If you’re planning on being somewhere at a specific time and need to arrange transportation to get there, Uber allows you to schedule rides in advance so that you don’t have to do it when the time actually comes.
Keep in mind, though, that scheduling an Uber ride in advance doesn’t actually guarantee you’ll get a ride. If you schedule a ride a week in advance, Uber drivers don’t see your request until right when you need the ride—it still shows up as a normal request to nearby Uber drivers.
This means that if it’s really busy out, you still may not get a ride as quickly as you probably expected. Or if it’s an off-peak time, you still might be hard-pressed to find an Uber driver out on the roads.
In other words, it doesn’t work like restaurant reservations—you don’t get to skip the long line at the hostess desk just because you scheduled a reservation in advance. Instead, the Uber app just sends out a normal request for a ride at the time you specified.
The good news is that when the app does send out your request at the scheduled time, it spends up to 15 minutes constantly requesting a ride automatically if there’s not an Uber driver currently looking for fares. In bigger cities this usually isn’t a problem anyway, but in smaller cities where there may not be a lot of demand, Uber drivers can be hard to come by at certain hours during the day. In these instances, the Uber scheduling feature will keep trying for you.
Start off by opening up the Uber app on your phone and tapping the icon with a car and a clock to the right of the “Where to?” box.
Select the date and time when you want to schedule your ride. Take note that it will automatically add 15 minutes to the time you select. This 15-minute window is the period where Uber will continuously request for a ride if it can’t find one right away (as discussed above).
After you’ve selected a date and time, tap the “Set Pickup Time” button at the bottom. On Android, it’s the “Set Pickup Window” button.
Now it’s time to set the destination, and you can do that in a couple of ways. The first way is by tapping on “Where to?” and entering in a place or address manually. You can also select a predetermined location listed below that.
The second way is by finding the destination on the map, and then using the pin to determine the location. Do this by swiping down in the middle of the screen.
From there, drag the map around until the pin is placed on the location of your destination. When you’ve got your destination set, hit the “Done” button at the bottom.
When that’s finalized, tap the “Schedule UberX” button at the bottom. On this screen, also take note of the estimated cost and the payment method the app will use. This is important because Uber scheduling currently doesn’t support Apple Pay—you have to use a debit or credit card instead.
After your ride is scheduled, Uber will automatically request a ride for you starting at the time you specified.