You pull out your phone, request an Uber and a driver accepts the trip. All is going well. Then your phone rings. It’s the driver, and they come straight out with the dreaded question: “Jaana Kahan Hai?” Depending on your answer, you might soon find yourself having to request another car.
If you are a regular Uber rider, I expect you have had one or more of these experiences of late. Along with long arrival times, driver-initiated cancellations like this are no fun. And not just for you, the rider. Drivers want to be earning while they are on the platform. They don’t want to turn down jobs either.
We began serving India eight years ago promising customers a magical experience. ‘Push a button and get a ride’, we proclaimed. Each time we fall short of that promise, we disappoint riders and drivers. And if it happens too often, they may take their custom elsewhere.
So we are taking steps to fix things.
First, we are experimenting with showing drivers the destination of the trip before they decide to accept. In effect, we are giving the driver the information they want so they don’t need to ask the rider. This will result in drivers accepting trips they intend to complete, removing a layer of frustrating uncertainty for all sides.
Second, we are piloting additional earnings for drivers who have to travel a long way to pick up customers. When drivers are few, and demand is high, this will help ensure they are willing to go the extra mile.
Third, we are also communicating with drivers on the importance of not cancelling trips after they accept them, and giving them incentives not to do so. At the same, we have introduced penalties for drivers continuing to maintain poor service quality standards.
We know that drivers are committed to providing you with a service, but please be aware that real life will occasionally continue to get in the way. There will always be genuine and unforeseen obstacles – a driver running low on fuel and unable to take a long trip, or unwilling to squeeze down a narrow, crowded road or stuck at a security barrier at a housing complex.
Fixing this issue is a top priority for the Uber team in India. We are confident we can live up to the high expectations you have of us. As always, please continue to let us know how we can keep improving.