Is Uber Using ‘Self-Responding’ Support?

With all the talk of Uber gearing up to use self-driving cars, apparently they have already started using self-responding support!

I just sent in a support request for the first time in a long time and what I got back looked like a computer-generated response. So, I sent in the exact same request again and got nearly the same response each and every time!  Wait until you see their responses. 

You know when you go looking for the Contact Us link on a website and it takes you to a page that tells you to type in your question and then it spits back suggested answers… none of which ever answer your question? Well, that’s what Uber’s support has turned into. I wrote in to ask why we can’t see surges in every place that we’re authorized to drive in. And apparently the Uber computer saw the word “surge” and kept spitting back answers that described how surges work. Which was not what I needed to know at all!

In the New York and New Jersey area where I drive, New York and New Jersey are completely separate entities as far as Uber is concerned. They have different rates and New Jersey drivers aren’t allowed to drive in New York unless they’re licensed by the NYC-TLC. So it makes sense that regular non-TLC-licensed NJ drivers wouldn’t be able to see NY surges on their driver app. But if you’re licensed to drive in NY and happen to live in or be in NJ, you can’t see any information about NY surges on the driver app until you are actually in New York. And when you’re in New York, you can’t see any information about NJ surges even though you’re authorized to drive in NJ. I’m sure it must be the same anywhere where driving areas can cross into two different states or jurisdictions. And it doesn’t make sense that drivers who are authorized to drive across multiple jurisdictions can’t see the surge areas for all the jurisdictions they’re authorized to drive in.

So, I wrote the following message to Uber and after that I’ll post their responses from several different people.


I drive in NYC, but I live just across the river in NJ. Whenever I turn on the driver app at home to check out what’s going on, I can only see NJ. So if it’s surging all day in New York, I don’t know nothing about it. I wish we could see the surge map for all the areas we’re qualified to drive in – not just in the area we happen to be in at the moment.

I’d drive a lot more if I had an easier way of knowing when it was in all the areas where I’m authorized to drive.

 So, the first response comes back like this:

Hi jB,

Thanks for reaching our, we’re happy to help.

I understand your concern regarding surge area. Surge depends upon demand and supply. If there is more demands form any area then you will see that area will be Red, if you are allowed to drive on that area. It automatically comes in your map. We do not need to do anything for this in the map, If there is surge in New York, it will show you in map definitely. And that thing make easy for the drivers to make drive in surge area and earn well.

In future, if you have any type of query, Please don’t hesitate to ask.
we’re happy to help.


Aman Singh

Haha!  He “understands”!  Not quiet!  And check out his English.  It’s terrible.  He says, “If there is more demands form any area…”  And, “And that thing make easy for the drivers to make drive in surge area and earn well.”  Wow! That last sentence makes no sense at all!

Sounds like the self-responding computer was down when this one came in so they outsourced it to India.

So, I send the exact same message in again and get this reply:

Hi jB,

Thank you for raising your concern. The re-design of the demand map makes it much more accurate and easier for partners to find rides and areas of high demand. This in turn helps ensure that all fares are accurately surged and therefore minimizes the time partners have to wait between fares. This ensures that partners gain the maximum number of trips during the time they are online.

I can also assure you that while the shapes have changed, the colors work in exactly the same way they did before: the colored areas indicate areas where demand is highest.

WHAT!!!???  Did I say anything about not understanding the re-design of the surge map?  Nope, I sure didn’t!  Not a word.  Didn’t even hint at it.  Buzz off self-responding computer!

So, I sent in the same request again and got this response:

Joyce here, from Uber Partner Support. Thanks for reaching out.

When you’re online, rather than seeing large surge areas, you will now see smaller areas with different surge multipliers. Colors change where cars are needed, meaning less wasted time driving guessing where demand is and more trips. Dynamic Pricing Maps are improving every day, bringing you lower ETAs and more information on where trips can be found at any time.

As of the time, since the maps have been made smaller to determine exactly where the greatest need for more cars is in order to position yourself better, you will only see surging areas that are near your location.

Rest assured that Uber highly values the feedback of its partners and we take what you’re saying very seriously and that your feedback will not go unnoticed. As a growing company, we are constantly seeking ways to better enhance the Uber experience from both drivers’ and riders’ perspectives.

We appreciate your thoughtfulness and taking the time to write to us. We will evaluate your feedback internally. If you have other questions in the meantime, I’m just an e-mail away.

Thanks Joyce for explaining to me how surge works – for the third time!  Of course that’s not at all what I asked about.  But your response is appreciated and it will be evaluated internally.

Then, finally a response from someone who seems to have at least read the question:

Hi jB,

Thank you for writing back.

I appreciate your thinking to see the surge areas in all places where you are licensed to drive. I know that it will be beneficial to you.

However, I would like to inform you that it is not possible to see the surge areas of different places at the same time.

Additionally, I would like to share that dynamic pricing is automatic and can change depending on rider demand at any given moment. One area of a city can also be surging when another is not. If a trip is requested from a surge location, it will automatically apply the surge rates to the fare.

I hope I was able to solve your query. Feel free to reach out with any additional questions. I am more than happy to help.


He at least acknowledges my question and then goes on to inform me that it’s not possible.  Which is why I wrote in the first place – because it’s not possible.  I knew that already!  Then he proceeds to once again tell me what surge pricing is.

So, if you’re ever in the mood to learn something that you already know – then write to Uber.  They will surely tell you what you already knew!  You know… if you’re ever in that kind of a mood.

9 thoughts on “Is Uber Using ‘Self-Responding’ Support?”

  1. This happens all the time with what ever you ask it takes at 4 or 5 times before you get the correct answer

  2. 🙂
    UBER CS went off shore months ago. Amazing. They’re saving 25-50% using cut and paster s who can’t speak English. Sound familiar?
    Ayn Rand is alive and well at Uber SF

    1. I had no idea. I haven’t “reached out” to them about anything in a long time. The last time I did they were really decent. I was under the impression that they had a dedicated New York support team because their people used to know things about New York. The people now don’t seem to know anything about anything… unless it’s in the manual.

  3. I have experienced the same poor results, but I was having a serious problem that was not allowing me to get on line. Somehow their system thought I had moved to South Carolina which has additional inspection requirements. They wanted me to drive to SC for an inspection. I went round and round for 36 hours. I finally had what appeared to be a U.S. based English speaking non robot who fixed my account.

  4. Happens every time I ask them about anything. The reply is cut-and-paste in a “friendly” guise. Then they have the nerve to ask how their service was…

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