Uber Explained: Running the meter?

Question: My Uber driver waits after he dropped me off – did he charge me?

Before I was an Uber driver, I was always a bit skeptical of why the drivers would just sit there after they dropped me off. Were they still running the meter? They knew the GPS on the email receipt would still show accurate but the time would show longer. Especially if it was a shady driver or one that had made some greedy less efficient moves while we were in transit. So if you’ve ever wondered this, let me share what I’ve learned as a driver.

Caveat – I can only speak to my experience, which is from a high integrity midwestern gal who spent her career in professional services / client relations.

1 – It is true, as a driver we get paid by both the minute and the mile

Though our per minute rate is in the pennies so there’s no real incentive for us to “run the meter”.  Not too mention, let’s say the driver does take their time to end the ride, at most you’ll pay around a dime. Not even worth stressing about.

2 – I see this all the time at the airport, do explain!

So the airport is a slightly different story. As a driver, although we had a great time with you in our car we’re very motivated to get you out and on your way as we only have a 2 minute window to linger in the drop off lane waiting to see if Uber will give us a rider back into town. Why are we eager for this? Well most airports are quite a ways out of the city and no Uber driver wants to waste 30 minutes and $5 in gas without a rider getting back into town. So you better believe we’re going to stop your meter and hover in great hopes we’ll get our next rider.

3 – Miles equal money

The faster we are back on the road finding our next rider, the more money we make. Miles are where we make our cash. Thus if we park at your drop off point it is likely because (a) we need to respond to texts/calls that came in while we were driving (b) we are sick of wasting gas between requests and rather park to wait, or (c) we need to recalibrate where the heck you just took us in relation to where we want to go.

4 – Ratings are our world

Not only does making pennies off you by “running the meter” make no sense for us, it is also likely to make you upset and give us lower ratings which is the last thing we want. There is a reason most of us offer mints, Kleenex, radio stations, driving route preferences – it’s because our ratings are our lifeline. If you’re happy, we’re happy. Unless you’re a total jerk, we will give you 5’s in hopes you’ll return the love.

Hope that helps!


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