Yes, there is Uber in India although it is not everywhere and there are a few slight differences about Uber 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 my ebook.
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!
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, events proved 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 six countries.
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.
In 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 now has UberAUTO which will be rickshaws, not cars, which travelers love to use.
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.
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.
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.
So, that is pretty much all there is to know about Uber in India! You can click here 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 joiseyshowaa from flickr):
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