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Friday, November 21, 2014

UberX clients request rides before they need them

Have you heard of UberX clients requesting rides before they are ready to take a trip? It happens quite often and drivers find it annoying when their clients ask if they can wait, come back later and/or we didn't think you would be here so fast and we are not ready. UberX clients think ridesharing apps are online booking engines to schedule rides whenever they want.

Ridesharing services are anything but a ride scheduling platform. Some clients don't understand that drivers can't wait around for 30-60+ minutes in front of bowling alleys, at movie theaters, in front of concerts where thousands of people are trying to exit, in a huge crowd after a professional sporting event lets out and in other locations. Despite using this UberX ride platform many times, people just don't get it.

UberX drivers are not hired on private chauffeurs that wait for hours serving one client. These drivers depend on ride requests to earn money with their personal vehicles. They pay upfront for all overhead costs and try their very best to make a slight profit, if that is possible with fare cuts and vehicle wear and tear cutting out their bottom line.

It is puzzling to see how clients treat their drivers. Think about it. Will a driver be able to make a living waiting for a client for two hours? If this ride took them 70-110 miles, then it is worth the wait. But for the most part, drivers can't sit and wait for a few hours to make $7 on that ride. It doesn't make any sense when clients assume drivers are that flexible to sit and wait in the parking lot, or come back in a few hours and we will be here.

Now we see why taxis are rude and inconsiderate. Passengers complain, but then display the same behavior they dislike (contradictive). Ridesharing drivers don't start rides until their client enters the vehicle and/or when they are given permission to do so. Taxis can start the meter early. Taxis don't take poor treatment lightly.

Do clients take advantage of their drivers because of taxi drivers? Maybe so. There has to be a reason why clients behave in this manner. A client who knows they must arrive at a location at midnight should not request a ride at 12:10 am and rush their driver. The same goes for trips being taken when clients are running late to interviews, work, movies, meetings, airport, and other circumstances involving punctuality.

Clients are not as forgiving when drivers are taking detours to reach them. Drivers traveling down 1-way roads, in a busy downtown area, on the freeway in the opposite direction, taking alternative routes around construction, accidents, and road closures, face criticism and low ratings for this extra time. Perhaps clients focus too much on ETAs displayed on the app header and not enough on obstacles a driver must take to reach them safely.

The waiting game is a challenge. Ridesharing drivers have no idea how long they will wait. The client may respond back to their driver's text message and share they will be out in a few minutes. This driver calls the client 5 minutes after the text message. The client continues to delay this driver. After 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes...later, the driver already lost out on a few potential rides.

In ridesharing, time is money. If pickup times take too long, money is lost. Nonetheless, too much downtime translates into lost earnings. Value time. Time management is a deep concern during pickups. Clients don't have to be ready right at the moment a driver arrives at this pickup address. However, they should know better than to request a ride and expect this driver to wait a long while without giving them permission to start a ride. In this case, at least the driver can be compensated for their time at $.26 a minute. Waiting for a client to run errands at $.26 a minute is a loss. Sitting in traffic is not profitable. Moving in miles is the most efficient way to earn money in ridesharing.

 When clients request drivers to wait a few hours, they must be somewhat honest and show respect. Maybe these clients don't really know how the ridesharing system works. The respectful response to these clients is to inform them if you could wait, you would. However, there is a lot of demand out there tonight and my services are requested in the city. This simple response won't insult clients. If drivers feel compelled to be rude and make snarky comments, clients will get offended by this display and use the star rating system to make this known.

Clients request rides to many places. Once a driver arrives, these clients are no-shows. Moreover, clients drop the pin many miles away to send drivers on scavenger hunts. A lot of time is wasted out on the roads searching and waiting for clients, which adversely impacts driver earnings.

How can Uber help their drivers to resolve these problems? It doesn't seem Uber wants to confront these issues. Clients cancel rides at the pickup addresses, where in some instances the driver drove 30+ miles to retrieve this client and there is sufficient communication throughout this trip. To make this even worse, the client knows they can cancel with getting charged a cancellation fee. Why not use this free cancellation on a driver who must travel 35 minutes to retrieve me? It's awful at its worst.

On another occasion, a client assumed the driver would arrive at the restaurant in 20 minutes. However, the driver reached in 12 minutes. He waited for 5 minutes, sent a text message to inform his client of his arrival, and discovered this client was not ready and didn't need this ride yet. The driver was instructed to cancel this ride and got nothing, as this cancellation was the client's first.

Why do clients request rides they don't need right away? They don't understand the ridesharing platform enough. Moreover, these clients would rather make their drivers wait than to wait. If drivers make their clients wait, this client gets agitated. Even when the client dropped the pin at the wrong location or made a mistake on the pickup address, they take this out on the driver.

UberX clients who use this ridesharing service often should know that drivers must complete trips to earn money. They are driving their personal vehicles, which all overhead expenses fall into their laps. The longer drivers wait, the less money they make. If clients rate their drivers low and leave poor feedback, they can get this particular driver deactivated (fired and/or terminated) from the ride platform. Requesting drivers to run red lights, hurry up, weave in a out of traffic, and take stoplights faster is putting them at risk of getting into an accident. Standing in front of a bus stop can result in a driver receiving a bus zone citation ($271). Client actions have a huge effect on drivers.

Request rides you need. Don't expect drivers to wait an hour for you to get ready. If you don't need this ride, cancel it within the first 5 minutes (no fee before 5 minutes) so this driver can continue on with their driving. Drivers and clients must work as a team to make ridesharing an efficient process.

Happy Ridesharing!