’s great for helping people find your car in busy areas. To send your passenger a text, tap the clipboard icon in the upper left corner. There, you’ll see a contact button. On most versions of the app, tapping Contact will then show you the number and two options, Call or Message. Tap Message to send a text.
On other versions of the app, only the Call button is shown. You can still send them a text though – tap that Call button to copy the number into your phone’s dial screen. Most phones have a button on the dialer to move the number over into a text message instead – just look for a menu or messaging icon on your dial screen!
It’s also worth noting that in some markets, Uber uses a static VOIP number for all passengers. Whenever you’re picking up a passenger, you can simply call or text that one static number, and Uber will seamlessly forward your text or call over to your current customer. The nice thing about this is that you can simply save that number into your contacts – as “Uber Passenger” for example – to make calling or texting a snap!
Q. How can I tell when surge pricing is on?
A. If you’re tired of checking the map for surge pricing every 10 minutes, there’s good news: most versions of the app now give you the option of getting surge notifications. You can even set what level of surge you’ll be notified for (between 1.1 and 2.0x). To turn on surge notifications, tap Account > Settings > Surge Pricing.
Q. How can I get more pings as a Uber Partner?
A. Since rides are assigned based on whoever’s closest, you’re unlikely to get many pings if you’re surrounded by other drivers in close proximity. To maximize requests, you’ll need to get yourself outside of any spots that might be too over-saturated. To do this, simply download the passenger app. (If you don’t have a passenger account yet, you can also score a free ride using this link!) When opened, the app will show you up to eight drivers close to whatever location you set. You can use this feature to see whether a given area is too crowded with drivers, and to scout out better locations nearby!
The Uber Passenger App
If you’ve never taken a ride as a passenger, you can get one free when you sign up using this link. Not only is Uber great for getting around on the cheap, it’s also a great way to pick up on what to do (and what not to do) if you’re thinking of trying out the driving side of the equation. Just remember: Tips are always appreciated 🙂
Q. Why did my driver’s ETA change?
A. Uber partners get assigned rides based on which driver is closest (unless you’re at the airport or certain large events). If the first driver to receive your request doesn’t hit the “Accept” button in time, your request will be automatically reassigned to a new driver – and you’ll receive a new ETA. This can happen for other reasons, too – for instance, if the driver’s phone freezes up, or if they simply change their mind and cancel. This doesn’t happen too often though, and if you’re in the city, it’s highly likely that there’s another driver nearby!
Q. How can I add an additional stop to my ride?
A. Although it may be tempting to just give verbal directions to your driver, it’s always best to enter every destination in the app. This helps Uber track the trip for insurance purposes, and also helps to eliminate any confusion or wrong turns. If you need to make multiple stops, just enter the first one into the Uber app. When you get there, ask the driver not to end the trip. From your passenger app, just tap the destination search bar and change it to your next stop. Then you’ll be on your way!
Q. How can I see my passenger rating?
A. For some reason, Uber kind of buried this in the menus – but it’s not too hard to find it. Tap the Menu button in the upper-left corner, then tap Help > Account > I’d like to know my rating.
Want more apps? Make your ridesharing life easier with apps to help you track mileage, find passengers, cash in on cancellation fees, and more. Find our 12 favorite apps for drivers here.
Readers: Got an Uber app secret that we missed? Funny story from your first day on the road? Let us know below! – Jon @RSG
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