How is My Uber & Lyft Fare Calculated?

Posted by: RideGuru Team Jul 18, 2016
Updated Jan 16, 2020




How is My Uber & Lyft Fare Calculated?

*Update: Uber now 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:

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 in the UPDATE these 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.

Now that you understand all the factors that go into your Uber fare and how time-consuming it would be to calculate it on your iPhone calculator, try the RideGuru Cost Estimater! RideGuru will calculate your Uber fare using all of these factors with one easy click of a button and will even display you estimated Uber fare next to other popular rideshare options like Lyft and Curb so you can find the cheapest ride! 

Happy Travels!

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     2 years ago

    Why does UBER & LIFT companies allow so many ubers in a small town like Provincetown, MA  - up to 12 or more here in any given day. 

    If UBER is not careful a home rule petition will be made to the State to have you curtailed or eliminated from operating.  Competition is fair - but being over-saturated with UBERS is hurting all the town taxi's - especially during the summer season.  AND they come from all over the USA and Canada. 

    Would like to hear from UBER & LIFT headquarters.  Nobody asked - just my honest opinion.  

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     1 year ago

    How do you pay? Is it cash? Can you use a debit card?

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     1 year ago


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     1 year ago

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