Updates

Keeping Cities Moving

December 15, 2020 / United Kingdom

Uber’s technology helps to keep cities moving. Millions of people rely on our app to earn, travel and discover local restaurants for delivery. This must be done safely, efficiently and fairly. 

We are committed to providing the best possible experience to everyone that uses our platform. Like many other services, we’ve developed algorithms to help us do this at scale. 

Our algorithms ensure the safety of everyone on the app, help to minimise waiting times for customers and maximise earning opportunities for drivers and couriers.

We are committed to being open and transparent about how we keep cities moving, in particular, how our technology informs specialist teams when making decisions.

Delivering a great service

When we connect drivers with riders and restaurants with couriers, our matching tools follow a process that balances a number of different factors. 

Distance 

  • Previously we matched trips by picking the closest driver or courier, but we learned that closest doesn’t always mean the quickest. 
  • Today we account for a variety of factors in order to provide a reliable estimated time of arrival (ETA). This includes traffic and other factors that could make a trip more complicated, such as bridges or one-way systems.

Availability

  • Our tools monitor online drivers and couriers as well as customer demand by time of day and location. This way we can highlight specific areas where the demand for trips is highest. 

Price

  • In the majority of our cities, before people book a ride on the Uber app they see an Upfront Price. This is the clearest, most transparent approach to pricing.
  • Our tools use data on the expected duration and distance of the trip, as well as accounting for anticipated traffic patterns, road closures, and dynamic pricing. 

Trip history

  • If a rider and driver have had a negative experience with each other in the past and have given each other lower ratings, then these two parties will not be matched again.

Putting safety first 

Our technology plays an important role in keeping everyone on the platform safe, but it is our specialist Trust and Safety Teams who make the final decisions. Whether it’s checking for unexpected stops in passenger journeys (RideCheck) or monitoring if a trip goes unusually off course, our team of trained agents work to spot potential safety issues. 

Technology has a vital role to play in supporting these efforts. It helps to identify potential violations of our Community Guidelines, as well as helping ensure that the driver and courier is who they say they are through Real-time ID verification checks.

If an issue is detected we may decide to suspend or deactivate accounts. Often this will then be reviewed by Trust and Safety Teams, who are specially trained to spot the types of fraudulent behaviour that could lead to someone losing access to their account, such as:

  • If a driver or courier is found to be in breach of our safety or discrimination standards.
  • If a driver or courier submits fraudulent documentation or provides inaccurate information about themselves when opening their account.
  • If a driver undertakes fraudulent activity such as deliberately increasing the time or distance of a trip, manipulating GPS data or attempting to circumvent our fraud checks  check. Our approach to fraud activities is outlined in more detail here.

We take the decision to deactivate drivers and couriers very seriously because we know that many of them depend on Uber to earn. After a manual review, agents will provide a clear explanation of why such action has been taken, and give the driver or courier the opportunity to appeal.

We always ensure that we have taken appropriate action and that all decisions are in line with local regulations across Europe. 

These decisions do not just apply to drivers and couriers. We will take action against a rider if we find they have engaged in discriminatory, rude or threatening behaviour toward a driver. Ensuring the safety of everyone using our app will always be our main priority.

Continuing to learn and improve our systems

Any technical process, however robust it might be, can always be refined and improved. As part of our commitment to long-term partnerships, we are constantly engaging with experts and advocates to improve our policies and processes related to safety on the Uber app. 

Our focus is on maintaining the trust of everyone in the Uber community by being transparent about how our app works. This is fundamental to delivering the best possible service for everyone who uses the Uber platform.