There are many transportation options in Washington DC, but Uber may be one of the best. Uber in Washington DC is convenient, safe, and cost-effective, making it a great way to get around the busy city.
Before you head to Washington, DC, check out these tips and big mistakes to avoid.
The Ultimate Guide to Uber in Washington DC
What Is Uber?
Uber is a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service that is marketed as a better, safer, and more cost-effective alternative to taxis. Ubers can be found in major cities all around the world, including Washington DC.
How Do You Use Uber?
Download the Uber App
First, you will need to download the Uber app onto your smartphone. The app is available on both the App Store and Google Play.
Create an Account
Then, you must create an account. To do so, you will simply need to input your name, phone number, preferred language, and payment method. You may also be asked to verify your phone number.
Request a Ride
To request a ride, type your desired destination into the search bar at the top of the screen. Then, you will adjust and confirm your pick-up location. Usually, the app will set the pick-up location to your current location, but you can adjust this if you would like by manually moving the pin to your desired pick-up location.
From there, you will have the option to choose between the different types of Ubers. UberX is the most common type of Uber, which seats up to four passengers. There will also be options for UberBLACK (high-end vehicles), UberLUX (luxury vehicles), UberXL (large vehicles that seat up to six passengers), UberFAMILY (an option that guarantees that drivers have car seats for small children for an additional $10 fee), and UberPOOL (an option that allows you to save money by sharing a ride with others going in a similar direction).
Once you select a type of Uber and press the “confirm” button, Uber will find a driver for you. When Uber has found a nearby driver, the app will give you the estimated amount of time it will take for your driver to arrive at the pick-up location.
Confirm Your Uber Driver
Once you see a car that matches the description given in the app, confirm that he or she is your Uber driver by double checking the car type, car color, and license plate. And be sure that the driver says your name (rather than you saying the driver’s name) before hopping into the vehicle.
Enjoy the Ride
Then, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride to your desired destination. Most Uber drivers will try to match your vibe as you ride in the car. If you’d like to talk, they will talk. Or if you’d like to sit quietly and just listen to music, they’ll likely let you do your thing.
Rate Your Experience
After you have completed your journey, rate your experience out of five stars. Most riders are pretty generous, because Uber drivers have to keep their average rating above 4.6 stars to keep driving. You will also receive a rating out of five stars from the driver.
Can You Use Uber in Washington DC?
Yes, you can! Certain cities put restrictions on Ubers, but there are no restrictions on Uber in Washington DC.
What Are the Advantages of Using Uber in Washington DC?
Getting a ride from an Uber in Washington DC is extremely convenient. All you need is your smartphone and the Uber app. With those two things, you can get picked up by an Uber pretty much anywhere in the district, because there are so many Ubers in the area.
If you are a visitor to Washington DC, there is another perk that comes with taking an Uber: you’ll be driven around by a DC local! Some of the roads in the district, such as Dupont Circle and Logan Circle, can be very confusing to visitors, so having someone who knows his or her way around is definitely much more convenient than trying to figure it out on your own.
Another thing, parking in DC can be challenging at times, so taking an Uber means you do not have to find a spot.
Overall, Uber is a safe form of transportation in Washington DC. Uber does background checks and vehicle inspections on all of their drivers and their cars before allowing them to transport passengers. To ensure your safety though, be sure to follow these simple tips:
- Confirm that the driver’s car type and color is the same as the car type and color that is indicated in the app.
- Confirm that the driver’s license plate is the same as the license plate that is indicated in the app.
- Make sure the driver says your name (rather than you saying his or her name).
If you follow those three tips above, you will stay safe and sound.
If you are still a little nervous about taking an Uber, the app also gives you the option to share your route and your ETA with your friends and family members. Then, your friends and family members will be able to follow you in real-time using your phone’s GPS and make sure you safely reach your destination.
Pretty much everything in Washington DC is pricey, transportation included. In some situations, Uber may be the most cost-effective way to travel throughout the district.
Renting a car might be the most expensive way to explore the city. Not only is renting a car in Washington DC pricey, but parking it can also cost a pretty penny. Taxis are the second most expensive form of transportation in DC. The rates of taxis in Washington DC are significantly more the rates of Uber in Washington DC.
The only transportation option that may be more cost-effective than Uber (and other ride-hailing apps) is the metro. If you are traveling a long distance on your own, the metro will likely be more cost-effective than an Uber. However, if you are a family of four traveling a relatively short distance, an Uber will be more affordable than the metro (because you will only need to buy one Uber ride rather than four metro tickets).
Payment Is Taken Care of Through the App
At the end of a traditional taxi ride, people often find themselves fumbling for the right amount of cash, or, if they’re lucky enough that their taxi takes card, their debit or credit card. With Uber, this frantic search for payment no longer exist. All of the payment is handled directly through the app! You just have to put in your credit card information one time (usually when you are setting up your account), and you’re all set until that card expires.
How Can You Get An Uber at All of the DC Airports?
Across the world, certain airports have restrictions on Uber at airports. Luckily, that is not the case for Uber at the airports in Washington DC. You can use Uber at any of the airports in the Washington DC area, although there is a $4 fee per pickup added to your total fare.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
You can get an Uber at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)! If you are in Terminal A, you can get an Uber anywhere, as long as you are curbside. If you are in Terminal B or Terminal C, you have two options. You can get picked up by your Uber outside of doors 6, 7, and 8 on the lower arrivals level or outside of doors 1, 3, 4, and 6 on the upper departures level.
Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
You can get an Uber at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) as well. You can get picked up anywhere on the arrivals curb. It is best to set your pick up location in front of one particular door with a number on it. That way, if you and your Uber driver have a difficult time finding each other, you can just explain which door you are in front of.
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
Just like the other two Washington DC airports above, you can also catch an Uber at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). You can get picked up anywhere on the curb on the upper level/departures level.
What Are Uber Rates in Washington DC?
The rates for Uber in Washington DC are more affordable than rates for taxis in Washington DC. Uber rates are comparable to the rates of other ride-hailing apps, such as Lyft.
Uber rates are dependent on the time it takes to reach a destination, the distance covered to reach a destination, and the addition of any fees (such as the aforementioned airport fee). There is also Uber surge pricing, which is when Uber prices increase due to high demand (for example, during rush hour or after a concert).
If you would like to avoid surge pricing, there are a few ways to do that. First, you can walk a few blocks away to a place that is less crowded. Or, if you are a patient person, you can wait a few minutes until the crowds begin to clear. Either way, the prices will likely return back to normal relatively quickly.
For more exact rates for Uber in Washington DC, Uber provides a price estimator. By inputting your pick-up and drop-off locations, you can use this tool before requesting an Uber to estimate the cost of your ride.