Thursday, February 19, 2015

UberPool no-shows

UberPool is a new carpool service available in San Francisco. It is a service like Shared Rides (Sidecar) and LyftLine (Lyft). Thousands of Uber clients have taken UberPool to get around San Francisco and to travel within the Bay Area. There is a current UberPool promotion offering $5 flat rate rides taken inside San Francisco city limits and $15 flat rate rides when leaving SF and/or going to SFO.

Keep in mind that Uber clients must show up on time to accept UberPool rides. Once an UberX driver arrives at the pickup address, they are instructed to press on the "Arrived" button. Uber clients have approximately 2 minutes to enter this UberPool ride. After 2 minutes, a popup will appear to request the driver to call their client or to notify the system they're a no-show.

No-show clients are charged a $5 cancellation fee. With the current flat rate promotion, don't get stuck paying a $5 cancellation fee when you could have taken a ride anywhere within San Francisco for this cheap price. Be ready to take this UberPool ride, but if you require additional time just contact your driver via text message or call them. This time requirement is enforced to keep UberPool rides in motion because another client is likely waiting for a pickup and is on a time schedule.

UberPool no-shows are not as common as UberX no-shows. However, recent cancellation policies changed to no longer give clients a free pass on their first-time cancellation. An automatic $5 fee applies to all cancellations after 5 minutes, no-shows after 5 minutes, client requesting cancellations after 5 minutes and all other reasons exceeding the 5 minute time limit. No exceptions are made on this cancellation policy.

Many riders abused this cancellation policy and this influenced driver earnings. Clients who promised to wait for drivers traveling 5-30 miles to retrieve them were no-shows. Their lack of respect can cost drivers valuable time, gas, and money. It is a 2-way road.

Uber clients complain that drivers cancel on them and this is bad behavior. On the flip side, clients requesting rides and cancelling them before 5 minutes take cars away from other clients. Furthermore, drivers are taken off course from ride requests that result in a cancellation.

A disrespectful Uber client hooked a driver from SFO. This driver showed dedication traveling to their home out in the outer Richmond. This client used their first-time free cancellation the moment their driver sent a text message to inform them they arrived at the pickup address. No compensation was given on this ride, which is a shame.

In another episode, a client requested a driver to travel 30+ miles to retrieve her. After the driver made this trip and pulled into a restaurant parking lot, the client called and requested ride this to be cancelled. The driver informed this client he traveled nearly 40 minutes to pick her up. She didn't care one bit whether this driver lost time, gas, and money. The old cancellation policy favored this client, giving her a free cancellation. Even worse, this driver was drawn to a slow city with no business and could have taken surged trips in his original area.

A client hooked a driver on a 20-mile ride request. The UberX driver called to inform the client to make sure he would be present for this pickup. This client confirmed that he would be waiting outside a restaurant. Upon arrival, the driver sent a text message to notify his client that he would be waiting outside of the restaurant. No response. The driver called 5 minutes later. No answer. He text messaged the client one more time, and then called again. The client was a no-show. Almost an hour was lost on a busy night, which this unfortunate event now positioned the driver to accept another ride request that took them across the mountains (20+ miles on dirt roads) and further away. 2 hours later, this driver only earned $10. At $4.75 a gallon and 20 percent commission, this driver lost money.

In all these cases, the driver followed proper procedures to make sure his clients would have a ride. The last scenario took the driver out to a slow region where there was no demand after 1:30 am on a busy weekend night. This driver took a risk to drive to this area, showing high ethical standards to represent Uber in a positive light. These clients took advantage of the system to benefit their needs.

There are many other cancellation stories to share. Now, you know why drivers may cancel clients from 20-30 minutes away. They won't accept rides from 50-60 minutes away. Clients who are inpatient and fail to understand that it takes time to retrieve them, usually take taxis home. They are known to enter the wrong UberX ride. As a result of this, one client is losing out on a ride and another rider is charging their Uber account. It can become a messy situation if a driver and client skip steps and don't verify names.

All in all, the actions of these clients complicate the ridesharing system. Drivers are doing their best to give as many rides as possible. To avoid losing a ride, identify the Uber driver by name and make certain they know your name. Be ready to take UberPool trips upon their arrival. Don't lose out on an UberPool and get charged a $5 cancellation when the cost to travel is a $5 flat rate. Please show respect for all drivers because they respect your business.