Uber in India

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.

Uber In India

Taking an Uber is one of the best ways to get around in India

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!

  • Uber is available in 27 cities in India
  • The prices for using Uber differ between the different cities

Uber in India: cars

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.

Uber In India

All kinds of cars are used by Uber drivers

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.

Uber In India

Booking an Uber X, you’ll most liekly get a very small car

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!

Uber in India: communication

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.

Uber In India

Communicating with the drivers is generally very complicated

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.

Uber In India

You’ll get to your destination nevertheless

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.

Uber in India: prices

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.

Uber In India

If you can deal with limited seat pitch, Uber is a great option to get around in India

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.


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5 Comments on “Uber in India”

  1. I downloaded the Ola app and used it extensively in Bhopal and Mumbai. Everything you say about Uber is basically also true for Ola (its biggest rival). Another good option is TaxiforSure, which you can use even if you don’t have the app (with a small surcharge). You can set up an account on their website or by calling their local number. They will store your name and number and their reps will “recognize” you. The reps usually speak perfect English, but the drivers rarely do.

    • Thanks for the addition! Ola is very good as well. I haven’t heard of TaxiforSure before, but it also sounds like a good option!

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