There’s a lot of talk daily in the online driver’s groups about cancellations and acceptance rates. Passengers cancel on us, we cancel on them and sometimes we just flat out decide we aren’t driving 20 minutes to pick up a passenger rated under 4.5 who is most likely going 2 blocks. It happens. Everyone does it at one time or another.
But then there is that pesky report on the app: Acceptance rating, Cancellation rating.
Those number can drive you crazy. I mean you go to bed at 90% acceptance, 2% cancellation and wake up to find you’re at 5% cancellation – but you didn’t even drive! Or your acceptance rating suddenly drops to 85% between rides – WTF? Clearly the system has some faults.
Let’s break it down. Faults not withstanding, here’s how it works.
Uber and Lyft both define cancellations and acceptance pretty much the same way.
- Acceptance rating: the number of rides you accept divided by the total number of rides made available to you.
- Cancellation rating: the total number of rides you cancelled (after accepting) divided by the total number of rides you accepted.
I know, you didn’t have anything come in and your acceptance rating took a dive right? Or did you have to cancel a rider because of a no-show? Like I said, clearly the system has faults.
But does it really matter?
According to the lawsuit (outcome still pending) in California, Uber can’t tell deactivate us for choosing not to accept a ride. We are independent contractors so telling us we have to accept every ride coming in is like an employer saying “be at work at this time.” You can’t have it both ways.
But what Uber / Lyft can do is give you a “time out” if you get into a pattern of not accepting rides. With Uber it seems to be 2-3 non accepted rides in a row. Common sense would say if you aren’t accepting then you must not be available so we’re going to take you offline.
Have you ever had the app on and you have a ping, try to accept and it goes away? It’s like the passenger cancelled before you even accepted – but yet it seems to trigger a ding in your acceptance rating.
So what about cancellations?
That’s a different story. Uber and Lyft both strive to provide a timely service to passengers. The problem is that the drivers must be reliable. If you say you’re going to be there, you need to get there. So when you, as a driver, cancel rides (after accepting) for other reasons: too far to drive, missed the exit, realized you had to gas up or take a restroom break first – now you’re causing a problem for the passenger. This also includes when you pull up to an overly inebriated or obviously unruly passenger and decide you don’t want to take them anywhere.
The problem is, if drivers just cancel whenever they want for whatever reason it makes the overall service less reliable. So in this case, even as an independent contractor, you can be deactivated if the rate goes to high.
What’s too high? Who knows – it varies from one area to another based on what’s normal. But rest assured you’ll get the warning first.
The only time a cancellation should not (and most of the time does not) count against you is for no shows. But you MUST wait at least 5 minutes after arrival and then select the correct reason for cancellation.
If you are having problems with a high cancellation rate, start to keep track of what “reason” you select, take screenshots and fight the battle with Uber / Lyft. It will most likely take several emails to straighten out.
The only other thing to do is avoid cancelling in the first place. Remember rides drop off over time (as you continue to take new fares) so your cancellation rating should also improve.
Best of luck!