How to receive requests
Picking up from Sydney Airport
If you’re waiting at Sydney Airport, you’ll be placed in a virtual queue, which means you’ll receive trip requests on a first in, first out basis. This system ensures that driver-partners who have been waiting the longest get the requests first, instead of the usual system which allocates trips to whoever is closest.
Each product and terminal has its own queue, so if you’re an uberX driver-partner waiting at the international terminal, you’ll be queued separately to an uberX driver-partner waiting at the domestic terminal, or to an UberBLACK driver-partner waiting at the domestic or international terminal.
Read on for details specific to uberX and UberBLACK driver-partners, as well as the Sydney Airport Operating Procedures below.
Waiting area for uberX pickups
To place yourself in the international terminal queue, ensure that you’re waiting on the western side of Cooks River on Innesdale Road, Gertrude Street, Robert Lane or Levey Street. You will not be able to wait for trip requests near the international terminal pick-up area.
To place yourself in the domestic terminal queue, you’ll need to be in the waiting area between IMO car wash and KFC restaurant; this area is to the north of Ross Smith Avenue. You will not be able to wait for trip requests near the domestic terminal pick-up area, you’ll need to be physically in the uberX waiting area, which is a dedicated area specifically for uberX, uberXL, or uberSUV and other ride-sharing drivers.
Pickups at SYD
How uberX pickups work
Step one: Waiting for Trip Request
If you're waiting anywhere in the yellow area at both the International and Domestic Terminals (see maps below) you'll be automatically placed in the virtual queue and be able to receive a request from that terminal.
There are fees in the uberX waiting area if you remain there for more than 30 minutes. This fee will be automatically charged to your e-TAG by Sydney Airport when you exit through the boom gates. Additional waiting fees may apply if driver-partners are in the pick up areas for an extended period of time. Please refer to the Sydney Airport website for more information.
If you need to wait in the uberX waiting area for more than the maximum free waiting time, it's recommended that you exit through the boom gate and immediately re-enter the waiting area. If you do this you will not lose your position in the queue.
Step two: Accepting Trip Request
Once you have accepted a trip request, we suggest that you call the rider to confirm they are ready to be picked up and that they know where the correct pick-up area is. You'll need to drive along the orange route (map below), following the bright green signs to the Priority Pickup area for both the International and Domestic terminals.
When you reach the pickup area, you'll need to drive through a boom gate to enter the carpark (where the orange line enters the green box on the map).
Step three: Picking up rider
You can wait for your rider in the pick-up area, which is the green box on the below map. Riders will request once they've left the terminal, and walk to the pick-up area via the blue line.
For the International Terminal, you can only wait in the Priority Pickup area for up to 15 minutes before fees will be applied by Sydney Airport to your e-TAG.
For the Domestic Terminal, Sydney Airport will automatically charge a fee to your e-TAG based on the amount of time that you are in the Priority Pickup zone. Please note that some e-TAGs cannot be used to access the pickup zone. Please refer to Sydney Airport's website for more information.
A Sydney Airport Access Fee of $4.20 for both the Domestic Terminal and International Terminal, will be charged to the rider like a normal toll. Most rider pickups will take less than 15 minutes so you should expect this fee, but refer to the Sydney Airport Priority Pickup area fees (Domestic Terminal and International Terminal) for further information.
Step 4: Exiting the Airport
Follow the red line on the map to exit the pickup area.
According to rider feedback, offering water and mints, assisting them with luggage (if this is possible), asking whether they prefer for you to follow the GPS directions, all go towards ensuring they have an enjoyable ride.
uberX pickups at SYD
Domestic terminal map for uberX
- Yellow = waiting area
- Orange = entry route
- Green = pick-up zone
- Red = exit route
- Blue = rider walking route to pick-up zone
International terminal map for uberX
Frequently asked questions
Do I lose my place in the queue if the rider cancels?
No, you will not lose your place in the queue if your rider cancels. However, you may lose your place in the queue for any of the following reasons:
- You do not accept a trip request
- You end or cancel a trip request
- You leave the airport area
- You go offline
Why did I get a request from the suburbs even though I was waiting for an airport request?
So you can spend more time on-trip and less time waiting, you will still be eligible to receive normal trip requests from the surrounding areas while in the waiting area. These requests are based on the normal distance-based system, not the virtual queue.
My rider called me and asked me to pick them up kerbside at the terminal, what do I do?
To ensure that traffic at the terminal is kept to a minimum, pick-ups by uberX driver-partners must only occur from the designated pick-up areas. If the rider is unsure about where to go, tell them to follow the bright green signs which say “Priority Pick-up” for the international and domestic terminal.
How does short trip protection work?
Now if you get a short-distance trip* from SYD, we'll hold your spot for 6 hours, so that you can return to the same virtual queue and get another trip quickly. If a trip is eligible for short trip protection, we'll let you know in the app before you accept the trip.
*To be eligible for short trip protection, you must be waiting in an airport queue for at least 15 minutes. Short trip protection is valid for 6 hours at the same virtual queue and remains in place even if you go offline or do other trips before returning to the airport's queue. Airport short trip protection distance radius is subject to change.
How do I know what position I am in the queue?
Shortly after arriving in the designated waiting area, your position in the queue will appear. It’s important to remember that position in queue won’t always mean the same wait time; for example, position 15 can sometimes wait 30 minutes and other times only 5 minutes.
What is the best time to wait at the airport?
This can differ across the week depending on flight arrival times. We recommend checking information made available from Sydney Airport Flight Information to choose when you wish to wait at the airport and maximise your chance of receiving trip requests.
My rider took a long time to get to me and I had to pay for my parking, will Uber reimburse me?
Uber will not reimburse you for parking fees. Sydney Airport allows you a limited amount of free waiting time at the pick-up areas:
For pickup at the international and domestic terminal in the Priority Pickup area, the rider will be charged the $4.20 Sydney Airport Access Fee. If you wait more than 15 minutes in the pickup zone you may receive additional fees.
The app advises riders to only request once they’ve exited the terminal, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to wait long.
What if my rider cancels when I am on my way to pick them up?
If you get a rider cancellation when you’re already on your way to the terminals, you will be eligible to receive another trip request within the next 8 minutes. If you do not receive a trip request during this time you will need to return to the waiting lot.
The Sydney Airport pickup procedure for hire cars driving with UberBLACK differs from the uberX pickup procedure, including different waiting areas and Airport Access Fees.