Uber has an upfront pricing model, or “Upfront Fares”. This model requires passengers to input their destination address before requesting a car. Then based on the trip duration, Uber will provide an upfront fare price. If you happen to request a car during a surge pricing period, the price you will be quoted will include the extra surge. In other words instead of seeing that your ride will have a 2x on a typical $12 fare, you will simply see a fare quote for $24. Continue below for the behind the scenes look at how Uber determines these Upfront Fares.
Your Uber fare is first calculated on 4 main criteria:
Base (or initial) fare – A flat fee charged at the beginning of every ride
Cost per minute – How much you are charged for each minute you are inside the ride
Cost per mile – How much you are charged for each mile of the ride
Booking Fee (Formerly ‘Safe Rides Fee’) – A flat fee to cover Uber’s ‘operating costs’ (Not included for Uber’s more luxury services like UberBlack or UberSUV)
Here’s how Uber uses the 4 main criteria above to calculate your fare:
Base Fare + (Cost per minute * time in ride) + (Cost per mile * ride distance) + Booking Fee = Your Fare
Other Key Factors in Determining Your Uber Fare
There are a few more factors that will play into your Uber Fare that are not included in the 4 main criteria. As noted hese factors are also already included in the upfront fare you will receive.
Tolls and Fees: Uber requires all passengers to pay for any tunnel, bridge, or toll charges that are incurred during the course of the ride. These charges will be added to your fare total at the end of your trip.
Uber Surge Pricing: Uber surge pricing has a scary connotation but it is actually a fairly simple and, at times, positive principal. Uber surge pricing is when Uber rates increase to guarantee reliability and availability of cars. When the demand for rides cannot be met by the number of current drivers on the road, prices will increase. This encourages more drivers to turn on their app and hit the road since they will make more money than usual. Uber will always notify you in your app before you request a ride if there is surge pricing so you will never be caught off guard. Surge pricing helps to guarantee that there is always a ride available, if you are willing to pay the price!
Your Uber fare, with surge pricing, is calculated by multiplying your total fare (before tolls) by the surge price multiplier. For instance if the surge amount is at 2x your total fare will be doubled, if the surge amount is 3x your total fare will be tripled.
Surge Pricing Example: If your total fare at the end of your trip is $12 and there was a 2x surge in effect, your new total would be $24. Then Uber would add on any incurred tolls.
Uber Minimum Fare: To encourage drivers to pick up short rides that will not yield much profit, Uber sets a minimum fare for each service. This helps to fairly reimburse drivers for short rides. If the combination of the above criteria results in your fare being lower than the minimum fare, you will be charged the minimum fare price instead. The minimum fare amount changes from city to city.
Minimum Fare Example: It is raining and you decide to take an UberX only two blocks down the street to stay dry. After your trip ends and you add up the four different variables (as shown above), you calculate that your fare would only be $3.24. But in your area, the minimum fare for UberX is $5, so you will be charged $5 instead of $3.24.
Uber Fare Prices Vary Based on City & Car Service
It is important to note that the four main criteria factors that we outlined in section 1 (base fare, cost per minute, cost per mile, and booking fee) all vary from city-to-city, and across the many Uber services (UberX, UberXL, UberSUV, UberBlack, etc). For instance while a 5 mile UberX ride in Boston may cost $15, the same distance in the same vehicle may only cost $11 in Boise.