• Everything You Need to Know About Uber in India

Everything You Need to Know About Uber in India

Yes, there is Uber in India although it is not everywhere and there are a few slight differences about in India that you might want to know about. I’m going to try and list out the differences and give some tips about taking an Uber in India.

Uber in India

When I came to India the first time in 2012, Uber wasn’t here yet. At that time when you got to the airport upon arrival you could take a prepaid taxi or have your hotel pick you up, both options being better than fighting for a taxi outside the airport. I then found that the Governement prepaid taxies were often ripping me off and I stopped using those and instead used MERU cabs or other taxi stands that instead of prepaid, sent you in one of their driver’s cars with the meter on. You can follow the map on your phone and know they aren’t driving in circles.

But, now Uber is here and has been actually for a few years. I don’t get to use it much as it’s not active in Goa and I would guess there’s zero chance it ever will be. Similar to Canggu, Bali, taxi drivers in Goa would never allow Uber to come into their towns. Transportation in Goa is a little different to the rest of India. You can read more about that in .

In Goa, I drive myself around in this beautiful little thing that was once banned itself because of the easy-to-kidnap-people-doors. Lucky for me, it’s legal now!

When you get to the car, verify the license plate and ask the driver to show you the trip on his phone. You never know what scams people could pull, so better to just make sure you've got the real Uber driver.

Should you use Uber traveling alone in India?

Honestly, I see no difference between using Uber, MERU cab, Government taxi, or jumping in a random cab in India. The background checks are not always done as they should be and although Uber should be more trustworthy, it was not when a woman was raped by her driver in Delhi. Delhi later banned Uber for not doing thorough checks. (Not that banning is a huge deal, as in India it’s a joke about what the next ban will be: beef, porn, bikinis in Goa, PDA, being gay, mannequins in lingerie, advertising alcohol (brands have some funny ways getting around this), and the movie 50 shades of Grey to name a few).

Uber says they have made things more secure, so perhaps Uber would be a safer option, but really it’s just up to chance on these things, isn’t it? I use Uber not because of safety, but because dealing with an app is easier than waiting in line at a taxi stand. Also, I forget to have cash on hand sometimes!

Tips For Using Uber in India

My Uber was working fine when I first used it here. I had the app already downloaded. When I later deleted and reinstalled the app, I found that logging in (in India) was different. I had issues getting in and with a new SIM number, I couldn’t verify my account. I recommend having Uber installed at home before you travel to India.

One other thing to note is that you can choose to pay with cash. This is easy enough. You just go to your settings and choose cash or card. You can use an international card, no problem. But if you prefer cash it’s an option. When Uber first came to India, it was card-only as it is in most countries. They waiting a long time before realizing they were cutting off the majority of their market. India was the first place you could pay cash for an Uber, trialed in Hyderabad in 2015. Now you can do that in .

Technically with Uber, the tip is meant to be included in the price and in India tipping driver’s for short distances isn’t customary (except for rounding up and saying “keep the change”) so a tip isn’t necessary here if you pay via card. If you pay with cash, it’s nice to not take the change.

uber in indiaIn the USA, you might find that there is an Uber pickup area at airports clearly documented with signs. You most likely won’t find this in Indian airports.

You NEED to have a working Indian SIM card so that you can talk to the driver and see where to go. Language barriers do happen. English is widely spoken in India, but some drivers will not speak English. You might have to ask someone to take the phone from you and translate to save time.

Uber will not be rickshaws, it will be cars.

Everything You Need to Know About Uber in India

When you get to the car, verify the license plate and ask the driver to show you the trip on his phone. You never know what scams people could pull, so better to just make sure you’ve got the real Uber driver.

With Uber, there should be a photo of the guy and a license plate and car make. While in Bali, I noticed it was always some other guy driving the car and didn’t mind. In India, I will not get in the car unless it is the same guy.

Everything You Need to Know About Uber in India

Issues you might get with Uber in India

You will get drivers who cancel on you. It sucks and happens here way more than any other country I’ve been. Many drivers also work for OLA  (the Indian version of Uber) and they will cancel if something better comes up.

Another issue is that as you get out of cities, Google Maps isn’t as good and you might find that the hotel isn’t even on the map where it’s meant to be. The good news is this would happen with a regular taxi too, lol, so who cares! #ThisIsIndia

As I said above, there are places Uber is not active because the local taxi guys will not allow it. But, there are places Uber is active that the local taxi guys are NOT happy about it and there are sometimes fights/violence. When you take an Uber, don’t announce it. Don’t tell the hotel it’s Uber or anyone else. They are unmarked cars, so just act like it’s a friend or a driver you have on call. One place I’ve heard the violence happens more than occasionally is in Trivandrum, although I have not encountered this. Staying quiet will keep you and your Uber driver out of any trouble from disgruntled locals. Again, I have used Uber all over India and never had a single issue, but it does happen.

https://help.uber.com/h/bd546eae-73e0-49e3-a2da-0dbfa2a1d526

Where Does Uber Work in India?

It works in most all of the major cities. I have listed them all here so you can see them all clearly.

  • Ahmedabad

  • Ajmer

  • Bangalore

  • Bhopal

  • Bhubaneswar

  • Chandigarh

  • Chennai

  • Coimbatore

  • Guwahati

  • Hyderabad

  • Indore

  • Jaipur

  • Jodhpur

  • Kochi

  • Kolkata

  • Lucknow

  • Ludhiana

  • Mangalore

  • Mumbai

  • Mysore

  • Nagpur

  • Nashik

  • New Delhi

  • Pune

  • Surat

  • Thiruvananthapuram

  • Udaipur

  • Vadodara

  • Visakhapatnam

So, that is pretty much all there is to know about Uber in India! You can to download the free app and choose Andriod or IOS. Enjoy Ubering around India. It definitely makes life easier here and I love it.

Want more tips for traveling India or better yet to have me plan your trip? Buy my India Guide ebook and even if you ONLY read that, you’ll be 1000% prepared for your trip. It’s 6 years of India travel experience all wrapped up in an organized easy to read manner.

Pin Uber in India tips for later (photo by  from flickr):

2018-05-12T20:56:32+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.

12 Comments

  1. Julie October 5, 2017 at 5:24 am - Reply

    Oh man, Rachel, you really touched a nerve for me with Uber!

    I’ve used Uber in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. With Uber in India, there’s no such thing as tapping the app and having a car show up without at least one phone call. They rely on calling customers to guide them and being a tourist just doesn’t facilitate that level of knowledge about a city. I honestly believe they call because most of the drivers cannot read a map. So I don’t know how to guide them, and they can’t find me on the map. It’s really frustrating.

    For example, I will open the app, request a car and then watch on the map as the car doesn’t move. Then, after about 10 minutes, when I realize it’s *not* traffic holding him up, I will call the driver and only then will the driver start driving toward me.

    That’s assuming the driver speaks good English, which many do not, and the phone connection is good, which it often is not, and that I’m not standing on a street corner with dozens of honking cars and motorcycle engines, which I often am.

    Then, the driver will get closer and call again, asking where I am. I’ve begged passers-by on more than one occasion to talk with a driver on my behalf.

    Transport in a big city is such a hassle. I started using Uber as an alternative to taxis because it cuts out a lot of the taxi issues but it’s really not that much better.

    • Rachel Jones October 5, 2017 at 10:46 am - Reply

      Haha yes this is all so true!! I have had some drivers be a little more on it, but this happened to me in Bangalore and I couldn’t get anyone to translate (was on my way to airport) finally gave up and took hotel taxi :/

  2. Divya Jain October 5, 2017 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Airports here do have Uber pick up areas! Not all, but some. Bangalore Airport being one of them

    • Julie October 5, 2017 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      That is an excellent tip Divya, thank you! Was just discussing my boyfriend’s arrival in Bangalore (later this month). Can you tell me a little bit more about where Uber picks up at the Bangalore airport? That would cut out a lot of the issues with getting an Uber (for him).

    • Rachel Jones October 6, 2017 at 11:08 am - Reply

      Good to know! I haven’t been to Bangalore in ages!

  3. Lauren October 5, 2017 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    Just arrived in Mumbai airport and happy to report that uber and ola both have designated pick up areas. It is in a parking garage, so the drivers are already parked there and waiting.

    • Rachel Jones October 6, 2017 at 11:11 am - Reply

      Hey Lauren, awesome!!! I hadn’t seen these signs, but then that’s probably because I’m always connecting onward to Goa. So, for other people reading this, when you ordered your Uber in Mumbai, the drivers were already there waiting so you didn’t have to wait and call and such? Sounds perfect!

    • Bron October 26, 2017 at 4:22 pm - Reply

      Thanks for this! I am landing on Monday and was going to organise a cab through my hotel but it costs £30! Think I’ll try Uber instead!

  4. veena October 7, 2017 at 2:33 am - Reply

    One of the biggest issues I faced with Uber in Bangalore was that often the drivers did not know how to use the navigation in their app, which led to a lot of confusion. I also noticed some of my friends would not check the accuracy of their pickup spot before requesting the car, which made things even more confusing.

    I also often had drivers arrive in the correct car who were not the drivers shown in the app. What I discovered is that because the cab drivers realized they can make more if they run their cars 24 hours a day, they would ask their brothers and cousins and other relatives to come to Bangalore and help them drive. This meant there were drivers who not only were not the driver listed with Uber but were also unfamiliar with the layout of the city, which roads were one-way, and so forth. I would report them to Uber every time it happened, but it was such a widespread problem that I’m not sure how they dealt with it.

    That being said, however, Uber was leagues ahead of Ola when I was living there. The Ola app was so terrible to use, and the drivers – of both cabs and rickshaws alike – were always super rude and would almost always tell me their app wasn’t working and they couldn’t accept my card payment. Uber was the lesser of two evils, and Uber Pool generally worked out pretty well for me.

    I agree with Julie’s comment above that it’s difficult to use as a tourist without a good knowledge of the city they are visiting. I had good luck in Bombay and Bangalore because I know the cities well, but it was a little more difficult in Hyderabad because I didn’t know landmarks.

    Glad to hear the airports have pickup zones, though! That’s a huge improvement.

    • Rachel Jones October 7, 2017 at 11:03 am - Reply

      Thanks for sharing all your tips. I’ve noticed here and also in Bali what you mentioned about the drivers not being the drivers they are meant to be – that is a problem! I can see why they do it to earn more, and I can’t see how Uber will be able to regulate that.

  5. Captnflex October 31, 2017 at 3:52 am - Reply

    Bombay Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport has two terminals, T2 (international) and T1 (domestic).
    At Terminal 2, select P7 West as your pickup spot.
    At T1, meet your driver at the designated pickup point right outside the arrivals hall.

  6. […] Everything You Need to Know About Uber in India […]

Like the Article? Leave a Reply