Is Scheduling An Uber More Expensive Than Requesting One On-Demand?

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have become ubiquitous in recent years. Their convenience and reasonable prices have made them a preferred choice over traditional taxis for many people. However, surge pricing and higher demand during peak times can drive costs up significantly at times.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Scheduling an Uber ride in advance does not guarantee a higher or lower fare compared to requesting one on-demand. The main factors that determine your Uber fare are the type of ride, the distance and estimated time of the trip, demand and availability of drivers, and whether surge pricing is in effect.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll look at how Uber’s pricing model works, when and why surge pricing happens, strategies to get the best deal on your ride, and whether scheduling in advance tends to be more or less expensive than booking on-demand.

How Uber Calculates Fares

Understanding how Uber calculates fares can help you determine whether scheduling a ride or requesting one on-demand is more cost-effective. Uber uses a combination of factors to determine the final fare, including the base fare, cost per mile and minute, and surge pricing.

Base Fare and Booking Fee

Every Uber ride starts with a base fare, which is a flat fee charged regardless of the distance traveled or time taken. This base fare covers the initial cost of the trip and varies based on your location and the type of Uber service you choose, such as UberX or Uber Black.

In addition to the base fare, Uber also charges a booking fee, which helps cover administrative costs.

Cost per Mile and Minute

Uber calculates the cost of your ride based on the distance traveled and the time taken. The cost per mile and minute varies depending on your city and the type of Uber service you select. For example, UberX may have a lower cost per mile and minute compared to Uber Black, which offers a more premium experience.

The cost per mile and minute is added to the base fare to determine the total fare for your trip.

Surge Pricing

During times of high demand, Uber may implement surge pricing to ensure that enough drivers are available to meet the increased demand. Surge pricing is a multiplier applied to the base fare, cost per mile, and cost per minute.

This means that your fare can increase significantly during surge pricing periods. Uber notifies users of surge pricing before they confirm their ride, allowing them to make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the booking or wait for the surge to subside.

When Does Surge Pricing Occur?

Surge pricing is a feature implemented by ride-sharing platforms like Uber to balance supply and demand during peak times. During these periods, the cost of a ride may increase significantly. Understanding when surge pricing occurs can help riders make informed decisions about when to schedule an Uber.

During peak demand times

Surge pricing often occurs during peak demand times, such as rush hours or when a large number of people are requesting rides. This happens because the number of available drivers may not be enough to meet the high demand.

As a result, the prices go up to incentivize more drivers to get on the road and cater to the increased demand.

Adverse weather conditions

Adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snowstorms, or extreme heat, can also trigger surge pricing. During these times, people may be more inclined to request rides instead of braving the elements themselves.

The increased demand for rides combined with potentially hazardous driving conditions can lead to surge pricing.

Major events and holidays

Surge pricing is often observed during major events and holidays when there is a surge in the number of people needing transportation. Whether it’s a music festival, a sporting event, or New Year’s Eve, surge pricing kicks in to encourage more drivers to be available during these high-demand periods.

Limited driver supply

Surge pricing can occur when there is a limited supply of drivers in a particular area. This can happen in less populated areas or during late-night hours when fewer drivers are on the road. With fewer drivers available, the demand for rides may exceed the supply, triggering surge pricing.

It’s important to note that surge pricing is temporary and fluctuates based on supply and demand. Uber provides upfront pricing estimates, so riders can see the surge multiplier before confirming their ride.

If you’re trying to avoid surge pricing, consider scheduling your ride in advance or using alternative transportation options during peak demand times.

Does Scheduling an Uber Cost More?

Many people wonder if scheduling an Uber in advance will result in a higher fare compared to requesting one on-demand. The truth is, there is no guarantee that scheduling will cost more or less. It ultimately depends on various factors such as the time of day, location, and demand for rides at that particular moment.

No guarantee of higher or lower fare

When you schedule an Uber, the fare is determined based on the same factors as when you request one on-demand. The pricing algorithm takes into account distance, time, and demand. So, whether you schedule or request a ride on the spot, the fare can fluctuate depending on these variables.

Surge pricing not locked in

One misconception about scheduling an Uber is that surge pricing will be locked in. Surge pricing occurs when there is high demand for rides in a particular area, leading to increased fares. However, when you schedule a ride in advance, surge pricing may not be in effect at that time.

This means that you might end up paying a regular fare, even if surge pricing is active when your scheduled ride is due.

Scheduling to avoid surge pricing

On the other hand, scheduling an Uber can be a strategic move to avoid surge pricing. If you know that there will be high demand at a certain time or in a specific location, scheduling a ride in advance can help you secure a ride at a regular fare before surge pricing kicks in.

This can be particularly helpful during peak hours or busy events.

Using fare estimates and splitting fares

Whether you schedule or request an Uber, you can use fare estimates to get an idea of how much your ride might cost. Uber provides a fare estimate feature that takes into account the distance and time it would take to reach your destination.

Additionally, splitting fares with friends or fellow riders can help reduce the cost for each individual, regardless of whether the ride was scheduled or requested on-demand.

Tips to Get the Best Uber Fare

Getting the best fare for your Uber ride doesn’t have to be a mystery. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that you’re getting the most value for your money. So, is scheduling an Uber more expensive than requesting one on-demand? Let’s find out!

Avoid peak times if possible

If you’re flexible with your travel plans, try to avoid peak times when Uber rates are likely to surge. This typically includes rush hour, holidays, and major events in your city. By scheduling your ride during off-peak hours, you can potentially save some money on your fare.

Remember, during peak times, demand is high and supply is limited, which can drive up prices.

Walk a short distance for pickup

While it may be convenient to request an Uber right from your doorstep, walking a short distance to a more accessible pickup location can sometimes result in lower fares. This is because some areas may have higher demand or more congested traffic, which can increase the cost of your ride.

By walking a few blocks to a less crowded area, you might be able to secure a better fare.

Share your ride

Uber offers a feature called Uber Pool, which allows you to share your ride with other passengers traveling in the same direction. By opting for Uber Pool, you can split the fare with other riders, making it a more cost-effective option.

Keep in mind that this may slightly increase your travel time as you make additional stops, but the savings can be worth it, especially for longer trips.

Apply promo codes and credits

Uber frequently offers promo codes and credits to both new and existing users. These can be applied to your fare, helping you save money on your next ride. Keep an eye out for promotions via email, social media, or Uber’s official website.

Additionally, you can refer friends to Uber and earn credits when they take their first ride. Taking advantage of these incentives can significantly reduce your overall cost.

Comparison between scheduled and on-demand fares

Scheduled Uber On-demand Uber
Cost Varies depending on demand Varies depending on demand
Availability Guaranteed Subject to driver availability
Flexibility Allows you to plan ahead Immediate access to a ride

When it comes to cost, both scheduled and on-demand Uber rides can vary depending on demand. The availability of scheduled rides is guaranteed, while on-demand rides are subject to driver availability.

Scheduled rides offer the advantage of allowing you to plan ahead, whereas on-demand rides provide immediate access to a ride when you need it.

Should You Schedule or Request On-Demand?

Scheduling for peace of mind

One of the main benefits of scheduling an Uber ride is the peace of mind it offers. By scheduling your ride in advance, you can be confident that a driver will be available at the designated time and location.

This is particularly useful for important events or when you have a tight schedule to adhere to. Whether it’s catching a flight or attending a business meeting, scheduling an Uber can help you avoid any last-minute stress or delays.

Requesting for last-minute trips

On the other hand, there are situations where requesting an Uber on-demand is more convenient. If you find yourself in need of a ride immediately, such as during an unexpected rainstorm or when you’re running late, requesting an Uber on-demand can provide a quick solution.

With just a few taps on your smartphone, you can have a driver on their way to pick you up within minutes.

Comparing estimated fares

When it comes to cost, it’s important to compare the estimated fares for both scheduled and on-demand rides. While scheduling an Uber may offer peace of mind, it’s worth noting that surge pricing can still apply.

This means that during peak demand periods, the price for a scheduled ride may be higher than expected. On the other hand, requesting an Uber on-demand during non-peak hours may result in lower fares. It’s always a good idea to check the estimated fares for both options before making a decision.

Scheduling On-Demand
  • Peace of mind
  • Guaranteed availability
  • Immediate response
  • Convenience
  • Potential surge pricing
  • Less flexibility
  • Dependent on driver availability
  • Possible longer wait times


At the end of the day, whether you choose to schedule your Uber ride in advance or call one on-demand comes down to personal preference. Scheduling guarantees you’ll have a car ready when you need it but doesn’t lock in the fare.

On-demand rides offer more flexibility for last-minute trips but run the risk of surge pricing during busy times.

To get the best deal, avoid peak hours when possible, compare estimated fares in the app, and take advantage of promotions and credits. With some planning and fare-splitting features, you can minimize the cost of your ride regardless of when you book it.

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