A user on TikTok has sparked discussion after claiming that a driver refused her ride after learning of her destination.
In a video with over 215,000 views, TikTok user Meredith (@meredith_hayden) claims that she had booked a trip from New Jersey to New York City, a relatively short journey given the proximity of the two states.
However, once she entered the vehicle, the driver informed her that she could not accept her order. According to Meredith, this same thing has happened to several of her friends.
“Uber, why aren’t we telling these drivers where they’re going before?” asks Meredith. “Shouldn’t that be part of their decision-making process of whether or not they want to accept a drive?”
uber what gives♬ original sound – mere
Earlier this year, Uber announced that drivers would be allowed to see where they are going before accepting a fare, per CNBC.
However, the actual rollout of this program appears to be slow-moving. A thread posted to Reddit last month asks Meredith’s same question, with the general response in comments claiming that no, drivers cannot see destinations before accepting unless they are in specific markets.
“If your market has ‘up front’ for the driver, he can see where you are going and the payoff,” claimed user DCHacker. “If your market does not have ‘up front’ for the driver, he is supposed to be notified ‘Long trip 45+’ when the application offers him the trip. Again, the smart driver declines automatically. Unfortunately, this notification is not always there.”
DCHacker’s claim is backed up by information from Uber itself, which claims that the feature will be arriving for more drivers “soon.”
In Meredith’s specific case, the driver was likely unable to accept the drive as the destination put her in a different state. Numerous commenters pointed this out.
“YES this happens because NJ Uber drivers cannot legally pick up rides in NYC so it’s a waste of time/$ for them which i recently learned the hard way,” stated a commenter.
This is true.
“Uber drivers can only operate and pick up passengers in areas for which they have been assigned and approved. This has to do with how each local areas have different laws and regulations. You are applying to drive in a certain territory, and you are approved for that specific territory,” writes an Uber driver on RideGuru. “To clarify, it is important to point out that you can pick up in your own area only, but you can drop off outside of your territory in any location. This means that you can leave your territory with a passenger but you cannot pick up on the way home.”
In New York City, for example, drivers are required to “Obtain a NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) driver license for themselves; The vehicle they drive must be licensed by the TLC as a for-hire vehicle; Drivers must comply with all TLC licensing requirements” before they can pick up riders in the area, per Uber’s website.
Other commenters explained further reasons why a driver may refuse based on destination.
“I think they’re trying to prevent drivers from cherry-picking rides,” offered a user. “If drivers could see you were going far away it’s possible you’d never get a ride.”
“Yes, it’s evidently to discourage drivers from cancelling rides to areas they might not prefer. Basically to balance supply & demand,” alleged a second.
The Daily Dot reached out to Uber and Meredith via email.