You hop in your Uber expecting to be at your destination in 10 minutes, but your driver has taken a different turn and suddenly your trip is extended to 20 minutes. What gives? Was your driver taking a longer route on purpose?
Yes, Some Uber Drivers are Purposely Taking Longer Routes
To fight back against high operating costs and low pay, many Uber drivers are taking their passengers on longer routes to earn more money.
The practice is called “longhauling,” and drivers are taking longer routes that take more time and require more miles. Longhauling is an attempt to increase the driver’s cut of the fare.
For some riders, the only thing they have to lose is their time. Uber offers upfront fares in some locations, which lock in prices for riders. In this case, the longer ride shouldn’t cost you a dime.
But in some areas, fares are calculated after the ride ends.
If some riders don’t pay more for longer rides, why are drivers taking longer routes?
Uber pays its drivers more on the distance driven versus the time of the ride – no matter what the rider is paying.
Let’s say, for example, the quickest route to your destination was 33.5 miles. Your driver might receive $35.81 after Uber’s 25% commission. But if your driver took a different route that added 10 miles and six minutes to the trip, he or she would earn $44.14 after Uber takes its cut.
While longhauling is a well-known practice, Uber estimates that only about 1% of rides engage in it.
Many drivers that do take longer routes often consult with their passengers first and explain how it may actually save them more time. Heavy traffic in some areas can make shorter routes impractical.
Sometimes, Unexpected Things Happen
If your driver is taking a different or longer route, it may not necessarily be on purpose. Sometimes, unexpected things pop up along the way that are out of your driver’s control.
There could be heavy traffic on one route, so taking the longer route may actually be quicker in the long-run. A road may be closed due to sewer repair or road repairs. In this case, your driver may have to take a detour to get to your destination. There may be an accident causing delays, and your driver may choose to go a different route last-minute to save you time.
What to Do if Your Driver Takes the Scenic Route
Regardless of whether you’re paying an upfront fare or are charged after the trip ends, you will receive a receipt for your trip fare. That receipt should include a map. The map will show your driver’s route and can serve as proof that he or she was purposely taking a longer route.
If you feel that your driver has wasted your time and/or money reaching your destination, you can report him or her to Uber.
Simply select Help > Your Trips > Route Feedback. On the feedback page, you can describe the issue, and Uber will investigate. Your fare may be adjusted, depending on the results of the investigation.