How to book early morning rides with Uber or Lyft? Are they reliable?

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Let’s face it: Everyone hates early morning flights where you are yawning and rushing to the airport at 4 in the morning with half drowsy eyes and a completely justifiable grumpy mood. The primary reason (amongst million other reasons) is the struggle of getting a ride to the airport at such an inactive hour of the day. 

With so many ride-hailing apps, especially Uber and Lyft, you can now book early morning rides with something that can be best coined as pre-scheduled rides.

Before we move on to the how, let us start with what pre-scheduling of rides really is and how it works.

What is pre-scheduling of rides in Uber or Lyft?

Pre-scheduling of rides in Uber or Lyft, in simple terms is advance booking of rides. For example, if you wish to book a ride for 2 days from now, you can pres-schedule a ride for the same in both Uber or Lyft, specifying what time you need to leave. The time you specify is usually given as a range of slots, for example, 1:00 pm. – 2:00 p.m., 3:00 a.m. – 4:00 a.m., etc.

The time window for advance booking differs in both Uber and Lyft, however the working is the same. For Uber, the good part is that you can book up to 30 days in advance. On the other hand, Lyft lets you book for up to a week in advance.

How does pre-scheduling of rides in Uber or Lyft work? In general, depending on the app that you are using to pre-schedule your ride, Uber or Lyft will look for a nearby driver when the time window you selected in advance comes up. You will be notified of your ride-booking using push-up notifications by the ride-hailing application you are using (Uber or Lyft). 

The procedure of booking the ride is the same as it is for a regular ride – you request a ride, the driver picks your request, you get notifications that the request has been picked up, the driver arrives, and you leave (ta-da!). 

The only difference between pre-scheduling and regular scheduling of a ride in both ride-hailing apps is that when you pre-schedule, the application automatically starts finding you a ride when the selected time slot arrives.

When going with pre-scheduling rides in Uber or Lyft, you will be quoted a price for the ride which is subject to change depending on when you search for the ride and what time you pre-schedule the ride for, apart from where you need to schedule the ride for. 

Note: Pre-scheduling a ride does not mean that you have a sure-shot at getting a ride in your selected pre-booked time slot. Although Uber and Lyft will start the search for a ride for you to your given destination during the chosen time-window, there is a slight chance that none of the drivers will pick up your request. If Uber or Lyft can not find you a ride for your selected time-slot, you will be notified of the same at the end of the selected time window.

How to book an early morning ride with Uber?

  • Open the Uber App on your phone.
  • Open the Uber app on your phone.
  • Now, tap on the kind of Uber ride you want from amongst ‘Ride’, ‘Rentals’, and ‘Intercity’. Alternatively, you can just tap on the bar that says ‘Where to?’
  • Now, you will be prompted to enter the pickup and drop location (regardless of whatever you choose, either the type of Uber ride or tap on ‘Where to?’).
  • Once you have entered the information requested, you can choose from scheduling either ‘Uber Go’ or ‘Uber X’. You may be given additional types of Uber rides to choose from depending on your country. 
  • Now tap on ‘Schedule a ride’ and then set your pickup date and time slot. You will see an estimated price for your ride. 
  • Once you have picked the date and time slot, you will need to confirm the details.
  • Your ride will be pre-scheduled and you can cancel any time before your ride is already on the way. 
  • Reminders will be received 24 hours and 30 minutes before your pickup.
  • Once your ride is on the way, any updates on the pricing that applies will be informed of.

How to book an early morning ride with Lyft?

  • You need to launch the Lyft app on your phone.
  • Select your destination by tapping ‘Where are you going?’
  • Right above the “select Lyft” button is a calendar-like icon called “Schedule” which you can tap once you’ve selected your destination. The Schedule icon is located at the bottom of the screen.
  • Pick up location must be accurate, then tap “Confirm pickup” and confirm your pick up location.
  • Toggling through the options will let you choose the date and time you want to schedule your ride. It is possible to schedule a ride up to a week in advance. You will be picked up by a driver within 10 minutes of your scheduled time. The date and time you choose will be used to schedule your ride.
  • Before you tap “Schedule” and pay, make sure you know your pick-up location, date and time, and type. “Schedule” will make it possible for a ride from you to your desired place and time. You can either cancel or update your ride at any time, so long as you are not matched with a driver.

Are pre-scheduled early morning airport rides reliable?

To be perfectly candid, the answer depends on the regular availability of the drivers near your neighbourhood. If you live in a busy neighbourhood that has cab serviceability at most points of the day (and night), pre-scheduling an early morning airport ride with Uber or Lyft should be fairly reliable.

On the other hand, if you live in a remote or not-so-lively neighbourhood, the chances decrease drastically. When you live in a remote or not-so-lively neighbourhood, the serviceability of ride-hailing apps is decreased during the inactive hours (mostly from night to early morning), since the demand for rides from such areas during the night to early morning is very low.

Thus, the drivers working for Uber and Lyft prefer to be in the more lively neighborhoods during these times where the chances of getting a ride request is higher.

Another way to look at this is to understand that Uber or Lyft do not really ‘employ’ drivers. Instead Uber and Lyft (along with most other ride-hailing services) give the drivers the flexibility to choose when and where they work in association with Uber and Lyft. Uber and Lyft do not employ drivers so as to not be seen as an employer under tax/employer regulations; thus, they can’t act as employers and order the drivers to accept your pre-scheduled ride request. 

This is why, if the drivers choose not to accept your pre-scheduled ride request or there are no cabs available for the time slot you booked in advance, you will be left empty handed with your plans spoiled.

Thus, depending on the location of your stay, the reliability of early morning rides with Uber or Lyft vary. If you have a flight, it is best to not be completely dependent on ride-sharing services to reach the airport from your place of stay.

Alternative: If you are staying in a decent hotel and need to get to the airport early in the morning, it is wise to ask the reception if they provide cabs for dropping the guests off to the airport. It is recommended to ring the reception and ask the same before booking with a hotel if you have an early morning flight and do not want to get into the hassle of finding a cab at the break of the dawn.

Read More

  1. What to Do When ‘No Cars Available’ in Uber?
  2. How to change the phone number in the Uber app when arriving in a country?
Author - Willa Carson
Happywayfarer author Willa Carson
Hi, I'm Willa Carson, a passionate traveler who has been exploring the world for 7 years. Whether it's trekking through the Himalayas, exploring ancient ruins in South America, or simply savoring a cup of coffee at a local cafe, I believe that travel has the power to enrich our lives in countless ways. So join me on my journey and let's discover the world together!
Read more about me here.

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