As you may already know, Uber riders have been using a gps hack recently in order to avoid surge charges. What they do is they will use a fake location app to put themselves just out of the surge zone.
So then the Uber rider will contact the driver telling them something went wrong and give the right address or directions to get to them. Many drivers that aren’t aware of this scam fall for it every day. That’s how I became aware of the issue in the first place and without knowing it I had accepted the ride and was paid the regular fare instead of the 2.3 surge fare.
Uber has fixed the problem
With the latest update to the Uber application, riders no longer have the ability to drop a pin for their location. The only way that an Uber passenger can set a pick up location now is by typing in the actual address and if the passenger isn’t at the address they have put in then the driver has every right to cancel that ride request.
But does this eliminate the problem?
Not completely, passengers who are frequent Uber users may be able to see surge patterns. They could see where it usually spreads to and can find a convenient address to use and try the same method of calling the driver as before. This will take some strategy and research on the riders part but avoiding surge in this way is still possible.
Drivers are using this hack as well
Drivers have been using this hack for a while as well. They would see a surging area and place themselves in the surge zone and pick up the ride request before they are actually there. In other words, stealing it from drivers that are already in the area and that are closer than them.
My little test
I had an old rooted android phone laying around and decided to test this hack and see if Uber is still allowing drivers to do this. Now I did all of this from home and I didn’t actually go out trying to steal rides so don’t think I’m one of the bad guys.
I just wanted to see if the app would even allow it to work so I could know if other drivers around me are using this method as well and see if Uber has caught on and are putting a stop to it to keep things fair for all drivers.
Upon testing it out it did seem to work still but a few days later I received this email from Uber.
“Hi,We notice your Android may be rooted and/or have modified settings that may prevent the Uber App from functioning properly. To ensure continued access to the Uber App and to be eligible for future incentives, we suggest unrooting your device and/or restoring its original settings. Thanks! Uber Operations Team”
Upon receiving this message I immediately uninstalled the app from my phone because after all, I’m just doing research here, I’m not trying to get into any trouble.
So it looks like Uber does have a handle on things from the drivers side as well and we no longer have to worry about other drivers having an unfair advantage over us.
Uber Is Showing More Care For Drivers
Uber is finally showing a genuine interest in their drivers and showing us that we matter by ensuring that we have a fair platform to use. While so many people are hating Uber I see that that are working towards a more positive relationship with drivers.
What about Lyft?
I tested the same gps hack with the lyft app as well and the hack is still usable by lyft drivers and customers still have the option to drop a pin instead of entering an address. I’m sure they will follow uber and make updates to change this in the next few weeks.
Could Uber really be stealing the driver love back that lyft has successfully obtained. I think they have a good chance at it and the root of it all is rate changes. Customers should be paying a little more for a ride. Let lyft be the budget rideshare company and Uber can focus on maintaining their original idea of being a more upscale and classy service. The rideshare war has become huge but quality of drivers can easily set one apart from the other. By having stricter rules for drivers we can eliminate the flood of drivers and keep the demand where it should be.
It’s just too easy for anyone to become a driver these days.