Monday, November 02, 2015

UberPool: Requesting and Cancelling Rides

UberPool is the most popular carpooling ride app in San Francisco. In any given trip, Uber drivers can pick-up up to three riders. UberPool is integrated to keep track of the number of seats used in an Uber ride. Clients are asked how many seats will be reserved in their trip to maintain maximum capacity.

One area of concern is a client requesting and cancelling a ride while another rider is attempting to reach their destination. Does requesting and cancelling rides create false demand?

It is possible that clients request and cancel rides within 5 minutes to avoid surge pricing. In this 5 minute time, the client can try and secure a non-surged ride rather than pay a much higher multiple.

What if requesting and cancelling rides cause demand to spike in that particular area? It may cause surge pricing to activate, thus increasing fare prices.

False demand is possible. Clients requesting UberPool trips are taking drivers off-course, away from intended routes. This can occur several times in a trip, revealing a problem area such as how many times a client can keep following this unethical action. Surge pricing may activate in these areas to reflect high demand, even though riders are waiting until later to accept rides.

If an unbiased party monitors the Uber app to watch vehicle movement, they will see the driver going in different directions. Regardless, clients can request and cancel rides for a number of reasons. No cancellation fee applies if rides are cancelled within 5 minutes.

However, UberPool drivers must keep following prompts to retrieve a new rider. If this process is repeated several times, an existing rider is stuck taking a longer trip. This means a client will pay a higher trip charge to accommodate non-serious riders. Surge pricing is most likely different for each riders requesting trips from various locations.

An Uber driver shared that his first client noticed the number of times new ride requests arrived and how these riders cancelled these trips within 5 minutes. False demand, delaying trips, and re-routing issues are problem areas that require immediate revisions.

Clients make it a habit to request and cancel trips within 5 minutes. One time, a client requested and cancelled a trip 4 times. He continued to repeat this process, taking his driver on a wild goose chase. Eventually, the Uber driver went offline to move away from this problem rider.

It is unfair for clients to request and cancel multiple rides. This behavior impacts the majority of riders who actually need immediate rides to go home. False demand is possible, which implies that high demand will activate surge pricing.

These clients may use this requesting and cancelling rides method to monitor surge pricing, bringing drivers closer to their locations as a strategy to reduce waiting time and fare costs. In a way, these client are gaming the system to benefit their individual needs.