Uber's App Shows Nearby Rides That Don't Actually Exist
Uber has become the go-to choice for those who want a ride and don't want to bother with the often poor customer service of a cab. Their app lets you hail a ride and it lets you see if there are any drivers close to your current location. It might look like you're surrounded by Uber drivers who are all moments away, but those car icons on your screen might not be accurate. This bit of misinformation was picked up my an Uber driver who noticed there were cars right in her neighborhood, but their arrival time at her door was 17 minutes. According to Motherboard, these phantom rides aren't an anomaly. RELATED: Uber Gets Crazy Expensive on New Year's Eve
They studied how Uber drivers use the two apps Uber provides. One is for customers and one is for drivers and both are confusing and misleading. Customers see cars where there are none. Drivers see surge zones where there is supposedly high demand and then arrive only to find there are no customers. The question is whether this is an unintentional glitch or if it's something being done on purpose.
Thinking there are Uber drivers nearby makes the chances of someone hailing one greater. If cars look too far away, then a customer might choose an alternate means of transportation. Getting drivers into the right areas also increases the chances of them getting a fare, but not if the predictive algorithm fails. Next time you hail an Uber, don't bet on them being as close as those little car icons on your phone make them look. That said, the time-to-arrival has been accurate more often than not.
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