How to use Uber, the ride sharing App

By:  Jim Schrempp   |  Posted: January 23, 2016   |  Updated: April 5, 2023

We think ride sharing App’s like Uber are a great new resource that can help older adults get around more easily. This article (with videos) will describe how to get a ride using the Uber smart phone application, after first downloading the App and setting it up.

You can see a comparison of several of these ride sharing Apps here, but our reviewers decided they liked Uber best, so we did this “How To” series of videos.

We have also discussed these Apps quite a bit in our Longevity Explorer circles. While many of our Explorers like Uber, a sizable minority prefer an App that summons a taxi instead of a private car, and those Explorers are using an App called Flywheel for that.

In this article we provide a series of very short videos that will demonstrate each step in the process of setting up and then using the Uber App. You can watch the videos as you read the article and come back to view them again any time you have a question about Uber.

Just do it: Uber

If you already have the Uber app on your smart phone, this first video will give you a quick, “let’s just do it” overview of using Uber. Start here if you are a savvy smartphone user and just want to know: What is Uber?, or How does Uber work?



Uber Step by Step

 Download and setup

To use Uber you first download their free app to your smart phone and sign up for a free account.

Apple iPhone, iPad:  Click to get Uber on your Apple device

Android phones and tablets:  Click to get Uber on your Android device


Choose the type of ride

When you want a ride you open the app and select the type of ride you want.

Uber offers several kinds of service in their app:

  • UberX: basic ride service for 1-4 people
  • UberXL: basic ride service for up to 6 people
  • Black Car: limousine style ride – a bit more formal
  • Access: drivers trained to assist riders with mobility issues

UberX is the least expensive service and works great. The other Uber services will cost you more and will probably take longer for the driver to arrive. The basic UberX ride service is available in the most areas, so if you live away from an urban core, the UberX service may be your only viable choice.


Choose a pickup location

Once you have selected the type of ride you want (the cheapest option is UberX) then you have to tell Uber where you want to be picked up. The app uses GPS to know where you are, but you need to make sure the location is accurate.


Get a fare estimate

A common question we get asked is: “How much is an Uber ride?“. Uber will give you an estimate of the cost of your ride, if you want. The actual price will depend on traffic conditions – the same way a taxi meter works.



Set your destination

Once you have used Uber a few times you might want to skip the fare estimate part and just specify your destination. There are a couple of different ways you can do this. You can type in where you want to go, or you can use the interactive map.


Summon the Ride

If you tap the final step to arrange the ride, then in a few seconds a driver is selected by Uber and headed to pick you up. The app displays a small photo of the driver and the car – you can see who and what is coming to pick you up. The app also displays a map showing where the driver is and you can watch him approach your location.


On the Move

When your ride arrives you can look at the app to verify that this is the right car for you. Uber drivers should have the Uber logo displayed in their front window. Now open the back seat door and get in. Sit back and enjoy the ride. Your driver will probably be using his own smart phone with GPS driving directions to get you to your destination.


When the Ride is Over

At the end of the ride you step out and the application automatically charges the ride to your credit card. Today Uber rides typically cost about 15% less than a traditional taxi ride. It’s all easy and simple to understand. The hardest part is remembering to not reach for your wallet at the end of your ride.

One last, important, step is that the app will ask you to rate your ride with 1 to 5 stars. Anything less than 5 stars will cause some concern at the company, and if you rate the ride 3 or less then the company will talk to your driver about what happened. Drivers who get too many 3 star ratings are banned by the company. 5 stars does not mean “exceptional,” it means “everything went as expected.” Unless the ride really was bad, then you should rate your ride with 5 stars.



The bottom line: Uber is a very good service that will quickly respond to your need for a ride. We recommend that you download the app and go somewhere soon. Why not take a ride today?

Apple iPhone, iPad

Android phones and tablets

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*Disclosure: The research and opinions in this article are those of the author, and may or may not reflect the official views of Tech-enhanced Life.

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8 thoughts on “How to use Uber, the ride sharing App”

  1. And . . . tipping? Is this

    And . . . tipping? Is this done at the end of the ride, out of the car, when paying the fare?

  2. If I wouldn’t mind riding

    If I wouldn't mind riding with a driver again, I give them 5 stars.  If I was less than pleased, but willing to ride with them again if there's no other option, I'll give them a 3.  If I give them a 1, it means I don't ever want to see them again, and if I do, I won't get in the car with them.

    Some of the things that bother me are rap/hiphop music playing with vulgar lyrics, a car that's a pigstye, a driver that won't talk, and a driver that insists that I sit in the back.  I encounter very few rides with any of these "features".  Most drivers have better cars that are clean, there's no music playing, like to talk, and are happy to have you in the front seat.

    Sorry, Uber, but that's the way it is.  And from talking to others, I'm not the only one.

  3. Thank you for the explanation

    Thank you for the explanation and the videos which are clear and easy to understand. The glitch for me is that I am in Perpignon FR using UBER for the first time as a result of a medical emergency while on vacation!  The app never displayed a picture of the driver and the car information nor did I see a map. After spending 30 minutes I just returned to the hotel in frustration. If a driver was dispatched, I have no doubt they are similarly frustrated.  

  4. Hello – I have used Lyft five

    Hello – I have used Lyft five times in the last month in Boston and SF. I do not like the corporate culture at Uber so prefer Lyft. I have not had any problems except the drivers can be very chatty. Apparently Lyft cultivates the friendly approach and I guess that is much better than some of the really surly taxi drivers I have encountered over the years.

  5. How to request Uber in
    How to request Uber in advance?
    Twice I’ve tried, but a car was dispatched immediately which resulted in a fee for cancellation.

  6. Believe it or not, I do not
    Believe it or not, I do not have a cell phone! Is there some way I can call Uber to arrange for a ride by using my landline?