What To Know About Uber's 5 Minute Rule Before Booking Your Ride

Uber is the best thing since sliced bread. Okay, fine, probably not, but it's pretty close. Despite the ride-sharing app only blowing up in popularity in the early 2010s, it's hard to imagine a time when we didn't rely on it. From taking you to the airport when none of your friends and family are available, to getting you home safely after an alcohol-fueled night with your pals, and taking you to far-flung places in an unfamiliar city with a complex (or perhaps non-existent) public transport system, the handy service has always got your back.

But just like riding a plane, a bus, or a train, there is a code of etiquette that passengers are expected to follow for an overall pleasant ride for both them and the drivers. For instance, riders are expected to sit in the back seat to maintain some healthy distance between them and the driver, except when traveling in a group. It also goes without saying that you must wear your seatbelt at all times for safety purposes. The rules are a bit murkier when it comes to eating, but you mustn't, under any circumstances, drink alcohol during the ride.

As part of respecting the time and effort of the driver to transport you around in good time, you also shouldn't make them wait for more than five minutes — unless you want to get slapped with a no-show fee, of course. After all, Ubers are already pricey enough; do you really want to pay more?

Drivers may cancel the trip after five minutes

We all know how annoying it is when an Uber driver takes forever to pick you up. Well, it goes both ways. Drivers are also inconvenienced when they have to wait too long for passengers to board their vehicle, so to prevent that from happening, Uber has imposed a five-minute rule to encourage everyone to haul themselves into the car faster. In certain places, passengers are even charged an extra fee when they're not in the car after two minutes. If you make the driver wait for five minutes or more, they can cancel the trip altogether, and Uber will fine you with an additional charge. 

Not only will you be forced to book another trip and wait for a new driver to pick you up, but you will also have to fork over more money for making the previous driver wait. Uber hasn't supplied the exact cancellation fees payable since it hinges on your location and the vehicle type, but you'll always be shown the amount in-app upon cancellation. The charge compensates the driver for the time they spent waiting.

This rule has been enforced by Uber since 2016, with a company representative telling TechCrunch: "Drivers' time is valuable, and while we expect riders to request a ride only once they're ready, we know that waiting for a rider at their pickup location can be frustrating." So, the next time you order an Uber, don't make the driver wait, or else you'll pay the price — literally.