Our App: Ride United

Photograph of Ride United volunteers and United Taxi Workers staff at the app launch in December 2022.

Ride Union, Ride United!

Ride Union is San Diego’s only union ride-hail app. Ride United drivers are union members of United Taxi Workers San Diego (UTWSD).

Drivers have a voice in how the app runs.

Money stays in the community because most of what riders pay goes directly to drivers.

Finally, go green with our 96% hybrid fleet.

Get and use the app!

  1. Download the app:
    Google Play for Android
    Apple App Store
  2. Create an account.
    Allow the app to access your location.
  3. Check to make sure your pick-up location is correct, and input your drop-off location.
  4. At the bottom of the app, select your pickup time and click Request Ride.
  5. Once a driver has been assigned to your ride, you will receive a confirmation text. You will also receive a message when the driver starts heading to pick you up for your ride. Finally, you will receive a text that the driver has arrived at your pickup location and is ready for you.
  6. Need to cancel? Cancel as soon as possible so drivers don’t start driving to you.

Tips for the best experience

  • During the first few weeks/months using the app, it may be necessary to schedule your rides in advance. This is to increase volume and allow more drivers to join and learn about the app service. Once enough people are riding regularly and enough drivers have joined, on-demand rides will become more available.
  • If you face any difficulties using the app, there is a section for you to submit a ticket in the app itself. Feel free to use this to report bugs or user problems. Your voice matters
  • If you face any difficulties with your ride not showing up, with a ride not booking correctly, or any other difficulties with the ride process specifically, feel free to call UTWSD dispatch at 619-280-4444. Our dispatch can help you get your ride booked and completed!

Common questions

How is the price of my ride calculated?

Our prices are transparent and legally regulated, but it helps to understand how taxi fares work. Your fare will be the base fare—the cost of beginning a ride—plus $3 per mile of your trip. When your driver comes to pick you up, you have a five-minute grace period. After that, there’s a per-minute wait-time charge. Wait time charges also mean you can ask your driver to make stops along the way, and they get paid for their time. 

Ride United drivers collectively decided to charge $3 per mile with $3 base fare for trips booked through the Ride United app. This is lower than the maximum rate that metropolitan regulators allow. Drivers consider the cost of living alongside their desire to provide an affordable and competitive service. At the airport, they charge $4 per mile with a $4 base fare. 

In the app, you’ll find a “Fare Card” accessible in the left-side menu. It will tell you the current rates for app dispatched and airport rides.

Uber and Lyft gave me an upfront price. Why doesn’t Ride United do that?

Ride United taxi fares are publicly regulated and charged for the actual distance driven. If your trip ends up being directly from the starting point to the destination with no waiting or stops, our estimate should be very close. But we can only offer you an estimate until the ride actually happens. 

Are Uber and Lyft cheaper than Ride United rides?

It depends. Ride United will often be cheaper than Uber and Lyft’s surge prices. We always charge $3 a mile plus the $3 base fare when the meter starts. 

That said, Ride United may cost more at times. That’s because drivers collectively decide the app fare rates. San Diego MTS, the regional taxi regulator, sets the maximum allowable rate and is governed by your elected officials. Drivers strive to earn a living wage, but they can only do that if riders can pay.  

Uber and Lyft don’t care whether their drivers make a living wage, but we do. The companies don’t care whether drivers cover their gas costs. Their algorithms set the fare based on what they think riders will tolerate. Their algorithms set drivers’ pay based on what they think drivers will tolerate—that’s called algorithmic wage discrimination. When you’re getting cheap Uber and Lyft rides, it is because drivers are getting squeezed. Even when you’re paying a lot, drivers report they’re getting squeezed

Should I tip?

Drivers do hope you tip them. How much is up to you, what you can afford, and what you think is fair. Give tipping extra consideration if your ride is just a few miles. Taxi fare calculations do not cover the costs – time, gas, wear and tear – of your driver coming to pick you up. For short rides, drivers may spend as much time getting to you as they’ll spend driving you. When taking a short ride, a generous tip shows appreciation for the driver who took your call despite these costs. 

Who is behind this app?

Behind this app are San Diego drivers, United Taxi Workers’ staff and organizers, software engineers who take their cues from workers, and community supporters who share a vision of platforms that center workers and the community. 

United Taxi Workers San Diego (UTWSD) is a multi-ethnic, membership-based organization formed to organize for taxi drivers’ rights. They innovate the industry, with workers in the lead. UTWSD is the driving force behind Ride United, the ride-hailing app that keeps money in our communities and is accountable to drivers and passengers. Their technology design and deployment partner is UC San Diego’s Just Transitions initiative. The software partner is YAMSOL LLC. This app would not have been possible without the support of UC San Diego’s Just Transitions Initiative, DSA San Diego, and many in the community who have supported it along the way. 

Who owns the app data?

UTWSD and YAMSOL, our software partners, are committed to only using your data to provide and improve this taxi service.

Where can I get in touch with questions or suggestions?

Get in touch with rideunitedsd@utwsd.com or call Ride United Dispatch at 619-280-4444

We are so excited to bring this service to San Diego, and we want to thank you for choosing Ride United!

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