Uber has several technical issues that cause issues for riders and drivers. These cost both sides of the equation money yet Uber hasn’t or won’t fix the app.
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I gave a couple of examples of how scheduling trips fail riders and learned from drivers that it also fails drivers. For riders, plans are made hours, even days in advance and expect a precise arrival from their driver and a start time to the trip. Drivers have no idea the ride was scheduled and the technology simply calls them about 20-40 minutes in advance as a normal ride.
If Uber’s technology on the driver side matched the expectations set on the rider side, there may be less heartburn for both. As a rider scheduling a ride in advance with a ten-minute window, I don’t expect the driver to arrive ahead of the window, I don’t want to force them to wait. The driver loses revenue by arriving early and not getting paid very much for their wait time. This is all because Uber’s technology can’t schedule rides in advance, though that’s what it looks like to riders.
Waiting for my Uber can sometimes make for very humorous tracking. Cars go the wrong way down one-way streets, spin around in place, jump city blocks or suddenly track at insanely high speeds. This is obviously just another incident of bad technology.
The frustration for riders comes in when wait times aren’t properly communicated. I had several rides in Rome which were always listed as just four minutes away. But that four-minute wait often meant 10-15 minutes. I’m not talking about when drivers get stuck at red lights unexpectedly, that will happen. All rides started out with a four-minute wait when booking but once the four minutes passed, then it would fluctuate between 8-15 minutes before arrival.
This is particularly difficult when travelling with children, standing out in the cold, or watching available taxis drive by while riders wait for a time that Uber drivers never had any ability to meet. It’s not the driver’s fault, it’s Uber’s bad technology.
I frequently take an Uber from my home to the airport. There is a county road that runs parallel to a toll road expressway but ultimately ends at the toll road two of the seven miles in. Regardless of whether you take the toll road at a shorter distance and higher speed the whole way or join the toll road midway, the toll is the same rate.
However, it takes more time and costs more money to run down the county road that Uber technology directs drivers to take. Deviating from the route opens the driver up to disputed fares because they didn’t follow the path, but following the bad route cost me time and money as a rider. Both of us lose.
I raised it to Uber and received a boilerplate response that failed to address my concern. A customer service agent reached out following my last Uber post and said that it should have been addressed, but nothing further happened and the issue remains.
The worst piece of technology baked into the Uber system has to be driver cancellation. I have waited outside the airport for a ride for ten minutes only to have the ride cancelled at the last minute by a driver. Maybe the driver found a better fare, maybe they didn’t like my destination. Regardless, drivers can cancel these rides at no cost.
Riders, however, don’t have the same prerogative. For example, if Uber initially says a driver will be to me in… four minutes, and then the driver hasn’t showed up in ten minutes (real example for me in New York earlier this year), I pay the cancellation fee to take another ride. If Uber says the driver will arrive within eight minutes and doesn’t, I pay a fee to cancel, but the driver can cancel on me up to arriving at my location and starting the ride.
Uber has a number of technological challenges to overcome but I sense that many of these hurdles could be overcome simply by better communicating or offering riders the same flexibility as drivers. Their minimal customer support (no phone number and outsourced email responses) doesn’t help them to efficiently manage rider nor driver issues. Don’t believe me? Just ask your Uber driver the next time you get in if they are happy with Uber.
What do you think? Does Uber technology have a lot to improve upon? Is it more a case of managing rider/driver expectations?
Can you imagine uber updating in real time locations of millions of cars all through GPS. I can’t imagine it’s very easy.
Also giving customer service for every rider won’t keep the prices low much longer.
For some reason i get a feeling that you are a customer from hell.
It’s their business though. It’s probably not very easy to manage tens of thousands of video files spread across hundreds of millions of users in 190 countries but that’s the business Netflix chose. Would it be wrong on an entertainment blog to discuss massive buffering issues or invalid file errors? I don’t think so.
Adding customer service options that support their global business would probably increase prices, but I would pay a little more for a better experience. Further, I have only needed customer support three times in around five years of Uber use, so it’s not as though handling customer issues instantly involves support on every ride, but I am also not the only one that faces the issues I have cited (see comments on this and other linked posts.) It’s probably more expensive to lose customers like me than to serve them.
Lol your posts are nothing short of ignorance. If you actually asked an uber driver that had half a brain the answers are simple. I won’t sit here and answer for you because you would no longer have a job. As hypercritical as you are just be lucky that your job doesn’t require you providing a service as I am quite sure you would fail miserably. You never back up any statements with facts merely your experience which we are supposed to take at face value because of what? Your body of work and character? Are these slight inconveniences when you use the app and services of uber that much of a problem for you that you can’t simply use it for what its worth? I understand in this day and age everyone has a voice and a platform but sometimes people get credit for discrediting others where they shouldn’t.
Lol – Who are you, John Uber???
Routing issues were reported and unresolved, read the comments on this and the linked post for similar rider experiences. How should I approach that but from an anecdotal perspective?
Are they slight inconveniences, maybe, it depends on how much you ride and how dependent you are on the app. I rented cars 101 days this year and still find myself at nearly Platinum with their program and never use them in my home city. Add up the delays (minutes turn to hours) and pretty soon you get to much more serious problems. Did Netflix waste hours of your time and cost you money this year without providing any customer support? Probably not. Uber can’t say the same.
You’re right about one thing. Anybody and everybody has a voice in this day and age, feel free to choose another one to read. Unlike Uber, I won’t charge you money for wasting your time.
Hey “V”, as somebody who drives and rides I agree with the author. The app leaves A LOT to be desired. It’s probably too sending me to back alleys to pick people up, has tried to send me the wrong direction down one way streets, attempted to drive me off of a cliff and numerous other things that are unacceptable from a company that wants to put self driving cars on the road. Not letting drivers see where they are going is also a bad move. I’ve had a couple trips that have sent new to areas that aren’t too fond of people on the right side of the law inside of their turf. Uber is not the great and awesome entity you seem to make them out to be.
I’m a rideshars driver and would love to talk with you.
Feel free to reach out, our Facebook link is at the top of the post.
I totally agree. I have been given directions to go the wrong way many of times on one way streets. I have reported that passengers have went and made drug purchases on trips. I’ve even had customers schedule trips and not get picked up in time. And they are upset at the driver when we have no control over knowing they scheduled. I’ve asked to be unpaired with passengers that have went to drug deens or drug infested motels, but that never happens. Because they appear to be picked up again. Uber is a money grab busineas and the money grabbing only benifits UBER.
I can’t tell you how many scheduled trips are for 5 minute rides down the road. For the person going across town to an appt or the airport, it’s fine, but scheduling a trip isn’t so you can go 5 miles and arrive at work on time.
That said, there are professional drivers that are better suited to scheduled trips. Relying on base tier Uber X drivers that get paid $0.64/mile is reaching and presumptuous.
I’m a 6 year, 4.99 rated rideshare driver.
Take a taxi or STFU. You hitchhike with amatours … private persons in their private vehicles. Didn’t your mother tell you to never get in the car with strangers and never trust people you meet on the Internet?
That’s rich. You tell him to “take a taxi or STFU”, but then pull out the “don’t get in cars with strangers” bit…you know all the taxi drivers in your area personally? Get off the internet, you’re making us all dumberererer….oh shoot it’s already starting.
How did you THINK they’ve been racking up such ridiculous revenues…?
I drove for uber for 6 weeks. Terrible tech. Sends you tti the wrong address, through busy downtown routes, and sends you 20 miles to pick up someone going 1 mile
If only there were a mapping program you could use to change that? Oh wait, there is? Its called GOOGLE MAPS. In fact it is baked into UBER> YOU choose which navigation system you want to use. I use Google maps
For the record, ANY mapping program will have issues. Google maps has directed me to a place that would require me to stop in the middle of a freeway exit ramp to pick up a customer (due to the configuration of the building it is the nearest “road” to the business.
Woah… how much is Uber paying you? The problems delineated in this article are real and Uber could easily address or manage customer expectations. You must be one of those ppl that keeps bad Uber drivers on the road by rolling over and giving 5 stars to every Tom, Dick, and Harry regardless of ability or performance. Unbelievable.
The airport issue has no easy answers. While some airports have gone to a central lot/garage for drop offs and pick ups (allowing easy rematches of drivers dropping off), at many airports they don’t. So a driver may have waited an hour or more, and if they see you are going a short distance they will cancel or try and wait it out for you to cancel. True they go to the back of the queue, BUT many of them are running Uber and Lyft at the same time so they would rather cancel than take a short ride. The solution is to move all TNC’s to a central pick up and drop off point. That allows for easy rematches of drivers dropping off. It reduces congestion on the pick-up drop off lanes and reduces confusion at the price of losing curbside convenience.
Uber’s GPS directs drivers to take the most profitable route for Uber.
In your case, the upfront prices that you pay will be based on the longest route tolls included.
The driver will be paid a fixed mileage and time rate and Ubers cut will be higher if they can persuade the driver to go a shorter distance. However the driver can go any way they choose with no repercussions, so clearly your drivers aren’t experienced and don’t know how to maximize their earnings.
I’ve had dozens of disputes with Uber (granted in Europe, South America, Africa…) and have eventually had them cave on everything.
Take a screenshot after each ride request is accepted. If the driver isn’t making reasonable progress in reaching you, tales a longer route, or (my favorite) keeps the “meter running” after dropping you off, dispute the fare. Uber will always say no the first time. Escalate it, saying you have screenshots, will dispute the charge as fraud with your bank… At that point they fold. 80% of the time cash refund, 20% credit for future rides. Not the best system but you can win most reasonable disputes.
How do you dispute meter running? How do you find what was the fare when you were dropped off? What screenshots do you provide?
Hi debit… In most markets Uber will quote you a flat rate from origin to destination. With a screenshot of this you can demonstrate if something’s wrong. You can find out the final price in the app, email invoice, or credit card statement. Buried in the Uber app is an option to report a problem about a ride. They usually say no the first time, but cave on first escalation. I’ve never lost a dispute with them where I was in the right.
As a Uber driver for over a year, there app is way buggy. I have lost count of the times it does screwey things. Uber is too busy working (wasting money) on self driving cars to actually fix their app and improve the experience for everyone.
99.9 percent of drivers don’t deliberately delay reaching riders after a request comes in. That defeats the purpose of driving, which is to do trips and make money. …Also, this guy has written other “articles” about Uber but obviously has done no actual reporting or research. He’s just an ignorant douchebag who whines a lot and makes a bunch of flawed assumptions. Obviously the tech/GPS has some issues from time to time, and certainly there are some crappy drivers out there, but this guy is an asshead as a rider and as a so-called author.
Lyft lets you schedule rides in advance and it worked perfectly the time I tried it.
Every cancellation charge I have disputed for the driver taking too long has resulted in an instant refund or a response within an hour refunding. I agree with your points, but just a PSA that no one should pay that fee if you’re waiting around for a ride that was supposed to arrive and is unreasonably delayed. It’s a quick dispute option in the app and I’ve never had it questioned (but also only use it when it’s warranted).
Sufficient to say here that drivers also get to pay (by low acceptance ratings and fewer ride requests) for cancelling a ride. But if we are to use the same standards of ratings and behaviors for both riders and passengers many passengers won’t have the privilege of hailing a rideshare service again.
Passengers complain on/of everything including simply waiting patiently for a cheap and fixed rate ride than a cabbie. You know the benefit your are enjoying by using uber as opposed to the regular cab, yet you want to make an issue out of being delayed an extra five minutes.
Passengers enter and sit in your car like it’s their living room, make loud and unreasonably calls in your car, masturbate in your car, kiss and touch themselves sexually in your car and play loud music for the duration of the ride in your car. And yet, when you make slight mistakes when driving or hit a pothole they are quick to call uber for a refund.
It’s people like you that make drivers’ lives miserable because you think you paid. Maybe next time you can sit on your money and let it drive you to your destination.
Some might behave like that and they should be dropped off immediately and reported to the app, maybe the police depending on what they were doing in your car, but I certainly don’t and no one should.
That said, the title of the article referred to how Uber’s bad technology costs both riders and drivers so I am not sure where the angst toward just riders comes from. Maybe just stop driving for them.
Hi, thanks for your thoughts, I want to clarify a few things as a driver. And expand my own conspiracies.
For the cancellation at the airport you experienced. You suggested that maybe they found a better fare. For a driver, within the Uber and Lyft app this would be almost impossible to do. Most likely they were waiting for you and the connection was not made soon enough, so the app told them to cancel if you had not shown up. The Lyft app will require the driver to call the passenger before they cancel for a fee. The Uber app has not required me to call first, but I always do. So, I would suggest most drivers do not abuse this policy. But perhaps there is a way that some do. Especially if they do not call to try and make the connection..
As for routing, I would love to see some kind of study on this as I suspect often that the routes it wants me to take will ultimately cost the passenger $1-2 more per trip. I drive in my home town of Portland Oregon and I see routes often that make no sense. They will always say, “sure the algorithm expected traffic the other way, etc.. but I know better. That is why I only use Waze outside of the app for my routing.
Lastly. These companies do nothing for me to take care of my car. I make about $20 an hour before taxes and the cost of my car. That is basically minimum wage. It is a lot of responsibility and personal risk for a minimum wage job, my friend.
My aunt flew up to D.C. from Orlando for Christmas, said she scheduled a morning pickup via Uber days in advance, yet no one showed up (within the time she requested). With all the various problems with Uber, I prefer Lyft (although Lyft doesn’t have as many drivers and isn’t guaranteed to be problem-free either).
How about cities such as Buenos Aires and Istanbul, where Uber drivers will cancel the ride after leaving the airport and then take you on a circuitous route with your luggage, demanding unreasonable payment afterwards? Uber could obviously detect such and isn’t paying much attention — happened to us last month and so far customer service has dodged the issue.
Kyle Stewart – You are so ignorant and don’t understand how the technology works. Click-bait article, no facts just flawed opinions.
I don’t proclaim to be a technologist, but you don’t have to be a chef to know that the food doesn’t taste right, is overpriced and coming out of the kitchen late.
I’ll have to agree with Ansh on this one. The routing, tracking and direction are limited by the mapping software, GPS accuracy and the phone hardware of the driver. Not much Uber can do about that. Scheduling rides is tough. How would you propose to do it? No driver will commit to a ride 3 days from now. The best they can do is automate a request at a certain time before your requested time. Perhaps they could do a better job in implemting logic as to when that request goes out based on availability, but I’m not certain they don’t do that already, but the variability is just impossible to remove. Now demanding customers pay wait fees if the driver arrives before your requested window is ridiculous…Uber should eat that. Also, I’ll agree that Uber needs to fix the cancellation policy. Way too many driver cancellation scams going on that they can’t seem to detect. Grab does it right.
Woah… how many employees does Uber hire to troll the internet and leave ridiculous comments to reasonable articles highlighting some improvements that would behoove Uber to make?
Kyle you should invite guest article from readers here who suggest they ignore how the tech works and why it can’t be updated or what should be updated.
Ho hum, another whiny Uber post from Kyle…………..
I haven’t meet a driver who likes working for uber…
If I am happy with Uber? NO..I am not happy, and let me tell you why?
Actually I have 10 months doing Uber, Platinum account, 4.97 average rate, and I after all these months I really like doing “rideshare”, now, the reason why I agree with your blog is, Uber is not doing something to improve the app in technological terms, and it’s true is affecting drivers and passengers, my comments come from my experience as a web developer and Uber driver combined, and the issue is the algorithms that they are applying in the app are affecting everything, the following examples can provide a better understanding of the situation:
1. I called “Uber” customer service reporting when I need to take a break, or something after completing a trip, I don’t want to accept more request during the trip until I complete the trip because I want to go offline, and such call during the trip not accepted are affecting my “acceptance rate”, Uber customer service advise me to take whatever request during the trip, and then when I complete the trip I need to cancel the trip using the description “accepted by mistake”, so I can keep a balance between acceptance rate and cancellation rate, why not? Uber can create an option that we as a drivers can use during the trip and select “after complete this trip I will not accept more trips”, the problem here is, the customer that requested the trip will receive a cancellation and probably they were expecting to take the trip, with such cancellation they need to wait probably several minutes until another driver is close to the area, and the cancellation will make customers not happy.
2. Uber needs to add another option for drivers like “accepting trips in an area, or distance of 3, 5, or 10 miles” why? Several times I need to drive between 7 to 10 miles, and then when I click to start the trip is for 1 mile, having such option the driver can agree if they want to pick up passengers in such range of distance. In this situation, customer is happy, Uber made money, and driver lost money in gas and time.
3. The navigation is really bad, they need to improve such condition, I have a lot of screenshots in my phone showing proof of the bad algorithms for calculating routes, then passengers argued about the situation, then I recommend them to call customer service, and you know what, I received a message telling me to improve my routes knowledge…… hahahahahahah if the problem is Uber
4. This situation happened several times to me, football games, passengers want to be dropped off right in front of the gate of access no matter what, then such situation provoke traffic issues, then I need to accept whatever trip because I don’t want to affect my acceptance rate, then after 10 minutes the customer cancel such trip because I am in the middle of the traffic without any exit to pick up the passenger, such situation made me make $25.00 in cancellations during a game, well Uber and I make “free money”, but it’s not a right situation.
I have more situations and examples to provide you, but I want to conclude explaining something, the actual Uber is not seeing Uber as a rideshare company, the actual Uber is seeing Uber as a financial machine where they can make a tons of money from drivers and passengers, they want us to pay $0.02 x mile to provide extra insurance and other things like that, and when you really need the help they don’t help at all, I am in a Uber driver group on Facebook, and I read real situations, some days ago, I read an article about it, and Uber is making over $500 million dollars from customers and drivers, check out the article: https://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/uber-reportedly-made-500-million-selling-this-1-little-thing-customers-drivers-really-dont-like-it.html
Now, I don’t want to sound like I hate Uber, but if one of the founders who sold everything from the company that he one day thought could help the world, I just can think that something seriously is happening inside the top management, or stockholders, and it’s called “greed”. I think they need to improve technologically, that’s the reason why I am writing my comments on your blog. My comments provided are for the title of the story “RIDERS, DRIVERS PAY FOR UBER’S BAD TECH” AND IT’S TRUE!
Get REAL PEOPLE. 1)MOST DRIVERS are NOT SITTING in there cars,engine idling, pressing on the gas while accepting a ride. Might be in gas station, at home,in fast food…as MILLIONS of DRIVERS have CREATED HUGH WAIT TIMES in between rides. It just might take 4-5 minutes to start adding to the ESTIMATED TIME! DONT LIKE IT,CALL A CAB AND WAIT AN HOUR. 2)DRIVERS MAKE ~$.08/min on wait time..that’s $.80 for ten minutes,$4.80/hour for delays…TRAFFIC,trains,U-TURNS, passing exit on Interstate and NEED to go to NEXT EXIT! EVERY DRIVER wants to get you to the destination as fast and the quickest way and HOPE to get NEXT RIDE! GPS is WRONG MANY TIMESand EXPERIENCE DRIVERS KNOW BETTER ALTERNATIVES! MORE DRIVERS,BY FAR,put up with MORE controversy than passengers! Daily request for children with NO CAR SEAT, 5+ passengers for LIMIT 4,under age 18 request, r/t MINIMUM FARE rides(fast food,beer runs,etc),NO TIPS. AVERAGE TIPPING 1 IN 10 TRIPS ARE HAVING SMART DRIVERS BAIL OUT
Mostly, I drive. 3+years. Changes happen in a regular basis, and usually are functional improvements, but sometimes updates can be glitchy for a little while.
About driver cancellation…
I try my hardest to not cancel rides while riders are waiting. I know that there are many different personalities at play here, but sometimes stuff happens. There IS a consequence for drivers who cancel trips. And to maintain good standing as an Uber pro status, cancellations must be minimized.
So, suppose a driver becomes stuck in traffic, pulled over, or other operational problems…
I think that, usually, if a trip is cancelled within the first few minutes, there is less negative impact for both parties. For example, the driver gets in the car, and it will not start…or some other major problems, cancel right away. Minimal impact.
Other time hindering factors, mid-trip have greater consequences.
The scheduled rides usually work out okay
But a major note here. Uber app DOES inform me if the trip is a scheduled ride. It often will have me arrive 5-15 minutes early, and the ‘waiting timer’ does not prompt the cancellation after a few short minutes.
Normally, drivers are not expected to wait for too long, but answering phone calls or messages that might be from the driver could help to coordinate.
There is an option to contact the driver, but I personally do not get notifications for messages while driving, because texting and driving is not safe and prohibited in my area.
Phone calls are usually answered by me ‘hands-free’, but sometimes those calls are glitchy. The app is communicating GPS data constantly, and some other apps will be using data also, and the cellular reception is not uniform. Sometimes the phone rings, but the ANSWER option button never makes it onto the screen.
AND, sometimes the navigation is not accurate. There are a lot of people on the road. Big things move slowly, and implementation of improvements is slow but steady.
If you have not tried driving with a rideshare, I highly recommend it to everyone. There are lots of lame excuses that people give for not driving, but a few legitimate reasons like like no car or bad license/background.
Try it before you knock it.
. Is the tech perfect? Nope. Is it frustrating when a driver is listed as being 5 minutes away for 15 minutes? Yep. But three things: 1) This is way more information and much better on time arrival than we had with the old system 2) GPS is great but not perfect. Accidents happen. Traffic can flare up suddenly. Drivers can get lost or have mechanical issues. I can’t imagine how Uber would always be able to account for these issues. 3) Any time I’ve had to wait more than a few minutes past the initially advertised wait time, I’ve been able to cancel without any penalty.
TBH, you come off as a whiny little brat in this post.
Hi Uber employee! I hope they treat their employees better than they do their drivers and customers. Btw, name-calling was so 4th grade, so how about you put your big boy pants on look up “thesaurus” online and come up with something a bit more productive. It seems Uber is just as bad at trolling writers who highlight Uber’s very real and legitimate problems as they do upholding their portion of the social contract of providing a reliable and accurate service. Come on… y’all have enough money there to be better at this.