The last couple of years Uber gained a lot of popularity. After some conflicts with the local taxi drivers, they gained their place in the taxi world in Rio. But is Uber safe in Rio de Janeiro? Can you trust the drivers of this, relatively new, taxi service? And a more general question: is the use of taxi’s a good idea when visiting Rio de Janeiro?
Is Uber safe in Rio de Janeiro?
Let’s not waste any time and answer the question about how safe Uber is in Rio de Janeiro. Yes, it is perfectly safe to use Uber in Rio (read here what Uber says about using the service in Rio). The app works fine and the drivers, especially in the touristic South Zone and city center, are trustworthy. The reported incidents with Uber in the city are few. Unfortunately, just as with normal taxis, sometimes you can encounter a bad driver. The good thing with Uber is, that you are always able to check everything. The name of the driver, the route he drives and the amount of money you need to pay. We would say this makes Uber safer than the normal taxis.
Especially when you take an Uber at night and you are alone, it can be good to take some precautions. First, always make sure the driver is the correct person. Then, make a print screen of the suggested route and price. And, last but not least, always leave the car only after the driver finalized the ride. Like this, you make sure he won’t continue the ride and leaves you with a huge bill for a ride you never made. Normally, Uber is really fast to recognize these issues and will return your money fast, but it is better is to just avoid this issue.
First of all, you will need internet to use Uber. If you plan to use this service, it is best to make sure to enable your roaming. Like this you can control the ride and it is even a good idea to use the Waze app, to see if the driver is taking the shortest route. If you depend on Wifi, best is order the Uber in front of a place with wifi, so you are able to check everything before you leave. These are all precautions you can take, to avoid issues, but in 99 percent of the times the Uber ride will be comfortable and easy with no issues at all. Most of the drivers try their best to make your ride comfortable. From adjusting your seat and the air conditioning to a friendly chat and offering candy’s.
Uber at airports and bus station
The use of Uber from the airports and bus station in Rio de Janeiro is the easiest and fastest way to get to your hotel or apartment. From the international airport Galeão (or Tom Jobim International Airport) the Uber departs from the departure level, which is the second floor of the airport. The arrival level is at level 0. For all last information check out the specific Uber page of the international airport in Rio.
When using the local airport Santos Dumont, you will need to go to the Bossa Nova Mall, next to the airport. You need to walk from the arrival part through the check in area, to get to the Uber pick up point. There is a special Uber lounge (see photo) and it is pretty clear how to get there. For all last information check out the specific Uber page of the local airport in Rio.
To get your Uber from the bus station, there is no official pick up point. The best place is to go to the departure entrance and wait around the information point at the door for your Uber to arrive. There is free internet at the bus station. Be aware that at the airports and the bus station, you will find people telling you that they are from Uber, but that you don’t have to use the app to use their service. This is illegal and not advisable to use. Only use the Uber service through the official app, so you guarantee the quality and safety of the service. In general, Uber is really cheap in Rio and will save you around 50 percent of the price compared with the normal yellow taxi’s in Rio. Those taxi’s are still cheap, when compared to the taxi prices in Europe or the United States. But Uber is by far the cheapest option.
Next to Uber there is the app 99 pop, the Brazilian counterpart of Uber. That app can be worth a look since at times it can be cheaper and faster than Uber. The one disadvantage is that the app is not available in all App Stores. If it isn’t available in yours, you don’t have a choice just to settle for Uber.
If you want to know more about transportation in Rio de Janeiro, have a look at our transport in Rio page for all the updated info on this subject. Read our article about safety in Rio de Janeiro as well, since a big part of your stay in Rio de Janeiro being safe and without issues, is the use of transportation. If it is your first time in Rio de Janeiro, make sure to check our guide for First Time Visitors to get all the info you need for your stay in Rio.