Uber in India is one of the best options to get around in the larger cities. However, using Uber is not as easy for tourists as you might expect. While the app itself works just fine, you can’t really use Uber without a SIM Card. Getting one is everything but easy, but I’ll explain how to get one in another guide. Yet, that’s not the only problem that arises when using Uber in India.
I didn’t hear many good stories about taxis in India and so decided to look for alternatives. While I’m a real fan of public transportation, it’s nearly impossible to use public transportation in India as a tourist.
There are some notable expectations like the Delhi Metro or the Bengaluru Metro, but the systems are not very well developed as of now. That leaves you with Ola (another app) and Uber as options. Being already an Uber client, I decided to go for the latter!
Depending on the city, there are different options for using Uber. In all cities there’s Uber Go and Uber X and in Mumbai there’s also Uber Black. In cities like Delhi or Mumbai you may also find an Uber SUV from time to time.
When it comes to the cars themselves you’ll be rather disappointed. Uber in India usually means that you’ll be sitting in an extremely small and mostly old car, most likely produced in India. The Uber Black I ordered once was a little disappointing as well as it was just an old Skoda, which looked everything but a limousine.
At the same time, it’s worth noting that cars in India are generally very small and that all Ubers I used in India were clean and comfortable. Note: don’t try to use a belt, there’s none anyway!
When using Uber in India, you’ll definitely need mobile internet and some call volume on your SIM card. If you don’t you’ll have a really tough time to find your driver, be it at the airport, in the city or even at your hotel.
However, that’s only part of the story as you’ll partly have a hard time even though you got both. That’s because many of the Uber drivers either don’t speak English at all or have very basic skills. This means that communication is sometimes either impossible or nearly impossible.
Sometimes things work out via GPS anyway, sometimes you can find somebody speaking Hindi to help you and sometimes the driver finds someone speaking English to help him. The whole process can be quite stressful, which I’d only partly recommend Uber in India if you don’t speak Hindi and have nobody speaking the language close to you.
All Ubers in India we had were friendly and the drivers are supposed to offer safe services. We only had problems with one very aggressive driver, but besides very good experiences. That said, the main reason for using Uber in India besides safety are the prices. Uber in India is generally very cheap, which means that you’ll pay significantly less than when taking a taxi. I’d say the usual difference is at least 25 percent.
Moreover, there’s no way you are getting cheated on, because you are a tourist, which happens quite often with Tuk Tuk’s and taxis in India. In conclusion, I’d definitely recommend using Uber in India. However, I’d say that English speakers should use Uber only for rides from and to the airport as well as departing at a hotel or a restaurant, where somebody can translate. In the city itself you’ll not only have the problem of the language barrier, but also waiting times. Taking a Tuk Tuk is definitely the better option to get around in the city center.