Don’t Cancel Your Uber Ride Request If Your Driver Asks You 

Technology can be a wonderful thing. I’ve spent most of the lay decade investing in startup companies as my “day job”. Disruption is the big buzz word. In the instance I’m discussing today, it’s about how great the world can be if we use technology to disrupt businesses that have monopolies or have grown stale. Uber is at the forefront of disrupting the taxi cab industry. They call it ridesharing. At the core, it’s really just using technology to make more efficient taxi services.  What happens when that disruption doesn’t go as planned?

My friend Jeanne from Le Chic Geek was writing about that earlier this week.  Here’s the root of the problem as she describes it:

When you book an Uber driver, you may get a phone call from the driver stating there’s a problem with the app and the driver cannot see your destination.

The driver may ask you what your destination is.  And then state that the app still isn’t working, and ask that you cancel the ride to “fix it”.

If an Uber driver calls you with this story, he or she isn’t telling you the truth.  The driver is trying to determine whether or not s/he wants to pick you up.  And may try to convince you to cancel the ride if your destination isn’t ideal.

I never plug my destination in before I hop into the Uber.  It wasn’t originally to thwart this type of issue, it just never seemed like critical info the driver needed prior to me getting in the car.  And, many times my destination is a major landmark, like an airport.  No real need to even plug it in.  To the best of my recollection, I’ve never had an Uber driver cancel a ride on me because of where I was going.

Travel-Mobile GPS navigation travel concept. Smartphone with pin on cit

That being said, I know this is an issue.  I asked Jeanne if she was using Uber Black or UberX.  She indicated this was an UberX ride.  I’m mostly an Uber Black user.  Specifically, I’m taking Uber because I want an experienced driver who knows his way around the city.  I want someone who knows alternate routes when travel pops up, and understands the cadence of traffic in cities I don’t frequent often.  In those cases, I’m willing to pay more for a ride than I would otherwise spend on a taxi or UberX.

I’m sure there are Uber Black drivers who cancel rides too.  But, it makes sense that UberX drivers might cancel rides more frequently.  Uber Black drivers are more frequently professional drivers, where this is their primary job.  For many, UberX is a side hustle.  They may not want to go an hour out of their way to take you where you need to go.  They may prefer to stay close to home and just pick up short rides when they can to make extra cash.  And, they could just be lazy and not want to drive a long distance.

What You Need To Know

Where drivers used to cancel those rides they didn’t want, I’m guessing Uber is penalizing them now for too many canceled rides.  Resourceful drivers are trying to get you to cancel your ride.  We can assume that’s so they don’t get dinged by Uber. But, that can result in you ending up with a cancellation fee.  That’s not cool.

If your Uber driver calls to ask you where you’re going,  you’re under no obligation to tell them.  You can be nice and tell them if you want, but don’t cancel the ride if they ask you to.   If the driver cancels the ride request, go ahead and request another.  Then, report the driver who cancelled to Uber so they can deal with it.

Disruptive technology is all around us.  And, it does make things better.  But, the only way the service will continue to be an improvement over traditional methods is if the market clearly communicates a reasonable standard.  If an Uber driver can cancel without penalty, is it really much better than calling a taxi and having them show up much later than they promised?

The post Don’t Cancel Your Uber Ride Request If You’re Driver Asks You was published first on Pizza in Motion

About the Author

My goal in life is to fill my family’s passports with stamps, creating buckets of memories along the way. You’ll find me writing about realistic ways for normal people to travel the world, whether you’re on a budget or enjoy luxury. I also enjoy taking us on the occasional detour to explore the inner workings of the travel industry.

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59 Comments

  1. Shame on you Ed. Your title line is incorrectly using “you’re” in the second header line instead of the proper possessive “your”. It is correct in the first line as a conjunction of “you are”.

    1. Oops, my misstatement in my second sentence. The first use of “your” wasn’t a conjunction but the correct use of the possessive.

  2. Also, in places like NYC any uber driver is “professional” in the sense that they’re licensed by the taxi commission here. They’re all livery drivers who require proper medallions and such. So I don’t think uber black / x means more or less cancellations. Bc there’s such variability in drivers it can happen no matter how good your rating or location is.

  3. Uber drivers are not obligated to take you anywhere. If they arrive and they don’t want to drive you or to your destination, it’s not required and there can be no penalty . Uber drivers are independent businesses, they are not Uber.

    Also, it wouldn’t matter if you entered your destination, drivers cannot see it before starting the ride, that’s why some call. Uber won’t care if you complain, they will just refund the cancellation fee.

    1. That is true. But in that case it is the driver that should be canceling the ride but not the rider (you). This happens to me all the time. I live in NJ and whenever I request a ride for LGA/JFK I get drivers who do not want to go to NYC Airports as they cannot pickup there. Lately I am avoiding Uber completely and call a local driver who takes me to LGA/JFK for a flat fee. Luckily she has been very dependable and I am happy.

      1. Yes!!! Avoid Uber!! Stop treating poor Uber drivers victimized by Uber like shit it makes you all look like self serving A-Holes

    2. Roger, in an absolute sense, very few people are actually obligated to do something. But, the value of the service degrades significantly if drivers consistently refuse rides they don’t want.

      1. Create a platform that does not ABUSE a class of people and my guess all will happily get to their destinations

  4. I use Uber once in a while, so I am not an expert. How do you not put in your destination first? It is the first thing they ask when you pull up the site.

  5. Typo in first sentence in fourth paragraph. to should be too. I’m sure there are Uber Black drivers who cancel rides to.

  6. I always put in a destination, but a driver cannot see it until the ride actually starts with me inside the car. If I’m going to less popular places, like “wrong” airport etc. I usually text the driver once a match is done, so that THEY can cancel if needed. I never cancel! Uber drivers are usually normal people like me, but I rather have a happy driver taking me to my destination than one that’s not.

      1. This is a fair perspective. If you are paying someone a load of money in Black that bugger should be accommodating as they are made much better than UberX. UberX presents a miserable subsistence for immigrants. They make less than any minimum wage but due to language issues many simply can’t get a job at a Jack in the Box

        1. Sorry man, but if someone can’t communicate with their customer due to a language barrier, that person should not be an Uber driver. If they can’t speak English, I assume they can’t read or write it either so that might be a reason they aren’t making much money doing Uber. Uber does a fair job of alerting driver’s to hotspots and promotions. Immigrants have it rough, true, but there are clear paths to success and education is key.

      2. UberBlack or X, failing to enter a destination isn’t hurting or helping anyone but you. You’re probably paying a few cents extra while that information is inputted into someone’s smartphone.

  7. Try getting a ride at IAD Airport after 10 PM on Uber or Lyft. The driver immediately calls and says “what’s your destination?” If I tell them ($25 ride) they immediately ask me to cancel with some BS story., if I tell them I won’t cancel, they wait you out for a few minutes and then ultimately cancel because they wont take a $25 ride at Dulles after 10 pm. Apparently, it has no effect on their rating. I complained to Uber and Lyft, they said it can’t possibly happen, they have no way of tracking driver cancellations and won’t do anything about it. I complained in writing to the do-nothing, corrupt and inept Washington Metro Airport Authority that drivers were discriminating against me once they heard my voice and learned my destination. WMAA could not have cared less. in fact they told me they aren’t responsible in any way for discrimination. (Even though WMAA makes drivers pay $4 for each airport pickup.) Could you imaging what would happen if I refused to ride in a cab because the driver was Muslim? or Asian? CNN and the WashPost would camp out in front of my house.

    Solution: Avis and Hertz have a lot of rentals at IAD from me . Or, tell the driver you are going to Bethesda and them change the destination once you get in and listen to them whine for 20 minutes.

    1. Rjb, I’ve definitely heard of this happening more than once at IAD. Curious if your experience was UberX or Black? I’ve heard it happen from a friend that uses Black frequently at IAD. It’s a real issue that Uber needs to deal with. The taxi cab drivers complain equally about cheap rides from IAD because of how long they need to wait to pick up a ride. I’m surprised the market hasn’t balanced this yet with less drivers looking for rides at IAD.

      1. Folks you don’t get it.. Uber is in wind down phase.. The free ride party is over. They can’t keep subsidizing your rides as investors now want profits and Uber will never be able to give them that..

          1. Here’s the real story on how and why.. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/03/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-nine-1990s-koch-funded-propaganda-program-ubers-true-origin-story.html

            Key take away is clear. Uber needs to change the political landscape so much that they would need to end up as a monopoly. That is unlikely to happen. Additionally, Uber does not have a product like that of Amazon or Google or Facebook that dramatically changed anything. It is a ride hailing service with low barriers to entry.. So to recap again … Uber is in wind down mode. The billions in valuation already started being questioned this week. Investors are slowly but surely moving on. Uber was cool in 2014 but since then has lost any degree of cool factor. Also the manner that its business model causes folks to behave makes for a guarantee to be legislated to change or changed based on an absolute material wind down.

          2. Read the fine print before making assumptions like assuming your driver knows your destination because you typed it into your smartphone. Uber wants to know this information for many reasons, they don’t necessarily give a damn about their driver’s, and they don’t share this information with them until the driver clicks on “start ride”.

          3. Jorge, I know Uber doesn’t pass that info on to the drivers. I think I could probably argue in favor of providing this info to drivers if it helped reduce the cancellation rates.

    1. Any cancellation, whether it is initiated by you or the driver, affects a driver’s acceptance rate. This is in the Chicago market for UberX. That is important information to know and say since ignorance is rampant when it comes to Uber. Different markets have different rules (yes, seriously), and different classes of service have all kinds of regulation, sometimes based on their markets!

        1. I’m sorry, I mistyped. A driver’s acceptance rate is based on the number of trips a driver accepts.
          A driver’s cancellation rate is based on the number of trips a driver accepts and then cancels.

          A rider’s cancellation still affects the driver’s acceptance rate though because shame on that driver for not clicking on that request INSTANTLY.

  8. I’ve never had this happen to me before but I’m glad I know about it. I thought Uber could see cancelled rides though. I had commented to them once about a problem with a pick up and they were able to track what happened on their end.

  9. I am hoping in the near future that someone can come up with a way to disrupt the supermarket industry. I am really sick of going to the supermarket, dealing with the crowds, and spending time figuring out who has the best prices.

    1. karen, the margins at grocery stores (typically 2-3% on most items) make it unlikely we’ll see serious disruption anytime soon. Folks like Blue Apron are providing a sort of disruption, but they’re burning cash like crazy.

  10. It’s a shame that drivers are resorting to these less-than-honest tactics. Just like Angelina’s post about tipping, it stems with the low pay they receive. However, it’s a free market and they don’t have to drive for Uber or Lyft or at all. If the pay sucks, find another job or learn new skills in your free time until you can land a better paying job.

      1. What if it is NOT a job? What if the “independent contractor” (not an employee of any firm hence no job) simply joins in to the shared economy just like AirBnB? So the independent contractor (ic) has the right to have full disclosure of the facts including where someone wants that ic to drive them. What I see in this blog is a side of human nature that is quite frankly scary.. The whole premise to this discussion is sticking it to a class of persons (mostly immigrants) in a manner that is so distasteful. Does anywhere here actually read what they are writing and still decide to send the comment anyway? The F’em attitude is palpable. A class of folks treated in what I would consider to be a demographically structured racism. The poor immigrant simply wants to know one thing which any person you know who you would ask a favour to and that is where the F do you want me to drive you to? Would belittle your friend for asking this question? Would treat your own friend in the this such holier than thou manner? Nope you would not. But since it is okay to beat a slave you pile on here in this thread. Uber “throw them out” “If they don’t like our abuse then go do something else” etc etc. Why not just behave in a manner that is more like a gentle human than an ape banging your chests in disgust that a freaking immigrant wants to know where he might be taking you? Irish came to this country in droves in the 1800’s and were treated so poorly for their class or group.. You folks here for the most part are acting in the same disgusting manner that those folks did in those days. .. So Uber On and F the damn immigrant with low options!!!

        1. Matthew, the definition of a job, in part, is “a task or work, especially one that is paid.”. Regardless of whether they’re an independent contractor or not, they have a job to do if they choose to drive with Uber.
          They’re job is to pick people up and take them where they want to go. There are exceptions, for example when they might fear for their safety. Barring those times, they’re expected to provide service on a regular basis.
          A waiter/waitress is expected to bring customers their food. If they don’t do so, they won’t have a job for long.
          Looking for an example of an independent contractor? How about a truck driver? They might be able to make a living if they turned down loads, but they’re not as reliable as someone who always takes what they’re asked to deliver.

          The IC has no specific right to know where they’re going if they want to drive for Uber. They have an absolute right to choose not to drive for Uber or to pick up a specific ride. Those are choices they’re free to make.

          But, don’t confuse those rights with their right to dictate how Uber conducts business. If they don’t like it, they can go choose another platform or line of work.

          1. Don’t confuse how Uber conducts its business as legal. As we keep seeing them in the news each week with one scandal after another. Greyball clearly not legal and they dumped it, the IC issue are still sitting in a courtroom and each week as atty Shannon Liss-Riordan keeps pressing on with one case after another, picking up pax in Spain without a taxi license was ruled illegal and no longer permitted. Shit I could go on all day. The one thing that Shannon Liss-Riordan keeps chipping away at with each case she wins is the ability for the IC to decide. Uber has found a way each time to break the law in such a manner that is can buy some time until a judge says no go. Funny how much anger is presented towards a fellow human for simply asking what any friend would ask.. Where the F do you want to .. Uber may soon have to comply with providing that info anyway my question is, when they do will the folks who are so nasty towards drivers still use Ubers since the unthinkable of having to disclose where you are going has been made mandatory? My point overall is stop using legal bullshit to treat humans poorly, If there is a God he probably would not think highly of this behavior. Just treat folks as you would like to be treated and I am sure it would work out good for both parties. The nastiness here is amazing.

          2. Regardless of whether Uber flouts the law, the folks who choose to login and drive for Uber are making a choice. There are plenty of low-paying jobs an immigrant without good language skills can choose. Maintaining the position that they’re somehow forced to work for Uber is just patently false. If drivers don’t like the working conditions, they should leave.
            If Uber’s employment practices are found to be unlawful, that could take years. Disgruntled employees should move on to a job they can be happy at. They shouldn’t make customers miserable because they’re not happy in their job.

          3. You keep digging with the find another job.. It is like you feel you have a right to abuse another human being just because it is Uber’s policy to do so.. Yeah they surely can go and find something else to do but you too could choose not to be an complete jerk to another human since you are made “miserable” by the fact that that human simply wanted to know where heck you wanted to go to decide to take on a “SPECIFIC” activity which is the primary option that a “Independent” Contractor has.. If you wanted a wall in your home repaired you could NOT withhold info to that contractor in such a manner it would affect his ability to take on the role or not. So stop with the nonsense of telling folks to treat [mostly immigrants] like crap.. Give them full disclosure, don’t hide anything so that you can trick them into going somewhere they don’t want to go. INDEPENDENT contractor.. Not an employee. This means he/she shall be provided full disclosure. Shannon Liss-Riordan is NOT done.. She has more cases to bring against the abusers and will surely use comments like yours to prove her point of abuse of a class of persons in an unduly nasty manner. You keep demonstrating with each response that you have no time to care for a fellow human being and that Uber gave you personally the right to abuse a class of persons just because Uber extended you a license to do so. That is nasty in every imaginable way. My point here is STOP treating anyone poorly and you are not in this society extended a license by any firm to be nasty. You have to answer for your own actions and treating someone in a nasty manner reflects on you not them.

          4. Matthew, as a human being, they are entitled to full disclosure. As a company, Uber has a right to regulate whether they can work on their platform. If a driver is consistently not providing the service required of them, I believe Uber should throw them off the platform. To be clear, I have no problem with Uber providing my destination to a driver BEFORE they make the choice to pick me up. Once they’ve made a commitment to pick me up, they need to abide by that commitment if I’m asking them to perform a legal service.

  11. The government should just guarantee Uber drivers $15 an hour plus free health care. Uber can keep adding taxes fees and surchrages until the handouts are paid for. What could possibly go wrong with that model?

    1. That is a great model.. And I would then agree that where you are going would not be a factor. But when a firm decides to go down the slippery slope calling folks IC’s they open themselves up to all that goes along with it with the primary factor being the ability to choose to or not to do an act based on the facts available. The laws ARE going to adapt to this trickery be employed, They are studying the methods in Germany, Uber is in talks in Paris to use YOU GUESSED IT, employees vs IC, and these firms (Fedex, Amazon, Uber, Lyft (just two days ago 27 million settlement) Grubhub etc) , the UK and on and on. So the gig is sort of up. Either way Uber is toast.. They are in wind down phase and the survivors will employ absolutely loose control in order not to be dragged into court for another sacking. Meanwhile if someone just wants to decide to take you on a ride simply oblige and move on to someone who wants if the first person you encounter does not. If no one will then try Lyft. And if that does not work well there is always the old taxi

      1. Matthew, putting the onus on the customer to keep trying to find drivers who want to take you somewhere is not a customer service business. The onus should be on the drivers to be willing to accept rides when they’re logged in to the system. If they don’t want to cover a reasonable travel area, they shouldn’t login and accept rides.

        1. Nah, there is no onus on any contractor to do anything. That is the rub. You have no relationship with the independent contractor. Your beef needs to be with Uber not the IC. The IC has not received any “consideration” i.e. monies. He as only be presented with an offer to do work. Just as your handy man IC can turn down your wall repair after thinking to himself he does not like you. If he was an employee well this might be a whole other discussion. You need to press Uber, with whom you have a relation, not the IC. Tell Uber their model sucks. Tell Uber you are not happy with their IC model as the IC has too many options under the law. Logged in only means available to take offers. Not to commit to them. It is nothing more than a leads system. You can cancel that ride up to a certain point and the IC receives nothing. Do generally set the agreed upon price with the IC? Nope. You do provide full disclosure to the IC? Nope. The clash around the abuse of laws is flowing into the courts. As another post properly suggested Uber should hire folks and then set the rules. But relying on an IC model create your discomfort along with the discomfort of so many others in the chain. Demand a change from Uber not an IC.. Once the IC gets a job at Uber as an employee I would be on this blog agreeing with you for the most part. Just get the full understanding in your mind of what it means to deal with IC’s they don’t have any, none, zilch contractual relation with you… So find a firm that has employees and then you can even complain to their managers.. Meanwhile you will be suffering the consequences of Uber’s model of using ICs.. Once they provide you the full benefits of an employee by NO MEANS expect a low cost ride. That’s history. Meanwhile watch in awe as Uber winds down over the next 2-3 years. https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/17/ubers-self-driving-car-tests-report/ Nope self driving cars won’t be picking you up either. Moreover, they found that removing the driver extends about a 5% delta in costs.

          1. Matthew, the IC enters into a contract with Uber to access their platform. They are bound by their rules if they access their platform. Your assertion on IC only holds water if they haven’t already agreed to a relationship with Uber. If I call you and ask you to give me a ride, you have zero obligation to me. If you have agreed to the TOC to be able to access Uber’s platform, you’re bound by their requirements. Or, you’re free to start “Matthew Drives”.

          2. I fully get it now.. You have an utopian idea of how an IC relationship works. You have it that they driver “must” do certain things based on offers. Yes Uber has a ToC but nowhere in there will find the word must in relationship to taking or completing an offer. You think like so many that Uber drivers are employees because Uber tries in every way possible to make them so without the employment obligations that go along with that status. And every so many months that perception keeps coming back to haunt both Uber and now passengers. You are probably inclined to believe that Uber is something other than a taxi. It is not anything but a taxi.. This whole house of cards is finally unraveling and it is taking casualties. You can’t be blamed for the mass PR that Uber does to get you to think what you do but it is simply a press offensive by Uber and Lyft etc. I drove for Uber for 2 weeks once to get a 1000 sign on bonus (only time ever driving a car would be that profitable) and in those two weeks through an asshole out of my car, not Uber’s car, not the passenger’s car but my car. My IC car with the right to decide the beginning and the end of ride for anyone. Never heard a peep from Uber about the incident but they have begged since that time I come back and get abused (never was my intention to drive a car for a living but shit 1000 dollars for 50 rides and the oppty to see how folks in that world are treated was irresistible) Uber is a Taxi service with a really bad model. Like a car with bad ignition timing all sorts of bad collateral damage is now being bestowed on all parties. Think about it, there is not a single party to the Uber experience that is happy now. Passenger (NO), Drivers (NO), Uber (NO-they are going under), Uber Inestors (NO-they are never gonna see their money back).. So to that I say well done. But just remember to do full disclosure with a driver upfront and chat to him/her such that they want to give a ride. You do realize that the whole idea was based the fact that many folks had cars doing nothing and someone somewhere needed a ride. If you want a reliable service get a taxi or a hotel room vs a Uber driver or a AirBnB..

          3. Uber drivers are Independent Contractors bound by ToS.. There is no contract. Yes there are rules but none can/will suggest any “musts” due to statutes.. Where Uber has strayed courts have brought them to heel. You are only suffering the consequences of a horrible biz model and you slant is against your only human contact with the firm – “the driver” so when you rate Uber you rate the driver.. Sort of brilliant PR in a way but lately they [Uber] can’t get out of their own way. They did a heck of job convincing the masses to blame the driver and not Uber.. Without a countervailing voice to the silliness spent on this site you all would go on believing the misrepresentations since they suit the ultimate goals of yourselves of sadistic behavior towards humans. Sad really. Just tell the poor bugger where it is you want to go.. Just like taxi services do in Peru it turns out. I can’t remember not give my destination to a taxi company ever.. Strange you folks object to it solely because Uber let you.

          4. If you read back through my replies, you’ll see I have no problem with an Uber driver knowing my destination. I have a problem with them canceling after they agree to provide me a service. Separately, agreeing to the TOS creates a contract between the two parties. That’s just fact.

          5. Okay fair play you did indeed say that. However due to that nasty IC arrangement the driver can literally cancel the ride at any time. Does not sound like a great biz practice and it is clearly not but more importantly due to the nature of an IC arrangement it is purely okay under the IC statues.. Uber can’t touch that area.. Well they have and each time they are being brought to heel. So my guess is that with recent publicity the investors are going to try to make nice with Drivers etc and try try try to stay away from court where they can. So that means even more slack for drivers to decide.. Maybe you should consider tried and tested Black car services that have been around for ages.. I used to live in Ashburn and all I ever saw around IAD were those cars.. Waaaaay before Uber was even born. Those cars are on every corner.. So don’t sweat it there are plenty of services out there that I am sure have impeccable cust service. Uber simply decided to sort of do the China model i.e. low quality guaranteed by amount allocated to product. I still buy loads of stuff from China but I don’t fret it when it breaks its shit and so too would/should a ride with Uber be considering the amount of $$ dedicated to the product. They [uber} screwed everyone in the name of cheap. Shit this whole discussion was born on the back of Uber’s idiotic biz model. In all fairness once you have an agreed upon driver you should not be getting cancelled on. That is nuts But don’t blame the driver for Uber’s moronic biz plan that almost guarantees this shit happening.. I am accountant and have been one my whole life. I have worked at billion dollar firms as a controller an DoF and know a shit biz plan that is destined fail when I see one. Uber’s just a bunch of misguided ideas cobbled together with large investor money chasing a silly dream. Fuck man they are in taxi biz. Leave that shit to the mafia

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