I recently spent a week in New York. I had limited time in New York City so I decided to use Uber for my transportation. It worked out great since their are Uber vehicles all over the place. They were all very friendly and efficient.
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On my last day I took Uber from NYC to New Jersey across the Lincoln Tunnel to my hotel to pickup my stuff. I request another Uber once I was ready to head to the JFK and my driver arrived soon. We leave the Hotel parking lot and then the driver stops in the middle of the road at fork and asks me what route I want to take, indicating he prefers the GW Bridge. The GPS clearly states to take the Lincoln Tunnel that is right in front of us.
First I think this is unsafe to stop at this spot. I ask the driver what the difference is (since I’m not from NYC) and he states its the same, one is a tunnel and the other is a bridge. I ask him “what is faster?” he says “You don’t want to go through the city”. I ask “is the bridge a longer route?” he says “no its the same, it’s better”. Since we are still stopped in the middle of the road and now I’m confused I tell him if its the same then what ever route is better is fine with me, so he starts moving.
I take out my phone to check the route and I keep an eye on his GPS. The ETA suddenly jumps from 35 min to a little over an hour. I look at the new route on my phone and I tell the driver that this new route is not the same but longer with heavier traffic. I ask him to take the Lincoln Tunnel and I state that I have to be their within an hour to make my flight.
The driver ignores my request and said “its the same, you don’t want to go through the city”. I’m thinking, I just came from the city so I don’t mind it. I had crossed it many times during my trip so I know their is no issue. The driver continued on the long route and we hit heavy traffic.
The ride took longer then an hour and it stressed me out because I didn’t want to be late. When I arrived I gave the driver a 1 star rating. I was surprised but the app then asked me why and it gave me about 6 options to categorize the reason and a comment section. I put in a quick description of what happened and submitted my rating, not sure if anyone would even read it.
To my surprise Uber replied via email within 90 min stating the following “I can see that the route taken was not ideal and have adjusted the fare to better reflect our estimates… I’ll also be sure to follow up with your driver to share this feedback and check in.”
I was satisfied with Uber’s quick response and resolution. I would say that was good customer service but not excellent customer service. I can only help to think what if this was someone else in this situation late at night. I could easily see someone getting very nervous and maybe even afraid for their safety when they find out that they are being taken on an undesired route and the driver doesn’t comply to their request when asked to take a different route.
For something like that I hope Uber does more then just adjust the fare.
At the end I made it to their airport right on time. Only because I also have TSA Pre that allowed me to take a short line of 3 people through security instead of the 50 plus line. With a few minutes to spare I was soon on board ready for my cross country flight.