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‘Non-stop’ cancellations: Why you are struggling to get an Uber

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Someone getting out of Uber at airport
Uber has pointed a finger at higher demand patterns for more frequent cancellations. (Source: Getty)

Uber has blamed a spike in demand above pre-pandemic levels for frequent cancellations and other issues.

Users have raised their concerns about the ride-sharing platform on social media, with one Melbourne-based Reddit user objecting to “non-stop” cancellations and frequent surge pricing.

“I just watched (at 11am on a Saturday) four drivers either drive PAST me and cancel, or just accept the ride, wait five minutes, drive in my direction and cancel,” they wrote.

“I’m going to the city and I’ve paid my fare.”

Another user in Sydney complained about high prices on the ride-sharing platform on Twitter.

According to an Uber spokesperson, demand for drivers in Australian cities is exceeding pre-pandemic patterns.

“We’re conscious of the impact increased demand has on the rider experience, and we’re focused on doing more to make sure we can meet rider expectations,” the spokesperson said.

“This includes addressing situations where a ride did not go as smoothly as we would have liked, and actively looking for new drivers to partner with to meet demand.”

The spokesperson also said it had been providing feedback to drivers about the “negative impact cancellations can have on the experience of riders”.

The company noted that drivers earned no money from a trip they accepted and then cancelled before it began.

“If a driver-partner cancels a trip, for example because after accepting they realise they’re driving in the opposite direction to the pick-up location, Uber’s platform matches a new driver-partner with the rider,” the spokesperson said.

13cabs chief operating officer Stuart Overell said demand for taxis had also increased, especially in the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs.

“In some areas we have more work than we know what to do with; which is a great position to be in, especially after our industry was hit hard by COVID,” Overell said.

“It has led to us to call out for more drivers; we need more taxis on the road to cope with the demand.”

Drivers concerned about fuel prices

Ride-share drivers have also been complaining about high fuel prices, which may be contributing to higher cancellations across some services.

Petrol prices shot above $2 a litre in March, and while fuel costs have since simmered back down due to lower oil prices and the halved fuel excise tax, they have been edging back up again.

Ride-share driver James Weir told The Guardian drivers had no other choice but to get selective about the rides they chose to take.

“The higher prices, along with lower real rates, have caused drivers to use more discretion when choosing which trips they will take,” he said.

The ridesharing platforms introduced surcharges when fuel prices started soaring due to the conflict in Ukraine.

In March, Uber introduced a temporary 60-day fuel surcharge on all trips in Australia - due to expire this weekend - which would amount to an extra 50 cents per trip on average.

DiDi also introduced a temporary per-km fuel surcharge around the same time.

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