Las Vegas is the latest city (again) to join some 340 others in permitting Uber—an app that hails rides from third-party drivers—along with its competitor Lyft. Cars are swarming the urban cores and neglected outskirts (and getting cited at the airport), so rides are there for the catching. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Uber is now operating throughout Northern and Southern Nevada, extending car service to the Strip and suburban areas where it was once difficult to find a taxi. Uber cars aren’t allowed in Reno or Las Vegas airports, but Uber regional manager Steve Thompson says the tech company is in talks with both federal properties.
2. Fares fluctuate based on supply and demand. During rush hour, for example, pricing might double. Over the weekend, Las Vegas riders paid as much as $100 for an 11.5-mile ride during peak hours. Thompson says the model encourages more drivers to hit the road. “It’s completely transparent,” he says. “You’re notified at least two to three times in the app that prices are higher than normal, and you have to consent.” Users can get estimates online or in the app before hailing a ride.
3. You can share fares and wheres. Gone are the days of taking turns paying for shared rides. Uber allows you to request that another user pay for part of the fare. The “Share my ETA” feature, favored by women traveling alone, lets riders inform friends of their locations and estimated arrival times.
4. Drivers and their cars are screened. Per the Legislature, drivers submit to local, multi-state and federal background checks that probe their criminal and driving histories. Cars undergo 19-point inspections that include checks of brakes, tires and mileage.
5. Mind your manners. Riders are asked to rate drivers with one to five stars. But be careful, because they can rate you back.