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Glad there was a good result here!  Out of curiosity, Don, when you looked for Uber and there were none available, were you just looking at one category of Uber (i.e., UberX)?  Or were there no Ubers of any kind?

I have been noticing lately a trend with UberX, where the drivers don't seem to come out until/unless there is some kind of surge in place.  The past two airport trips I've taken, I've had to use Uber Black (the original and more expensive) because there were either no UberX cars available or because the surge was so much that the Black fare actually would be cheaper.  My departure/arrival times were not particularly early or late or otherwise unusual.

I looked at all categories, including SUV. I spent about ten minutes doing this, and on two occasions, there were drivers listed as five minutes away, but when I tried to hail them, I was too late, and they were gone (this was at 5 AM in icy conditions, after I had been outside in the cold, waiting for the cab for about thirty minutes).

Something is starting to smell funny with Uber. However, they didn't do anything *wrong*.

Jul 28, 2015 - "Why Your Uber App Is Lying To You About Available Cars" by Yoni Heisler on bgr.com

Jul, 2015 - "The Mirage of the Marketplace - The Disingenuous Ways Uber Hides Behind Its Algorithm" by Tim Hwang and Madeleine Clare Elish on slate.com

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It seems like when there are cars available, Uber is lying to you about how many, and where they are. But many times I've opened up the app, and it's told me straight away that there are no cars available at all.

That's what mostly happened to me this morning.

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[M]any times I've opened up the app, and it's told me straight away that there are no cars available at all.

Yikes, that's never happened to me. Maybe because I'm most often looking for an Uber car in downtown DC or at the Forest Glen metro, which is a couple hundred yards from the Georgia Avenue exit on the Beltway (so even if a car is a few miles away the car could still get to me in a reasonable amount of time)? Or maybe I've just been lucky.

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I was in Glover Park (Wide World of Wines) for a champagne tasting.  Afterwards, I summoned an Uber with my phone.  The driver takes off on Wisconsin heading north.  After a while, I asked where he was taking me, and he said the GPS tells him to go to 495.  What?!  Let's say he wasn't trying to rip me off, that still means he has no idea about where he's going.  I wanted to go Tysons, and there's no way that going to 495 on Wisconsin is a direct route.  After I was let out, the next Uber driver took me across Chain Bridge and when we were on 123, he then takes GW Parkway to 495.  Again, WTF!?  Tysons is straight down 123, but he says Waze tells him to take GW parkway NW to 495 (It's a Saturday afternoon with no traffic on 123 because I was looking at Google map).  When I questioned him (somewhat harshly), he was going to dump me off on the side of GW parkway.  I had to call 911 and the dispatcher told him it wasn't kosher to drop a passenger off against his will on a highway.  Who are these clowns driving for Uber?

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2 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I was in Glover Park (Wide World of Wines) for a champagne tasting.  Afterwards, I summoned an Uber with my phone.  The driver takes off on Wisconsin heading north.  After a while, I asked where he was taking me, and he said the GPS tells him to go to 495.  What?!  Let's say he wasn't trying to rip me off, that still means he has no idea about where he's going.  I wanted to go Tysons, and there's no way that going to 495 on Wisconsin is a direct route.  After I was let out, the next Uber driver took me across Chain Bridge and when we were on 123, he then takes GW Parkway to 495.  Again, WTF!?  Tysons is straight down 123, but he says Waze tells him to take GW parkway NW to 495 (It's a Saturday afternoon with no traffic on 123 because I was looking at Google map).  When I questioned him (somewhat harshly), he was going to dump me off on the side of GW parkway.  I had to call 911 and the dispatcher told him it wasn't kosher to drop a passenger off against his will on a highway.  Who are these clowns driving for Uber?

One thing that has probably become painfully clear to Uber users: The drivers rely *entirely* on GPS, and if it's wrong, then they're as good as lost.

I'm sorry this happened to you.

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8 hours ago, DonRocks said:

One thing that has probably become painfully clear to Uber users: The drivers rely *entirely* on GPS, and if it's wrong, then they're as good as lost.

I'm sorry this happened to you.

On Friday afternoon, our driver took us from 14th and r through DuPont circle to m street and all the way through Georgetown to deliver us to bluemont.  What should have been a 20 minute trip turned into an hour.  Brunch at le diplomate was great, but my morning absinthe left me too confused to speak up.

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8 hours ago, DonRocks said:

One thing that has probably become painfully clear to Uber users: The drivers rely *entirely* on GPS, and if it's wrong, then they're as good as lost.

This has been true for the vast majority of my Uber experiences, but I also had a driver ignore the GPS that was redirecting her away from two accidents on the Beltway. She couldn't understand why the GPS was trying to send her a different way even when I noted the red lines on the Google Maps route I was looking at on my phone. Ugggggh.

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Generally, Waze is very helpful. And, at least with uber, you can request they use Waze as soon as you get in the car.

I've used them since they arrived in DC as a black car service and the quality and service has declined so much. Every time I have a bad event, I email them and let them know I've been using them since inception and I expect better. Usually get a credit or a refund. I've been using the flat fare service, and it's very hard to get a driver - I'm fairly certain the algorithm puts flat fare riders behind in the queue. 

Overall, uber to me is a fantastic improvement over taxi rides, but because the quality was so high at the beginning, every hitch drives me bananas.

My suggestion is to:

1) tell them the exact route you want to go

2) tell them to turn on waze

3) if there is a problem, complain immediately 

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I had such bad experiences with Uber that I deleted the App from my phone after about 6 months -- this was 3 years ago.  My very first Uber ride I was picked up at Wisconsin & N St with a destination of Logan Circle.  Now, when I drive myself on that route I take P Street, NW all the way to Logan Circle -- it is by far the fastest and most efficient way to get there.  This driver, however, went down to M St, then Pennsylvania Avenue.  I finally asked him, are you following a route that you're required to take?  He said No, he could take any route.  He asked me if he was taking a good route.  I said, "No, not at all."  I had to direct him the rest of the way.  At one point he told me that he was not familiar with this part of town.  I asked him where he lived, assuming he must live in the exurbs.  He told me he lived in Adams Morgan!  In the end, the drive took about 3x as long as it should have and cost me 3x as much as it should have.  I complained to Uber and they did refund me a significant amount.  And, while that experience was not good, my worst experiences with Uber were multiple experiences of having Uber drivers pass right by me on the street -- I'd ordered an Uber and was standing directly in front of the address I had indicated as the pick up location but they were so clueless that they drove right by, never to return.  

Since I lived in a part of DC where finding a regular DC cab was very easy, I abandoned Uber and went back to using DC cabs and the experience is vastly superior, IMO.  

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22 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I don't use waze.  Is it good or bad?

In my opinion it's quite good. I have had situations where Waze recommends that I take some convoluted route to my destination. When I first started using it, I didn't believe it was navigating correctly when it set me on such a route. But each time I thought to myself that Waze is full of it, and I went ahead on my usual route, I've regretted it because I ended up in a huge traffic jam. 

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I hadn't realized this but recently learned that Uber is burning through cash at a remarkable rates.  To date it is significantly unprofitable.   I have no idea if that financial burden falls down to the level of local customer service or not...but it might relate to the stories of unhappy uber customers.   OTOH this past year it did record a profitable quarter inside the US, and its counting on driverless cars as a way to become profitable in the future.  All to be determined.

Meanwhile its interesting to hear about the number of unsatisfactory rides. 

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5 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Eh, DaveO... different than our mortal world. -$4 billion over 7 years but $8 billion in back and $1 billion owed by Didi. They probably will get to profitability... building market share was their ploy and they are winning.

I have no knowledge of Uber's business plan, but I've seen many cases of "unwritten business plans" where principals get rich quick, and then leave the others holding the bag while they take their millions and run (*), making the debt someone else's problem - it happens all too often, and investors get burned *all the time* with start-ups.

(*) And then they have the audacity to say they "started up such-and-such" on their resume, and that's supposed to be impressive just because people have heard of the company name. I wonder how many CEOs ride a company all the way down to zero - my guess is, "not many."

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9 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Eh, DaveO... different than our mortal world. -$4 billion over 7 years but $8 billion in back and $1 billion owed by Didi. They probably will get to profitability... building market share was their ploy and they are winning.

yep.  I read a lot of business news but simply hadn't paid attention to Uber.  It was only recently that I was made aware of their size, scope, financials and enormous VC funding.  Simply wondered if those operating losses had anything to do with customer unhappiness

You are correct.  This is an uber large deal.  Humongous in size with major players having put in major money.  Just learned that the auto dealers (or at least GM) have money into Lyft.   So back in the day I put money into some small businesses and am friendly with local VC's.  (but relatively small time).   As you say, Uber is out of our mortal world...this bad boy is BIG.

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The other day I was told that Don Tito is the destination for more Uber stops in Northern Virginia than anywhere else.  Out of curiosity how many here Uber to restaurants?  Are the destinations always in the city or are some in the burbs?

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I often Uber or Lyft home to Silver Spring from restaurants in DC. I usually try to schedule my DC restaurant meals for days I’m already in DC for work, so I metro, bus, or walk to the restaurant after work, usually to meet friends. If I go to a restaurant in DC on a weekend it’s usually with my husband and he’ll drive since I’m terrible at parallel parking.

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On 5/13/2018 at 7:18 PM, DaveO said:

The other day I was told that Don Tito is the destination for more Uber stops in Northern Virginia than anywhere else.  Out of curiosity how many here Uber to restaurants?  Are the destinations always in the city or are some in the burbs?

We use Lyft regularly to destinations in Arlington and DC, after we go through the $15/month AmEx Uber credit. Uber’s Upfront Pricing Can Be Way Off, But You May Get Around It, by Brendan Dorsey, March 29th, 2018, on thepointsguy.com.  Don Tito may just be just a convenient drop-off point rather than the ultimate destination for many Clarendon bound ride sharers.  It is centrally located.  In my ideal world I would not own a car and never drive.

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I use Uber and Lyft frequently. If I am going to drink, I don't drive.  There are destinations here in Fort Lauderdale where parking is so expensive and such a pain that using rideshare is easier.  Finally, an Uber to and from the airport is cheaper than the cheapest airport parking if I am going to be gone more than three days. I have noticed that Uber is getting more expensive and service is getting worse. 

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Uber service is a crapshoot.  I've had drivers more reckless than a NYC cabbie and this weekend I had excellent drivers who have completed thousands of trips eac

On 5/13/2018 at 7:18 PM, DaveO said:

The other day I was told that Don Tito is the destination for more Uber stops in Northern Virginia than anywhere else.  Out of curiosity how many here Uber to restaurants?  Are the destinations always in the city or are some in the burbs?

Almost never Uber to a restaurant, but often Uber home from a restaurant.  I did Uber to and from the casino this past weekend.  I generally drive to restaurants in the burbs and refrain from overindulging.

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