The definitive guide to Uber

News, guides and hacks

Find out everything you need to know about being an Uber driver or passenger.

Uber is a global platform that allows you to order a ride from your smartphone. You can also sign up as an UberX driver. It's referred to as "ridesharing" because of these two sides to the platform: drivers and riders. Anyone can sign up to use Uber and almost anyone can be a driver, using their own car or a rented vehicle. Uber is a two-way street – both drivers and riders can rate each other and share the benefits of the service.

This guide will take you through how Uber works, including how you can become an Uber driver; where Uber is legal in Australia; how much Uber costs; a short history of the ride-sharing platform; how surcharging works; if Uber is safe and the other services Uber offers (including helicopters!). You can also find out the latest news in ridesharing and check out our tools, including a calculator to see how much you can make as an Uber driver.

Essential Uber Guides

How does Uber work?

If you want to use the Uber platform as a rider, you first need to download the app (available for iOS and Android) and create an account. You are required to provide your debit or credit card information so you can be charged through the app. When you want to order an Uber, open the app and make sure your location is correct, then choose what type of Uber you want.

An UberX is the cheapest option, while UberBLACK and UberLUX are the premium options, and an UberTAXI is just a regular taxi you can order through the app. Once you've ordered you can input your destination to assist the driver. You'll be shown the name and number plate of your driver as well as how far away they are. You might find the driver calls you if they need to check your location.

You can track your ride when you're in the car and send your trip status to anyone you need to. The driver will be shown an automatic route to go but you can ask for them to take a different way. At the end of the trip you don't need to physically pay as all payments are handled by the app. The last step is rating your driver out of five stars.

How do you become an Uber driver?

  • Check you meet the eligibility criteria. You must be over the age of 21 and have held a non-restricted licence (no P-platers) for at least 12 months. Your car needs to be less than 10 years old and pass the vehicle inspection. If you don't have a car or yours doesn't meet the criteria, consider renting an Uber-ready vehicle.
  • Make an online account. You can create a partner (driver) account on the Uber website. You need to use a different email address than the one you use to ride with Uber.
  • Visit an Uber centre. You'll be sent an email with details on the visitor centre you need to visit. Bring your licence, passport, RMS driving history (there's a fee to get this but Uber will reimburse you if you sign up as a driver), your car insurance details and the car you plan to use.

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  • Rideshare insurance gives you your choice of repairer and handle the claims process on your behalf

Compare your Uber vehicle options below

Updated October 22nd, 2018
Name Product Price Per Week (from) Insurance Included? Membership Fee Excess Distance Cost
$249
Yes
$275
$0.1 per km
Get access to fuel discounts, referral bonuses and member only benefits when you rent a rideshare car with Splend. Rent-to-Drive and Rent-to-Buy options available.
$77
No
$0
$0 per km
Driverlend is a finance broker. Lease or buy a car with Driverlend and you could get up to 20% discount on dealership prices for a new vehicle.
$179
Yes
$100
$0.2 per km
Get insurance, maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance in the all-inclusive price. Discounts available for longer rental periods.
$185
No
$0
$0.25 per km
Benefit from 24/7 roadside assistance, a wide range of vehicles and no signup fee to start driving with Uber. A minimum four-week rental period applies.

Compare up to 4 providers


Where is Uber legal in Australia?

State Is it legal? Date legalised Details
New South Wales yes 17 December 2015 $200 million of compensation was promised to taxi and car hire plate owners and operators.
Australian Capital Territory yes 30 October 2015 Drivers need to meet criteria and may need to pay additional licensing fees to drive with Uber.
Victoria yes 25 August 2016 A $2 levy applied to taxi and ride-booking services in Victoria.
Queensland yes 5 December 2016 The government had previously issued a cease-and-desist notice to Uber.
Northern Territory yes May 2017 The Government legalised Uber in 2017 but due to regulatory difficulties, Uber is not set to launch in Darwin until August 2018.
South Australia yes 1 July 2016 Taxi drivers will be compensated and a $1 metropolitan ride levy applies.
Tasmania yes 8 Nov 2016 Initially only legalised until 2018.
Western Australia yes December 18 2015 Ridesharing services must operate with an omnibus licence.

A short history of the world's largest ridesharing platform

The idea for Uber came about in 2008 when entrepreneurs Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp were stuck in the snow in Paris and unable to hail a cab. The original offering was an app that let you order premium vehicles and was available in the US. These vehicles ended up costing about 1.5 times more than a cab.

While car services were common in the US, the convenience of ordering through your phone made UberCab, as it was originally called, a success soon after its San Francisco launch in 2010. As UberCab grew it completed funding round after funding round, one of its most notable being its $11 million Series A funding in 2011, as well as organisational changes. Ryan Graves, who had become CEO following a Twitter exchange between himself and Kalanick, soon stood down to COO with Kalanick replacing him. The two described it as an amicable move.

Uber's first cease-and-desist-order came in late 2010 for acting as a cab service without the licence, prompting a name change to Uber. Uber continued to expand to other major US cities, as well as Paris, throughout 2011. The company announced UberX in July 2012 and used on-demand ice-cream trucks to promote its new service. This was off the back of a successful Series B funding of $37 million in December 2011.

Uber launched in its first Australian city, Sydney, in 2012. Having operated in the US market for three years, Uber, as well as other ridesharing platforms, were legalised for the first time in California in September 2013. ACT was the first state to legalise Uber in 2015.

How much does Uber cost?

This will differ depending on the city you live in. However, you will be charged a base fare, a fare per minute and a fare per km travelled. This will result in your total. You can get a fare estimate on Uber's website.

How does surge pricing work?

Uber's pricing model is based on the levels of supply and demand at the time. The fewer drivers available and the higher the demand for cars, the higher the surge will be. The surge price increases in increments and is updated very regularly – you can often find the surge price disappear, or sometimes increase within a few minutes. Surge pricing is expressed as a calculation of your standard fare.

For example, you may find a 1.2 X surcharge when you go to book an Uber. Surge pricing is one of the least popular aspects of Uber's service. Uber says it encourages more riders to come on the platform when there is a high demand, for example late at night or during events such as New Year's Eve. However, Uber has been criticised for its surge pricing during these periods as well as times of emergency, the most notable Australian example being the exorbitant surge pricing being charged to get people out of the Sydney CBD during the Lindt Cafe Siege.

Want to save on your Uber ride? Check out these available promo codes:

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Is Uber safe?

While Uber has seen a considerable global uptake in its services, there still may be some hesitation from those using the platform for the first time. For starters, you have to enter your card details into the app so you can be charged. It's important to note these card details are kept secure and cannot be seen by your driver.

You will be able to see your driver's photo and number plate before they pick you up and the driver will be able to see your phone number in case they need to confirm your location. If anything does happen, for example, if your driving was driving recklessly, you lost an item or there are any other concerns you have, you can submit feedback and get help through the app. This feature is especially useful if you've lost something.

However, the most important safety feature is that you and your driver both rate each other. Uber drivers rely on high scores to keep them on the road, so if they do anything wrong they are risking their job.

What other services does Uber offer?

Uber is constantly expanding and adding new services to its platform. Here are the other services you can take advantage of:

  • UberEATS. This service lets you order food from a range of restaurants and have it delivered to your door. The service is currently available in Sydney and Melbourne as well as other major cities across the globe.
  • UberRUSH. This is an on-demand delivery service for businesses. By signing up, businesses can request an UberRUSH vehicle, similar to ordering an UberX, to deliver products to customers. This service is currently only available in New York, San Francisco and Chicago.
  • UberPOOL. Uber has also launched UberPOOL in select locations to allow riders to share their ride, and the cost of it, with another Uber passenger. It's currently available in cities across the US, India, France, China and more.
  • UberBOAT. The name is largely self-explanatory, but UberBOAT is a service that lets you order a boat or a water taxi to get to a certain destination. The service was available for one day in Sydney and for Cannes Festival in France, but it looks to be a permanent offering in Istanbul.
  • UberCHOPPER. As it stands, this has been more of a promotional offering rather than part of Uber's standard service. In various cities, Uber riders were able to order a helicopter to take them for a scenic tour of their city. While it's not a permanent service currently, Uber has said to be experimenting with the service.

Latest Uber news

Picture: Shutterstock

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51 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    PeterSeptember 24, 2018

    I want to update my credit card details. I am an Uber user.

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynSeptember 24, 2018Staff

      Hello Peter,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You can edit a debit or credit card’s expiration date, CCV number, and billing zip or postal code. On your Uber for Business profile, you can change the profile your card is associated with by selecting Settings from your menu. Select Profiles to get started.

      1. Select “Payment” from your app menu.
      2. Select the payment option you’d like to update.
      3. Tap the three dot icon, then tap edit.
      4. Make changes, then tap SAVE when you’re done.

      While a debit or credit card number can’t be edited, a card can be removed from your account and then added again as a new payment method.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnSeptember 24, 2018Staff

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      To update your information in Uber, please follow the following steps:

      UPDATE CARD INFO
      You can edit a debit or credit card’s expiration date, CCV number, and billing zip or postal code. If you have an Uber for Business profile, you can also change the profile your card is associated with by selecting Settings from your menu. Select Profiles to get started.

      1. Select “Payment” from your app menu.
      2. Select the payment option you’d like to update.
      3. Tap the three dot icon, then tap edit.
      4. Make changes, then tap SAVE when you’re done.

      While a debit or credit card number can’t be edited, a card can be removed from your account and then added again as a new payment method. Read on to learn how.

      DELETE A PAYMENT METHOD
      Your account must have at least one payment method at all times. If you wish to delete your only payment method, you’ll need to add a new one first.
      1. Select “Payment” from your menu.
      2. Select the card you’d like to delete.
      3. Tap the three dot icon in the upper right corner.
      4. Tap DELETE, then confirm.

      Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  2. Default Gravatar
    PamelaMay 7, 2018

    Will Uber transport my 2 dogs in their carry cage from Melbourne Airport to Hawthorne East Melbourne?

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniMay 7, 2018Staff

      Hi Pamela,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Uber rules officially state that the decision to take pets into an Uber relies on the discretion of the driver.

      A driver has the right to refuse entry to a rider with a dog if they so wished, and the reason for refusal varies from driver to driver.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  3. Default Gravatar
    JamesApril 3, 2018

    I’m interested in driving for Uber and other rideshare companies in Sydney, Australia. I have a PTLC code as I was a taxi driver. I got my licence in 1998 and had an unblemished driving record up until 2013 when I started accruing speeding fines and last year elected a 12 month good behaviour bond instead of a 3 month licence suspension. But I tried to beat a red light and now I’m on a 6 month suspension ending in later this year. I have no DUI’s or serious offences and no criminal history. But I’m worried my speeding fines and demerit points accrued over the last few years culminating in a suspension will disqualify me from being able to work for Uber and other such companies. As long as I meet all the vehicle requirements etc., once my suspension ends, would Uber and other companies accept me?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynApril 3, 2018Staff

      Hello James,

      Thank you for your comment.

      There are a few requirements you need to meet so Uber can set you up to drive. Make sure you meet the minimum requirements and the required documents. After that, you’re required to pass a background check. Processes for driver-partner background checks vary by city. They may have access to your records and it may have an effect to your application in becoming an Uber driver.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  4. Default Gravatar
    CarolynMarch 12, 2018

    Does my Perth Uber App work in Melbourne?- It seemed like I couldn’t use it last time I visited! Thanks

    • finder Customer Care
      LouMarch 12, 2018Staff

      Hi Carolyn,

      Thanks for your question.

      Your Uber app should work in cities where Uber operates so you should be able to use your app in Melbourne.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  5. Default Gravatar
    AmyFebruary 27, 2018

    Does Uber Australia accept Union Pay Credit card starting with 62…(i.e. Settled in Hong Kong Dollars)?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynFebruary 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Amy,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Per checking, one of the payment methods to use of an Uber rider is credit card. Although we are unable to confirm if a specific credit card like UnionPay credit card is accepted by Uber Australia, you may directly get in touch with Uber to verify this information.

      You may also refer to the accounts and payments options found on the Uber website to see the methods of payments accepted by Uber. Hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  6. Default Gravatar
    GeannJanuary 30, 2018

    I need to be able to get my small dog to and from kennels on a regular basis and can’t drive because of arm injury. I would accompany dog. How do I find out if a driver will transport us?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynFebruary 2, 2018Staff

      Hi Geann,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, you can transport your dog with Uber. Most Uber drivers allow you bring small pet. All you need to do is to contact the driver who accepts your ride request. Just use your app to send a text message or call to let the driver know that you’d like to bring a pet.

      Just make sure to help keep the vehicle clean.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  7. Default Gravatar
    IanJanuary 28, 2018

    How do I cancel an account

    • finder Customer Care
      KathyJanuary 29, 2018Staff

      Hi Ian,

      Thank you for contacting finder – a financial comparison website and general information service designed to help consumers make better decisions.

      HOW TO DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT IN THE APP
      1. Go to Settings
      2. Tap “Privacy Settings”
      3. Tap “Delete Account” and follow the steps on the screen

      HOW TO DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT ON THE WEB
      1. Sign in to account
      2. Submit a request
      3. You’ll receive an email confirming your account is deactivated

      If you change your mind, you can restore it within 30 days of deactivation by signing in to the app.

      Hope this helps!

  8. Default Gravatar
    LatoyaNovember 14, 2017

    Hello I was just wondering, if I live in one state e.g Adelaide and travelled to Melbourne, would I still be able to use the same uber app on my phone? Do I have to restart my phone? What is the procedure when travelling to different states in Australia when using Uber?

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanNovember 14, 2017

      Hi Latoya,

      Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, you will be able to use the same uber app on your phone, and there is no need to restart it.

      While Uber doesn’t limit the distance you can travel on a trip, trips may automatically end after 4 hours. When this is about to happen, the driver is notified by the partner app.

      If you’d like to continue after a trip automatically ends, please request a new ride. Since your previous driver is nearby, they may receive this new trip request.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

  9. Default Gravatar
    pamelaNovember 12, 2017

    i have registered as a uber passenger – BUT every time i try to book a pick up my phone no is incorrect and does not match my email address. not sure what to do. i had a friend who registered for me the only thing i can think of is they have put in my wrong mobile no. not sure what to do to fix the problem

    • finder Customer Care
      LouNovember 12, 2017Staff

      Hi Pamela,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you want to change or edit your phone number on Uber app, you can follow the following procedure:

      1. Log in to your Uber and then choose “Account” from the menu.
      2. Tap EDIT (under your name) to view your current information.
      3. Click the pencil icon at the top right of the screen to edit.
      4. Enter your account password and then you can now update your phone number and other details such as address, or email.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  10. Default Gravatar
    RuthOctober 24, 2017

    How do I get another email with a past uber ride receipt.

    • finder Customer Care
      HaroldOctober 24, 2017Staff

      Hi Ruth,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You may want to follow this procedure. Your Uber account includes a trip history of every ride you’ve taken. To review:
      1. Select “Your Trips” from the app menu.
      2. Select a past trip.
      3. You can review the trip’s route, pickup location and final destination.
      4 For a full breakdown of your fare, tap Receipt.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

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