Uber will now charge you after 2 minutes of wait time or cancelling after 2 minutes

Did you miss a deal? Never again! Apply to join the members-only MilesTalk Facebook group.

Advertiser Disclosure: MilesTalk has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. MilesTalk and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone.

Per UberWe’re introducing a wait time fee for riders beginning 2 minutes after your driver arrives at your location. Also, the window for cancelling a ride without incurring a fee has been shortened from 5 to 2 minutes. (read more)

On some level, I get it. Drivers lose money when riders aren’t ready and/or when they cancel while the driver is en route.

But in NYC, this will push me towards Lyft and Gett because, at least here, drivers don’t play fair.

Issue 1: Wait time – fee charged after 2 minutes. I see people that keep Ubers waiting way too long. So I get it. But on the flip side I OFTEN have a situation where the driver is marked as arrived, but isn’t. With a 5 minute buffer it’s never been an issue for me but at 2 minutes it well might be. And if I get dinged (assuming I was there within 2 minutes of *actual* arrival) the onus will be on me to open a ticket with Uber for resolution. That is a lousy experience waiting to happen.

Issue 2: Canceling a ride incurs a fee after 2 minutes.  In NYC drivers use multiple ride services. So they have a phone for Uber and one for Gett and one for Lyft. And one of their favorite games is to accept a ride on one app while still finishing a fare on another service.  So let’s say I’m on 42nd St and 3rd Ave.  Uber gives me a car heading up 3rd ave with a 4 minute ETA. Suddenly that car makes a right onto 38th (dropping off a fare) and my car just got further away. Maybe Uber will know the ETA went up and let me cancel after the 2 minutes (the blog isn’t clear) but what if the ETA doesn’t update in time or I don’t realize right away. Again, the onus will be on me to get the charge removed.

I realize that I’m probably more considerate that the lion’s share of riders. I always wait for the car outside and at the pickup point (or just inside ready). I don’t call it while I’m getting ready.

But if I wind up favoring other services because of this, it’s a prime case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Will this impact what service you use? Disagree with me completely?  Let me know in the comments below or in the MilesTalk Facebook group.

PS: Here are the rest of the changes on the Uber blog. These don’t strike me as unfair so I have no particular comments on them:

  • Rider Complaints: When looking into rider complaints related to poor driving, we’ll now take into account driver history. Going forward someone with three rider complaints but just 100 trips under their belt will be treated very differently than a driver who has received three complaints but completed 10,000 trips. Instead of a one-size-fits all approach, this policy will take the entirety of a driver’s time using Uber into account.
  • Wrong Driver Reports:  In addition to relying on rider feedback when suspending a driver—for example, a rider writes in saying that their driver didn’t look like the picture in the app—we will use technology like Real Time ID to validate that the driver is who they say they are and get them back on the road quickly. This will mean less unnecessary time off the road for drivers.
  • Wrong Rider Pickups: There are times when riders report that someone took a trip on their account that wasn’t them. Before, we used to take the rider’s word for it. Now, if a driver disputes this claim, we’ll use technology and input from drivers to determine and validate what actually took place.
  • Fare Adjustments: We will now give drivers a say in fare adjustments. For example, there are times when riders accidentally cancel a trip while they’re still on the way to their destination. When this happened in the past, the driver was paid out up to the point of cancellation, even if they claim that they completed the trip. We realized this approach didn’t give appropriate consideration to the driver’s perspective. Going forward, if a driver disputes a fare adjustment, we will validate the claim and make sure they are appropriately compensated