Some of the cars from Uber’s maps are claimed to not exist, as the app will provide you with a multitude of available cars in a certain place, but still quote you with a suspiciously long time-frame for a ride.
The international transportation network company’s app seems to not establish that efficiently a correlation between its maps and reality.
According to a spokesperson, the location and number of cars is “generally accurate”, but Uber’s help staff seem to disagree, on some levels.
The main issue seems to be that neither customers nor drivers have a clear and proper insight into Uber’s mechanisms.
The drivers, however, get a more accurate view, but they don’t get as much help as they’d like.
Surge pricing, which is the effect of Uber rates increasing in order to ensure reliability when demand cannot be met by the number of drivers on the road, plays another role in the drivers’ capabilities and options. Nevertheless, the maps do not inform them about how long the surge is likely to last, nor of the number of drivers knowing about it.
Drivers can easily linger around a certain busy area, without comprehending completely or correctly that the surge is over, or discovering that already multiple Uber cars are headed into the region.
The company shows caution and is prudent in giving you accurate data, because, in theory, their rivals (such as Lyft) might use the maps to discover weak spots in Uber’s coverage.
Even though Uber has denied the existence of the so-called ‘phantom cars’, its employees reported that the Uber app gives an insight similar to a “screensaver” rather than an actual representation of where the cars are.
The reason of the ‘ghost car’ issue is due to factors like the desire to maintain a good user experience within the application, driver safety and the concept of latency, whereas if a car is in motion there may be delay in sending its accurate location in real time. So, this is why latency can affect whether customers are seeing the precise location of drivers on their smartphone app.
An Uber spokesperson also said that: “Another reason is that the app only shows the nearest eight cars to avoid cluttering the screen. Also, to protect the safety of drivers, in some volatile situations, the app doesn’t show the specific location of individual cars until the ride is requested.”
All in all, a person familiar with this subject said that the app will not show more cars than there are in the area, but, sometimes, it will display fewer vehicles that are available nevertheless, provided there are more than eight drivers nearby.
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