Uber passengers at Washington-area airports said some ride-share drivers are refusing to pick them up, because they don’t want to take the travelers where they want to go.
An Uber driver is never supposed to know the destination until the trip has started. But some drivers are said to be calling passengers in advance and finding out where the passengers want to go, which is against Uber policy.
If the driver thinks the trip isn’t worth their time, because they think the trip is too short, too long or they just don’t want to go to the destination, the drivers won’t pick up the passengers, the passengers said.
"I just wanted to get home,” Uber customer Landon Geurkink said. “We had just been traveling for a couple hours in the air. It was cold out."
Geurkink said he had to go through five separate Uber drivers before one finally picked him up at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. He said the drivers thought his relatively short trip to downtown D.C. wasn't worth the trip after calling him to find out his destination.
"He's, like, I just wanted to know where you are headed? I just said, ‘Oh, downtown D.C.,’” Geurkirk said. “Another minute later, he canceled."
Other drivers may have manipulated the Uber app or used a separate app to figure out the final destination and then decided they didn't want the trip. Some Uber drivers said they knew all about this technique, and some admitted they have ended trip requests based on destination.
"I know that I have canceled drives before that I thought were too long," one driver said.
Uber released a statement about the practice.
“Ridesharing apps are changing a transportation status quo that has been unequal for generations, making it easier and more affordable for people to get around, no matter where they live and where they're going."
Per Uber's deactivation policy, each city has a maximum cancellation rate, based on the average cancellation rate in that area, after which point a driver may be barred from using the app.
Uber riders can rate their driver and provide anonymous feedback about their trip. Uber said they do take feedback seriously.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said they are looking into the practice of the Uber drivers avoiding some trips.