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How do Uber fares work for PCO drivers in London?

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There are more types of Uber fare than ever and so it’s vital to understand how these work for private-hire drivers. This post will explain everything. 

Many PCO drivers ask what the Uber vehicle requirements are in London and this is a confusing topic as there are so many categories in the Uber app. Some Uber fares involve the driver having a specific type of car – such as an EV to be eligible for Uber Green – while others demand experience or training. 

It doesn’t help that these categories change over time or between locations. For instance, UberPool was dropped in the pandemic and has reappeared in some cities as UberX Share but not in London – yet. 

Uber Black doesn’t even exist as an option in the UK and so riders must choose Uber Exec or Uber Lux.

Knowing what these options mean will help you understand how much do Uber drivers make in London. Let’s dig into how they work for driver earnings and what a typical Uber price looks like for the same ride. 

CategoryHow it worksUber fare
UberX Standard fare for up to four riders£22.14
UberXLLarger cars for up to six riders£33.52
Uber Green Fully electric cars with a 10% driver bonus£21.89
Uber PetRider can bring one cat or dog£26.94
Uber ComfortExtra legroom and more experienced drivers£27.05
Uber Business ComfortSame as Comfort but for business accounts£28.94
Uber ExecMid-tier luxury cars and a driver rating of 4.9+ £39.93
Uber LuxPremium cars for riders who pay top-end price £60.81
Uber Assist Help for infirm riders from trained drivers  £22.14
Uber AccessCars that are fully wheelchair accessible£22.14
Uber for UkraineRiders donate £1 onto a standard UberX fare£23.14
Fares show the typical prices of a trip from Hammersmith to Kings Cross without surge fees. This is only an indication of the real fares due to Uber’s new upfront pricing model.

UberX (£21.94)

The standard Uber tier is still the most popular one. Fares for UberX are lower than other tiers but high demand means that you will get lots of extra rides to make up the numbers. To do these jobs in London, you need a suitable PCO car which is legally able to carry four passengers plus a TfL licence and the correct rideshare insurance. Broadly speaking, the car must be less than eight years old but you can see the list of Uber’s approved cars for London here. You can search this for every category of Uber fare. 

Uber Green

Uber Green (£21.89)

This is Uber’s big push to make London more sustainable and is open to all PCO drivers with an EV in Greater London. Note that plug-in hybrids are ineligible. Drivers earn 10% extra per trip, even though the rider pays more or less the same. New for 2023 is that Uber Green passengers also get a 10% discount at London Heathrow as part of Uber’s new perks for EV drivers called Green Curb. It’s likely Uber will add incentives for riders and many of them already prefer EVs. In short, Uber Green is the new UberX.  

UberXL (£33.52)

This for groups of up to six passengers or those with lots of luggage. For this reason, Uber XL is popular among families with pushchairs or on airport runs. Drivers need a seven-seat PCO car that is either a large SUV or a people-carrier like the VW Sharan. Uber seems far more relaxed about the exact age of vehicles working in the XL category. A few EVs qualify for both Uber Green and Uber XL, such as the Citroen E-Berlingo XL, yet its range is only around 170 miles (WLTP). Fares are much higher on Uber XL but – as with most categories – you must take on Uber X jobs when these premium ones dry up. 

Uber Pet (£26.94)

This Uber fare is for riders who cannot bear to travel without their furry friend – so long as it’s either a dog or a cat. Drivers get a small extra payment – and Uber will even charge the rider a cleaning fee if the dog makes a mess. But there are some issues to chew on. Fur left on car seats is not covered and if your next passenger has asthma, they might leave a poor review. Remember, too, that PCO drivers must always transport riders with a service animal, such as a guide dog, on Uber X without extra money.

Uber Comfort (£27.05) + Business Comfort (£28.94)

Some people are happy to pay a higher fare (around 20%) for trips that are more comfortable than Uber X yet cheaper than Uber Exec. To qualify, the driver must first complete 500 Uber trips with a rating of at least 4.85 and have an eligible PCO car. In simple terms, this is a mid-sized model with decent legroom less than seven years old and you can learn more in our guide to how Uber Comfort works. Riders with a business account will find that Uber Business Comfort is much the same but adds priority support. 

Uber Exec (£39.93)

Most PCO drivers are attracted to Uber Exec like moths to flame but the rules are strict. First, you must have what Uber calls a ‘mid-tier luxury’ vehicle – such as the Audi A6 or Volvo S60 – which is less than six years old. You also need a minimum rating of 4.9 and complete 1,000 Uber trips. How are you doing so far? Any driver who meets these criteria will automatically get Exec jobs when they are available. Be warned that while you make more money per trip, the cost of the car is high and rider demand is lower.

UberLUX (£60.81)

This is the most luxurious tier – and the highest paid Uber ride. The basic rules are the same as Exec but the list of cars includes only seven brands, such as Range Rover or Jaguar. If you already have a suitable vehicle, this is a great way to make extra money. For most PCO drivers, it’s an unrealistic cost. Uber is keen to remind all drivers that its target is to be 100% electric in London by 2025 – and the only EVs currently eligible for Uber Lux are the Mercedes EQS or the BMW i7. Don’t say nobody told you. 

Uber Assist (£21.94)

This Uber service is a special programme for disabled people, older riders, or those who need extra help. Fares are the same as UberX, despite offering clear benefits for the drivers and riders. Uber Assist is for customers who require a little support because, say, the person has poor eyesight and is otherwise happy in an Uber X car. The driver is paid an extra 15% for every Uber Assist trip. To qualify, the rules are similar to Uber Comfort except drivers must first complete the free online disability equality training

Uber Access (£21.94)

Uber Access is for riders who need a forward-facing wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV). Drivers get the same 15% bonus as Uber Assist, plus other financial perks. These include a weekly incentive from £150, a per-trip incentive of £5 for each Access trip and extra rewards for any trip longer than 12 mins. Uber Access has the same rules as Uber Assist, other than that drivers need a suitable vehicle. This might also be eligible for Uber XL fares – and all WAVs are exempt from Congestion Charge in London. 

Uber for Ukraine (£22.94)

This allows riders to show support for Ukraine in the face of aggression by Russia. When chosen, a regular UberX is dispatched and £1 is added to the rider’s fare – with a matching donation from Uber in the form of a grant. These funds are being used to buy ambulances and other medical logistics via the UNITED24, fundraising platform. Since the war began, Uber has raised £2.3m to send 50 ambulances to Ukraine and it has built a software platform for United Nations relief agencies to deliver emergency aid.

Taking the next step

Now that you see the full picture, it’s clear why Otto Car only provides vehicles that enable our family of drivers to earn a living. This is how we’ve helped over 10,000 Uber Partners get on the road since 2015.

Experienced drivers with an unused pot of funds from the Uber Clean Air Plan can still put these towards an electric vehicle on rental or ownership plans. It’s increasingly obvious that Uber Green is the future.

Not sure which PCO car to choose? Try our car selection tool to find out the car that best suits your needs.

To learn how to begin work as an Uber driver or simply talk about your options, read our Uber Driver guide, view our PCO Car Hire deals, or feel free to pop into any of our London hubs

Want to learn more?

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