Uber is a worldwide phenomenon today, changing the taxi and local commute experience. And it can be even better if you use these awesome apps.
We’re not going to get into whether Uber is threatening traditional taxi services or the recent controversy in the U.K. We also aren’t getting into whether Uber is the best or not. This article is about those who use Uber and want to improve their rides.
Needless to say, it’s best if you already have an Uber account to use these apps. If you don’t, you might need to register with the official Uber app for your phone.
1. m.uber.com (Web): Book Uber on Any Computer
Uber is primarily an app that you have to use on your phone. Only then do you get to book a cab to wherever you are. But there’s a simple hack to use it on your computer. Just go to the Uber Mobile site.
Yup, by simply visiting m.uber.com, you’ll be able to book a cab from your browser. It’ll need access to browser permissions like your location, so grant those. Sign in with your registered Uber account, and then it’s as simple as using the app.
In fact, it’s exactly like the smartphone app, but on a bigger screen. And it is synced to your phone, so whatever you do on the computer is also accessible once you shut the PC. Given its ease of use, you might want to turn this into a Windows 10 app with Chrome.
2. Fastlane (Mac): Mac Menu Bar App to Book an Uber Quickly [No Longer Available]
Don’t worry, Mac users, we haven’t forgotten about you. In fact, you get a wonderful made-for-macOS app all of your own. Meet Fastlane, a third-party app to call an Uber.
Fastlane is one of those handy apps for your Menu Bar that sits quietly till you call it into action. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t automatically find your Mac’s location. So you’ll have to type your pickup location and the destination. Dropdown suggestions will help autocomplete both addresses. But hey, that’s kind of better than giving a third-party app access to such private data, right?
Fastlane is completely free and works well. A similar app called Passenger For Uber retrieves your geolocation and sends notifications, but it costs $3. I don’t see why you should pay when the original service is free.
Download: Fastlane for macOS (Free)
3. Uber Estimate (Web): Fare Estimates and Cool Uber Statistics
How can you check an Uber price without actually using Uber? How do you find out prices for routes that you aren’t near to? Uber Estimate has all the answers. And also a bunch of cool statistics.
The app is simple. Put the pickup and dropoff points, and it will tell you the estimated fare in that country’s currency. It’s a nice way to check prices and even surprise a few friends.
The cooler part of the app is the Statistics page. Here you will find the most recent city to get Uber, as well as recent surges across the world. You’ll find top destinations and surges, ZIP codes with the highest fare hikes, and also a live map of surges. It’s a blast to look at all this data. Who knows, you might find some things you never knew you could do with Uber.
4. UpHail (Web, Android, iOS): Compare Uber to Other Cabs
Uber isn’t the only taxi app in the game. In the U.S., Lyft is the biggest competitor. Elsewhere, there are enough other cab companies. And then there are traditional taxi operators too. So which is the cheapest? UpHail can tell you.
This is a taxi aggregator that estimates the cost and cab availability of several ride-hailing services. In the U.S., it’ll show all kinds of options like taking the metro, using a bike-sharing service, and costs of Uber and Lyft across tiers. You can filter options too, like ride-sharing, economy, cash payment, and so on. It’s a pretty good app to figure out whether Uber is always the best choice. Spoiler: it isn’t!
UpHail works in several countries, but won’t test all local services. If that’s the case in your location, you might want to look for a better local alternative to UpHail.
5. The Uber Game (Web): Can You Be an Uber Driver and Survive?
Uber’s idea of becoming an independent cab driver is pretty cool. But is it actually profitable for you? The Financial Times (FT) has developed an awesome game to find out.
The Uber Game is based on FT learnings from interviewing several Uber drivers. It’s a roleplaying game where you need to make choices that determine your fate. For example, you have to choose a car, react to passenger demands and behavior, and so on. Each choice affects your driver rating as well as how much money you earn. You also need to take care of your health and your car, so make wise decisions.
The game is surprisingly in-depth and has been well received by the tech community as well as Uber drivers. I managed to get through the Easy difficult mode, but failed at hard. What about you?
What Do You Think About Uber?
Uber is a polarizing topic wherever you go. Some people love the concept, others think it’s stealing the jobs of taxi drivers. There are some who have legitimate privacy concerns.
What do you think about Uber? Is it a fad or the future of public transport? Do you use it regularly?