One Tip for Taking an Uber from the Suburbs

Usually, when people talk about using Uber, it’s to and from the airport.  Uber is my go to airport ride, but I also use it for a variety of other things.  It’s my designated driver when I go out.

But using Uber is very different in the suburbs–especially if your ride takes you further away from the city.

I’ve occasionally had drivers call me to confirm my destination when I was going to the airport, which I saw as a little strange but fine.  DC used to have a rule that you had to call and confirm the destination from the airport in order to do pickups, so it seemed like a habit that drivers might have developed.

Uber app pick up

A quick note too–even though Uber now requires you to put your destination in when requesting a ride, drivers do not see this destination until they pick you up.

The Uber app lets passengers designate a destination, but drivers aren’t privy to this information until they pick someone up. This means it’s entirely possible a customer could have a destination that’s hours away.

(note, there have been some ways drivers have been able to get around this, but this is the general rule).

While I technically live in the suburbs of DC, the area I’m in is still pretty urban and is “within the beltway” (the DC area’s way of judging what can call itself part of the city-area).  When I’m in New York with my family, we are in a much more residential area.  And I noticed the “calls to confirm” have started increasing.

Then after a slew of cancellations, I started realizing what was going on.  The driver was trying to decide if it was worth it to pick me up.  Was I going to bring them closer to the city or further away?

uber app

I searched the subject a bit and found Uber drivers giving each other this advice in various venues.

For example:

Another trick you can try you want… you can text them and say “Hi, I’m on my way, Can you confirm where you’re going please?”

Then they suggest cancelling if the trip isn’t worth your while.

(Note, there also were some drivers commenting that some riders, knowing what’s going on, will cancel on drivers who pull this trick).

So my tip is, if you are going to take an Uber from the suburbs that brings you further from the city, allow a big buffer, just in case drivers cancel.

This morning, it took me a few tries to get an Uber driver that would take me to the Westchester County Airport–a very small airport about an hour outside of Manhattan.  I had to allow about 20 minutes for the process of being booked and cancelled on.

uber app

On a related note, I got chewed out by an Uber driver out in the New York suburbs.  I booked the Uber and then finished getting ready.  My phone volume was off, so I missed his call.  I turned on my phone volume so I could catch him if he called again (he was a block away at that point).  When I got in the car, he dialed my phone and when it started ringing, he said, “See that?  You answer that.”  Then started yelling at me about what a huge risk he was taking by picking me up without confirming my destination.

On that trip, I was actually going into the city, funny enough.

But all in all, my experience taking  Uber out in the suburbs is very different than city and airport rides.  I just hit a button on my phone and get a car when I’m in the city or at the airport.  Otherwise, I sometimes experience a slew of cancellations depending on my destination.  Your experience may vary, but it’s something to think about when you need to get somewhere by a specific time.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. Uber driver in the twin cities here, I usually work weekends due to having a day job, and I never mind working the suburbs, they seem to be longer distance fares typically, sometimes its a bit of a trek back to the city, but 9 times out of ten, I get another fare long before I get back to the city center… A fare is a fare to me, but some might think differently

  2. Interesting, I think I would cancel a driver for the call to check just out of principal.

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