Uber-bad Routing Bug

2 minute read

I recently took a ride with Uber through SF, a city I’ve been living in for years and am very familiar with. And the Uber app wanted to take the driver a completely unbelievable route that would have almost definitely cost me more. When looking at the route in Google we can see a much more reasonable route.

Can I trust Uber

Here are my problems with this user experience:

  • It costs me money. This trip cost me about 20% extra. For a small single incident, it’s not a big deal, but that adds up quickly when you do it over and over again for everyone.

  • It costs me time. This trip added on 4 minutes to what would have been an 11-minute trip. 36% longer!

  • I lose faith in Uber. If I am in an unknown city, I am now much more likely to take another service because I specifically see that Uber has gouged me by 20%

After posting on Facebook I got multiple responses, even from some Uber employees (I appreciate knowing some people there). You can see the full Facebook thread at the following link Just scroll down until you see the Uber vs Google Comparison.

Many of the Uber employees mention technological drawbacks and how Apple Maps is the only piece of software that can be integrated. I found that odd as I’ve had a completely different experience when making iOS apps.

You could easily tell the driver to put it in Waze or Google Maps (something I have seen Lyft drivers do) or even handoff the directions to Google Maps or even send a request to a Google Maps service to get back the routing and then have the driver follow that.

Other Uber employees mentioned legal issues which a lawyer quickly chimed in letting everyone know there were no real legal issues.

At the end of the day, this just becomes a bad user experience from the product perspective. Either Lyft or Uber (or another competitor) will see this as an opportunity to service their customer better and set themselves apart from the pack. We will see who it is.

In the meantime, check your Uber route in Google ;)

My Time calculation was as follows.

The difference in miles was approx. 3.0 vs 2.4 miles. This means that the Uber route was 1.25x the google route distance-wise and potentially 4 minutes more (although this is debatable). The additional potential cost according to the distance estimate is (0.6x1.3)= $0.78 and time estimate at (4x0.26)=$1.04 plus whatever I value my time at.

Now it’s a relatively small number. Have Uber do that to 20% of its customers and it adds up.