Here's why you don't get paired with that Uber car you see on the map (2023)

Here's why you don't get paired with that Uber car you see on the map (1)

When you request an Uber ride, the algorithm takes into account a lot more than just your location.Credit: Olly Curtis/Future Publishing via Getty Images

You're searching for an Uber or Lyft on the respective ride-hailing app and you see a car icon crawling nearby ... but even though it's temptingly close, that doesn't mean you'll be matched with that car.

Uber uses "batch matching" to connect riders with drivers. That means Uber doesn't just find the closest ride to you; instead, the ride-hailing company takes into account the most optimized ride for everyone around you.

OK, but what does that mean? If you've ever requested the shared carpool ride that Uber calls Pool or Express Pool, you're familiar with the one- to two-minute waiting period during which Uber's matching algorithm is optimizing across the whole, not just the individual ride request. That's how they determine the best matching for the whole group of people — Pool or not — requesting rides at that same time, or the "batch" of riders requesting rides.

Uber drivers give 17 million trips per day across the world. That's a lot of people to manage transportation for. So even if there's a car technically only two minutes away, you may get matched with a ride four minutes away. But someone else gets only a five-minute wait instead of a nine-minute wait, because of your two-minute sacrifice. You don't see it, but it all evens out, and if you ride Uber enough, your waiting time averages out.

Back to the booking screen in the Uber app, those car graphics driving around are a simplified snapshot of driver availability, since it would get chaotic to show every real-time driver on the app. Even though it's not an exact representation of the road, it shows batch matching in action—just because a driver is literally driving by doesn't mean you'll be paired with them.

Here's why you don't get paired with that Uber car you see on the map (2)

All those cars, but no one to pick you up!Credit: screengrab / uber app

Here's why you don't get paired with that Uber car you see on the map (3)

Just a few of all the Lyft drivers available...Credit: screengrab / lyft app

When Uber first started as a black car service, and later with its UberX rides, matching was based on the shortest distance between drivers and riders. Think of this as the "as-the-crow-flies" method. It then switched to an ETA (estimated time of arrival) method, with more of a focus on time than space. Basically, Uber would try to match you with the first available car that would take the least amount of time to reach you.

Then, back in November, Uber started talking more about its batching method, especially with options to lower the fare that pop up in the app, like waiting longer for a ride or walking further to a ride.

Uber's global average wait time for a ride is five minutes, and the company is eager to keep that stat going — both for impatient riders and for drivers who don't start earning until passengers are in the vehicle.

At Uber's smaller rival Lyft, it's a similar situation. The system takes in a number of variables, like your location, where the driver is headed, traffic, if it's a shared ride, and more, to connect drivers and riders with the shortest possible ETA. The overall goal is shorter wait times. Again, your theoretical two-minute wait might become four minutes to cut back someone else's wait time in this holistic approach.

Also like Uber, the vehicles on the app map are real, but only a subset of the real number of drivers on the road working for the service. So don't get frustrated that the car that looks like it's RIGHT there doesn't pick you up.

Lyft won't match you again with any driver you've previously given less than three stars. So if somehow that driver was the closest driver to you, the algorithm would find someone else to pick you up. And neither Uber or Lyft take your passenger rating into account while booking rides. So, while you might feel like your lowly 4.72 stars are getting you eight-minute waits, it's not you. It's the system.

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Why can't I see Uber cars on map? ›

In a statement provided to Mashable, an Uber spokesperson said: "Our goal is for the number of cars and their location to be as accurate as possible in real time. Latency is one reason this is not always possible. Another reason is that the app only shows the nearest eight cars to avoid cluttering the screen.

Does Uber always give you the closest driver? ›

Matching riders and drivers more efficiently results in lower wait times for riders and more business for drivers. Initially, we matched users by asking, "Who's closest?" But we learned that closest doesn't always mean quickest.

Why does Uber keep matching with same driver? ›

Uber uses "batch matching" to connect riders with drivers. That means Uber doesn't just find the closest ride to you; instead, the ride-hailing company takes into account the most optimized ride for everyone around you.

Why do some Uber drivers get promotions and others don t? ›

Promotions are offered based on rider trends and app usage in your city. Promotions are offered during times and in places where we expect riders to request more trips. Since rider behavior changes during the day, month and year, promotional offers often fluctuate too.

Are the cars on the Uber map real? ›

When you open Uber and those mini black cars appear dotted around your local area map, you breathe a sigh of relief knowing a swift journey home -- bypassing sweaty public transport -- is within reach. But, according to a new study, the little cars are a total lie.

What's the farthest an Uber driver can take you? ›

What's the Maximum Distance You Can Take An Uber? Because Uber limits drivers by time instead of distance, there's no set maximum distance. If you're traveling at an average of 65 miles per hour, you could theoretically get around 500 miles out of one long distance Uber ride.

Can you ask for a female Uber driver? ›

Can You Request a Female Uber Driver? No, you cannot request a driver based on gender, neither male nor female. Though female passengers may be more comfortable with a female driver, especially at night and in a deserted or unfamiliar area, it can be discriminatory to ask for a female driver only.

Can I request a specific Uber driver? ›

Most delivery and rideshare apps don't allow you to request a specific driver. You can't request a specific driver on DoorDash, Instacart, Postmates, Uber Eats, or Lyft. Uber does have a 'favorite driver' feature that gives your favorite driver first access to any scheduled rides you make.

Does Uber give second chances? ›

Uber does offer second chances and tries to accommodate for past mistakes. The Uber application process is straightforward and does not require experience or qualifications. It is excellent for anyone with a driver's license looking to earn an extra income.

Can my husband ride with me while I Uber? ›

The short answer is no. Uber drivers cannot have a passenger in their car when picking up riders. Under the Uber help section for drivers, Uber explicitly states that while online on the Uber app, only the driver, the requesting Uber passenger, and the rider's guests are allowed in the car while online on the Uber app.

Are two people allowed to go in a Uber If your going to the same destination? ›

Your guide to driving with UberPool. With UberPool, riders heading in the same direction choose to share a ride. Uber finds the best route to pick up multiple riders along an UberPool trip. This means more time driving and less time waiting for your next trip request.

Do Uber drivers know how many stars you give them? ›

After each trip, riders and drivers have the opportunity to rate each other from 1 to 5 stars, based on their trip experience. Ratings are anonymous. You won't see individual ratings tied to a particular trip or person.

Does everyone get the same Uber promotions? ›

Driver promotions vary based on market factors, such as forecasted rider demand and driver availability. Uber usually offers opportunities to earn extra to limit anticipated market imbalance, such as during rush hour.

Does not tipping lower your Uber rating? ›

Ratings don't affect tips, and tips aren't tied to 5-star ratings. However, riders using Uber and customers using Uber Eats must rate their trip before they can add a tip.

Can Uber drivers have a camera in their car? ›

Can you Put a Surveillance Camera in your Car? As a rule of thumb, there is a reasonable expectation that passengers might be recorded on video inside of an Uber, Taxi, or other vehicle for hire. Uber explicitly allows its drivers to install and use video cameras.

Does Uber have cameras in the car? ›

The feature will start recording as the driver pulls up near the pickup stop, record via the front-facing camera through the ride, and stop recording once the trip is complete. Uber drivers have long installed dashboard cameras and other devices to monitor their physical and vehicle safety as they transport strangers.

Does Uber cars take cash? ›

Can I pay for Uber with cash? Yes, you can pay with cash. Before requesting a trip, go to the Payment section in the app and select Cash. At the end of your trip, pay cash directly to your driver.

Do Ubers see the destination before they accept? ›

Drivers across the U.S. will be able to see exactly how much they'll earn and where they're going before they accept a trip. They'll also be able to see more than one trip request at a time by using a new feature called Trip Radar. Uber said those changes will also help lower wait times for riders.

Do Uber drivers know destination before pickup? ›

At each stage of the trip, drivers only see what they need to know to pick you up and get you to your destination.

How does Uber decide which driver to ping? ›

How long you've been on the app. Your time leaving when getting a new ping (do you stall before heading to the pickup location) Your total payout so far. If you have earned $450 for the week already and it's Thursday - then they will likely prioritize someone with lower earnings.

How long can you drive a day with Uber? ›

Driving for Uber and Uber Eats

Despite Uber's operational hours, the maximum amount of time allowed for an Uber driver within a 24 hour period is 12 hours. Once this past this time limit, Uber will prompt you to go offline for a minimum of 6 hours to ensure both driver and rider safety.

What's the most expensive Uber ride? ›

In December, a man in Toronto discovered that he was charged over $14,000 for a 21-minute ride that was only supposed to cost $12 to $16. Uber acknowledged the error and paid him back. And this past summer, surge pricing inflated a Milwaukee couple's fare from the initially quoted $214 to $898.

Will Uber drive me 1 hour? ›

Additional information: You can choose from Uber Go Rentals, Sedan Rentals and even XL Rentals. The no. of hours you choose (from 1 Hour to 12 Hours) is the minimum amount you pay. Extra charges over and above your booking would be for every additional Km & Min price will be as per your city.

Where is the safest place to sit in an Uber? ›

Whenever possible, sit in the back seat, especially if you're riding alone. This helps ensure that you can safely exit on either side of the vehicle to avoid moving traffic, and it gives you and your driver some personal space.

Is it safe to get an Uber alone? ›

Uber accidents can happen to anyone, and with a responsible rideshare driver, you are at just as much risk as driving yourself. But some of the most horrifying Uber and Lyft related disasters are what happens when a rider travels alone without taking precautions to keep themself safe from the driver themselves.

Who is the best Uber driver? ›

Marika Sutinovska, a 69-year-old Uber driver, has clocked up 16,000 rides while maintaining a 5-star rating. A Macedonian Auckland woman might just be the world's best Uber driver – and it's only partly to do with the aged Turkish Airlines vomit bags in her glove box.

Can you call an Uber for someone else and yourself at the same time? ›

Can You Order an Uber for Yourself and Someone Else at the Same Time? No. Uber does not allow you to request two different Ubers simultaneously. Therefore, unless you are riding in the same Uber, you cannot order an Uber for yourself and someone else at the same time.

What's the difference between Uber and UberX? ›

Actually, there is no difference between UberX and Uber – UberX is simply a basic level of service that Uber offers. Uber offers a variety of service level options. They range from cheaper, economy rides to pricier luxury rides.

What's the lowest Uber score you can have? ›

Uber rider ratings use a 5-star scoring system, that's the same number of stars as the driver ratings. Five is the highest, and one is the minimum score.

How long do Uber drivers have to wait on a 2 step trip? ›

Remember the Uber rule for driver waiting time: It's three minutes. If your driver doesn't see you return in three minutes or less, it's their option to end the trip and go find a new passenger.

What are red flags for Uber driver? ›

Look Out For Red Flags

Look out for drivers who are not in the car that the app says they're supposed to be driving or they're not seeming sober or there's someone else in the car with them, like their friend or someone. I would recommend not getting into those cars and calling another ride,” Burton said.

Do Uber drivers know when you share your ride? ›

People you share your trip with will see where you are on a live map, trip status, and details like your name, phone number, and license plate number. They won't see your rider's trip route or any information about your riders.

Can my wife use my Uber account on her phone? ›

The Uber Family Profile feature lets you share Uber accounts with family members, taking care of the travel frustrations and helping you and your (extended) family create precious memories. The family profile lets you add family members to your Uber account, who can travel then using your account.

Can I Uber for my wife? ›

For times when you want to send your friends and family home–or pick them up–you can request a ride for other adults through your app.

Can I ask my Uber driver to make a stop? ›

Need to make a quick stop? Whether you're running an errand or dropping off a friend, you can add up to 2 extra stops along your route.

Does adding a stop on Uber cost more? ›

Since Uber's rates fluctuate, it's impossible to tell you how much your stops will cost. An extra stopover might only cost you a dollar – or less – if it's on the way. A stop that requires your driver to go a few extra miles out of the way can cost as much as or more than the first quoted fare rate.

How much does Uber charge for wait time? ›

Here's an example of how wait time fees are calculated:

Previously, the driver-partner would have been paid for 1 minute and 30 seconds at $0.55 per minute i.e. 1.5 minutes x $0.55 = $0.83. Now, the driver-partner will be paid for 1 minute 30 seconds at $0.60 per minute i.e. 1.5 minutes x $0.60 = $0.90.

Do Uber drivers know your name? ›

Yes. The rideshare company's terms of service clearly state that a driver should always confirm the name of their passenger before giving their own name. Remember, all an Uber has to work with is the name supplied on the rider's account.

Do higher rated Uber drivers get more rides? ›

Uber drivers with higher ratings tend to get more rides. That's because passengers are more likely to use them over drivers with low ratings. Think about choosing a restaurant you find on Google or TripAdvisor. You're more likely to pick a place with good reviews over one with bad reviews.

Is 4.75 a good Uber passenger rating? ›

So, what's a good rating? Generally, anything below a 4.5 is considered bad. That 4.5 may seem high considering Uber uses a five-star system, but most drivers will give you five stars. If you get a rating any lower than that, you may want to think about what made you a not-so-great passenger.

How do I show Uber car on Google Maps? ›

In Google Maps, search for the address or the name of your desired destination, then tap Directions. Tap the rideshare services tab (the person with a suitcase) to see the Uber ride options listed, possibly along with options from other services such as Lyft.

How do I enable Uber in Google Maps? ›

For a rideshare, make sure you select both your starting point and destination.
  1. At the bottom left, tap Directions .
  2. At the top, tap Rides. . ...
  3. Choose the service you want to use. If you have the service's app on your device: the app will open. ...
  4. To finish your ride request, follow the instructions in the provider's app.

How do you turn on your Uber radar? ›

When you're not on a trip, you may see an alert for Trip Radar. Tap on it to check out a selection of UberX and Uber Go requests happening nearby.

How do I change my navigation settings for Uber? ›

If Uber Nav is not the default navigation system, you can change that by going into your account, finding your app settings, and entering the navigation section. You can simply select the app that you want as your default.


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