My experience with Uber Cabs in Delhi

Uber Cabs has created such a hype of an ultra glam, ultra luxurious cab service that’ll be at your service at the click of a button. You imagine a long black limo with a driver in uniform, ready to salute you when you arrive, greet and pickup your luggage and drop you wherever you demand. Well, it’s time to wake up because that’s definitely NOT what’ll happen when you order a Uber cab! (atleast in Delhi).

I tried out Uber while coming from New Delhi Railway station to my home at Noida.

My experience:

1. I launched the app a few minutes before the train was docking in at the New Delhi Railway Station. You are expected to drag a map and place a pin where you would like to cab to arrive. The map inside the app shows you the nearby cabs and the expected waiting time (which in my case was around 10 mins.).

2. I gave an approximate location of the expected pickup point since it wasn’t easy to make out where the exact pickup point on the railway station would be. When you start the booking, you are shown the cab charges (I have attached the details at the end of this post) and the time it’ll take for the Uber cab to arrive. Immediately, $1 was charged on my AMEX card and the booking was confirmed. I was shown the details of the driver (his name and photo) along with the type and registration number of the Uber cab.

3. Since this was my first booking, I used the “Contact Driver” option and called him up to inform him about my exact location to avoid any confusions and delays later.

4. After stepping out of the station and 2-3 phone calls back and forth with the driver, he was finally able to spot me amongst the huge crowd and traffic jam near the station. In my case, the car was a white Toyota Camry.

5. The driver placed my luggage into the car’s boot. We stepped into the car. He asked me my destination and started driving.

6. The driver dropped us at our residence, smiled and left. My credit card was charged and the trip was complete. There was nothing I had to pay directly to the driver. Overall, it was a smooth and pleasant experience.

Sounds all good? Not quite. There are several things you must know about the service:

Gotcha’s and Things-You-Should-Know:

1. Atleast for now, Uber is just a fancy name for a company they have outsourced the actual cabs to. The company running their operation is a normal taxi operator in Delhi called “Orange Cabs”.

2. Toyota Camry is a spacious but ordinary C-segment sedan. If you own/drive any other C segment sedan (like the City, Verna, Civic, Altis etc.), you won’t find anything impressive about this car to justify the premium you’re paying for the service.

3. Since I live at Noida, Uber cabs have to pay a toll tax on crossing the Delhi-UP border. You will have to pay this fees in addition to the normal Uber fare. Other taxi services like Meru etc. do not need to pay this tax since they have a Delhi-NCR permit. But Uber cabs have only Delhi permits. This toll tax would be in addition to your normal fare and has to be paid at the toll booth directly. In my case, this toll was about Rs. 120. (Note: This toll is different from the toll tax at DND flyway). What’s even worse is that the driver will go an extra 5 kms. to the toll office to pay the tax. All of this (the travel and the waiting) adds up to your bill.

4. As of now, there is no pickup service at Faridabad and Noida. In other words, you cannot start a Uber trip from Faridabad or Noida. But the drop facility is available everywhere in Delhi and NCR. Even in Noida, no pickup and drop exists beyond Kaushambi and Vaishali.

The financial aspect:

The distance from the railway station to my house as per Google Maps is 28 kms. But because of the toll menace, we had to travel 7 kms. extra*. Here are the final stats:

Trip Distance – 35.26 kilometers
Duration – 40 minutes, 59 seconds

Base Fare – Rs. 70.00
Distance @ Rs. 20.00 /km – Rs. 705.06
Time @ Rs. 2.00 /min – Rs. 81.97
Total – Rs. 857.03

Note: The total cost of the trip also depends on the trip duration!

The Tech:

The technology driving this company is the most amazing part of the experience. The entire backbone of the cab service runs on a couple of iPhones and Google Maps. The entire process is completely automated – The driver’s cab has an iPhone mounted inside it, which keeps track of it’s location and keeps sending it to you while you’re waiting for the cab to arrive. The entire route you take to your destination as well as the time you take is calculated on the driver’s iPhone’s application.

More insights: (learnt while I gossiped away with the driver en-route)

1. Uber’s service has lead to a lot more workload for the cab’s drivers, in comparison to doing regular hotel/airport drops. This means a lot more driving and a lot more work.

2. Uber’s cars are premium sedans which run on petrol and diesel and give a lot less mileage compared to econo-sedans like Verito, Dzire and Accent, which run on CNG. Plus premium sedans are often driven by premium drivers. All of this adds to the running cost.


Does Uber plan to beat Meru, EasyCabs etc.? If so, they certainly will never be able to do that. Uber runs a “premium” service for people who wish to travel from point A to point B in comfort (and style) and for whom, money is a non-issue.

My opinion – Indians are price conscious. Does the service deserve the premium? For the cars – Yes, once they introduce more of their premium line up of BMW’s and Merc’s. For anything else – No. Meru does a fine job for me. Ola cabs, Easy Cabs etc. would also probably do just fine.

(Tip: If you’re trying Uber, use promo code iuemz and get a Rs. 300 off on your first ride!)

*Update: Uber contacted me and gave me a Rs. 300 discount for the extra distance I had to go to pay the toll tax. Impressive!

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  1. I think it would have costed you roughly the same amount on a meru cab but the cab would be a bit on the lower end (I wasn’t sent a camary ever by any cab company)

    From what I understand they aren’t necessarily competing with Merus of the world

    Also, providing Mercs and BMWs for Rs 850/- seems a bit far fetched. Question is would you be willing to pay Rs 1500-2000 for a BMW/Merc?

  2. Camry belongs to a completely different segment when compared with all the models you have mentioned. There is like 10lakh rupee difference between their prices.

  3. Just used Uber service today. App is good and the car was nice but the driver was impolite. He was very annoyed by the usual traffic in the lanes (I stay in West Patel Nagar), and was unwilling to turn into one of the lanes – he said that there would be traffic in it, without even bothering to check. I told him there is never any traffic in that lane and then he agreed. The lane was empty. I myself have a honda city and have also used several other cab providers (Easy cabs), no one has ever complained. Very disappointing. I am going to follow up with their customer service and see what they do about this.

  4. Surely seems like a one-off case. You can use the Uber app to give your ride a rating. Leave a bad rating with a comment and someone from Uber should get back to you. You can also contact them on Twitter @Uber_Delhi

  5. Uber is surely a thing for the ones who need style, comfort & a decent price league at the same time. I had my first experience yesterday and took 3 trips in a day. Got Mercedes Benz, Toyota Camry & Fortuner …
    Camry surely doesn’t look that great…. Other two were good !! Drivers too were good & well aware about the routes especially when I used it locally for Gurgaon. On the price front, I think its fine if you pay 2-3 INR extra per KM extra for luxury drives. Ola cabs are today much better than Meru ; I feel Meru is on the down spiral now looking at the dirty cabs they provide you. So, overall good experience & consistency in services will get Uber stabilized in India.

  6. Where is the customer care number for Delhi? For any support issue they urge to fill a form. For any urgent issue is this the only way out? I have been using TFS and OLA for long and at times I am provided quick assistance if needed.
    And if the rates remains the same it will definitely compete with Meru. Meru charges insanely 23/km. Almost equal to Uber.

  7. Charging for time ??? Does my total fare increase if I am stuck in a jam / long red light at a traffic junction ( which is not in a passenger’s control ) ???

  8. Thanks for the review. I need your suggestion,,,, i will be traveling from Indira gandhi airport to my house (in delhi) on 29th aug at 11:30 pm! distance is around 34 km, so what is the cheapest alternative available within cab services (using coupon codes and all)???
    PS- since i am a student and not on some business trip so all i care is cheap travel, no luxury, no comfort! (i am opting cab only to ensure my safety late night otherwise i would have taken bus)
    hoping for reply

  9. If you use the code “iuemz” with UberX (not Uber Black), I think your trip should turn out to be quite economical. Especially at night, when traffic is low so you won’t have to pay too much for waiting time!

  10. As you’ve explained nicely what the Uber is doing but in my case the experience was awesome. I have booked the cab from IGI Airport for Gurgaon Sec 56. Cab arrived within 5 Min which was a Mercedes Benz E Class, driver was nicely dressed, picked me up and drop me to the desired location. Fare breakdown are as

    KILOMETERS: 21.91

    TRIP TIME: 00:29:44

    Base Fare: 75.00

    Distance: 394.48

    Time: 59.47

    Subtotal: ₨528.95

    Rounding Down: -0.95

    Promotion: -132.00

    TOTAL: ₨396.00

    So overall it was awesome experience with Uber within the budget.

  11. Sir I am a Student in pune
    I had 20$ as my promotion on my first ride. in my uber account…..
    Will it be a ride of 1200 rs free….as 20$ in Indian currency are 1200INR….

  12. Dear Bhavesh, I don’t think it will work. Promo codes are highly likely to be country specific. Coupon code IUEMZ works in India for sure and gives you a Rs. 300 discount on your first ride.

  13. Hi,
    I just want to check for availing the uber cab services, there is any special requirement of Amex Card Or with any other bank credit card we can use this service.



  14. Uber never says that you will have a chauffeur who will open and hold the door for you. Uber is a clever idea of utilizing idle inventory with cab companies in the city who sign up with them. Uber is a company invested in by Google and is not Orange Cabs. While you might complain of services being erratic in Noida, that’s purely availability of the cab services enrolled from that area and also people travelling to these locations, which is not as frequent as Delhi/South/Central Delhi or Gurgaon. Uber made Meru already see RED and if you see the Meru App now, it clones Uber’s. Its a great addition to the market and even if it caters to a narrow section of the audience, that in terms of population in India/Delhi is still H U G E.

  15. 1. Comparison between Camry and City like sedan is wrong.
    2. MCD toll for Delhi – Noida is Rs. 65. Uber charged Rs. 100 yesterday. Why?
    3. Charges for time, are they crazy?
    4. Terminal 1 to Noida Sector 61 Rs. 490 with MCD and DND toll on Taxi for sure on 16th Nov. And New Delhi railway station to Noida Sector 61 Rs. 610 by Uber on 21st Nov without first time discount, which one will be better next time without discount, judge by yourself.

  16. Hey Rahul,

    1. Yes, you’re right. I got a lot of flak from many readers because of this comparison 😉
    2. This has been sorted out now. Uber charges the correct amount these days.
    3. Yeah, but Uber’s per kilometer rates are lesser than other cabs like TaxiForSure, Meru, Ola etc. All and all, it turns out to be the same costing. Just that drivers can relax a little bit if they get caught in a jam. Their customers are still being billed.

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