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Monday, October 20, 2014

Irresponsible riders requesting rides and taking taxis

Clients lack respect for their drivers. When clients request rides, they know the whereabouts of their drivers. Unless this trip is canceled, ridesharing drivers are locked-in. They must show initiative, making every attempt possible to retrieve clients at pickup addresses. We noticed a common problem among clients involving taxis.

Clients are too impatient to wait for rides. They get spoiled with ridesharing app ETAs. Needless to say, the times shown on the screen are inaccurate. Comparing in-app navigation to Google Maps reveal a 3 minute difference in time. In-app tacks on 3 minutes on the ETA. If a client sees 9 minutes on an app and the driver is actually 6 minutes away, they may get impatient and get a taxi.

Quite a few clients fail to understand that their drivers are traveling further out to pick them up. Because demand is high and drivers are taken, a ride request is kicked out to the nearest driver. The nearest driver may be 25-50 minutes away.

Once the driver accepts this ride request and calls the client to ensure they will wait, the client begins to search for taxis. As cancellation policies favor the client, they don't have to wait and show any respect for this driver they requested to travel into the mountains and/or to a far away city or town.

It is disturbing that ridesharing clients do this to their drivers. Why request this ride and then jump into a taxi? This behavior happens at Uber, SideCar and Lyft. A client requests a ride, and then leaves with a taxi.

The worst UberX offender is a client ordering a ride from 30 miles out and agreeing to wait. Once this driver reached the pickup address, the client calls this drive and tells them I don't need this ride anymore and want to cancel. She tells this driver to cancel this ride. Since this is the client's first cancellation, she is not charged the $5 fee. This driver loses out a few gallons of gas making this trip.

The worst SideCar offender is a driver receiving a ride request to pick up a rider. They traveled from Twin Peaks to the Financial District to retrieve this rider. This client never showed up. The SideCar driver called this rider, who was confused about this ride request. She was so drunk, she took a taxi home and didn't remember how she got there. Meanwhile, this driver is waiting for this rider at a bar near 4 miles from Twin Peaks. It took this driver 25 minutes to reach this location and another 5-10 minutes of waiting.

A Lyft passengers requested a ride from the Marina. The driver and passenger talked on the phone the entire time. This driver traveled from Twin Peaks to the Marina to retrieve them. This passenger kept calling and asking the driver when they would reach. It's obvious this driver is further out and must drive to another side of San Francisco. However, the driver reaches this Marina bar and the passenger is already in a taxi. They refused to cancel this ride so they wouldn't have to pay a fee. Talking about disrespecting this driver's time.

After speaking with this confused SideCar rider, the driver realized the cancellation model is poorly flawed. Riders take advantage of their drivers; they don't cancel trips after taking taxis. There needs to be better accountability to defer greater cost to clients/riders/passengers who request drivers to travel 10+ miles and decide to take taxis.

We hear clients/riders/passengers bash taxi drivers all the time. They criticize the taxi industry, hoping their business will go down into the dumps. When the time comes, clients/riders/passengers leave their ridesharing drivers hanging on corners and city streets after requesting them. Unfortunately, they take taxis and are irresponsible to cancel ridesharing rides.

Perhaps, a good system to introduce is increasing the cancellation fee. If clients cancel after 5 minutes, the cost of future cancellations increase in increments. It can start at $5 and increase to a percentage of the distance that drivers must travel to reach a particular pickup address. Passengers complain about drivers, but their disrespectful actions affect their driver's time and earnings. They take valuable drivers away from passengers who really need these rides.