A lot of Uber and Lyft drivers have recently been aware of longer queuing times at airports; this is part of a new initiative implemented by both companies to improve how they manage airport queuing. Whether it is an improvement is yet to be seen, so far drivers are aware of longer lag times. This article will review the recent change and how it is affecting drivers.
Until the change, "First in First Out" FIFO queues were rather straightforward, a driver arrived at the airport to pick up or drop off a passenger and would then wait for a return trip (or not). This was a straightforward process, and Uber/Lyft did not get involved in the process.
Uber's 180-day change team decided to give it a shot and created the Pre-Match and Re-Match feature to manage these FIFO queues.
Pre-Match or Lyft Stacked Rides is a feature that gives you the next ride while you are still carrying your current ride. The concept behind this is based on the FIFO geofence rule that airports are large, and sometimes drivers need around 10 minutes to reach the pickup destination from a drop off zone. Pre-Match prepares the driver for a pick up while taking into account the time it will take the driver to drop off the current passenger and proceeded to the FIFO pick up point.
The app feature shows you there are some cars in the queue, some are ahead of you, but the exact count or your position in the queue is not shown. So if there are ten cars waiting, you don't know which number you are. The Pre-Match message is telling you to get ready for your turn.
Pre-Match is a good feature for most airports, but there are some airports that it can cause an issue. For instance, airports with short-term parking for pick up wait. These parking places are free for the first 10 or 15 minutes, if you wait for longer, you will have to pay the parking fee. For quiet airports, this option is irrelevant; most drivers would drive back to the city rather than wait for an incoming flight.
Another issue is the passenger requests. Some passengers (most) wait till they are through customs before they request a ride. Most passengers are used to long baggage waits. They don't want a driver to drive off after waiting too long or paying a parking fee for arriving at the pick-up zone after time.
Just make sure that the moment you drop off a passenger you immediately drive towards the incoming passenger pick up area. The longer you wait in the drop off zone the higher your chances of losing a valuable FIFO position since the system did take into account distance and assessed driving time to the pickup zone.
This feature is only for dropping off passengers; this means that the FIFO method is not applied here. Re-Match arranges for an immediate puck up that occurs quite quickly after the drop-off. This feature is a good addition to drivers seeking a return trip without having to wait in a FIFO queue. The logic behind this service is that most airports are quite a drive from the city and waiting in a queue for a ride can be quite strenuous and hard on the pocket. By arranging an immediate or fast re-match, drivers can drive to the airport and drive back with a full load.
The logic behind Uber and Lyfts upgrades are based on queue management. Neither company want to tie up its drivers in long queues at a distant airport, the main brunt of the work is passenger satisfaction which is found in the city and commuter rides. Another reason is to combat the ever-wary problem of airport traffic police, which usually sides with taxis. There are many occasions where an airport officer has come up with a driver and asked them to prove they are waiting for a passenger. If the driver does not have an active request on the app, then they will get a hefty fine, and that will ruin their daily income, sometimes their weekly income. Add to that the ever-increasing airport security teams that do not like private cars blocking up their roads. They view every private car and driver as a potential security threat and blind area. These teams can demand a driver move and park in a car park since they are not taxi's they cannot park in taxi waiting areas.
If you used or are using destination filter for a trip to the airport, turn it off. Re-Match does not work with destination filter.
Check your City
Not all cities have this feature yet; it's worthwhile going online or in-app to check if the Pre-Match R-Match feature is available.
It is always best to be wary around airports, no matter what improvements Uber and Lyft provide. If you don't have an immediate pick up from drop off, then you don't want to wait around aimlessly, since you are a target for cops as well as a potential parking fine waiting to happen. Also, waiting in a short-term parking area can eventually cost you. Consider driving around slowly, looping between the lanes until you receive a pickup. Drivers that loop the airport roads will not lose their place in the line; their position is set by FIFO and not location. The re-match option is really good; the pre-match option works best when there is a lot of incoming flights. If your airport is a dozy one, or the time of day is slow, you might consider driving back to the city and just take the brunt of the empty return.