Uber’s CEO Just Explained Why Their Estimated Arrival Times Are ‘Almost Always’ Wrong

by 2 years ago
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We’ve all been there: you’re standing out front of your favorite bar, drunk as hell when you realize all your friends have already left and you’re officially stranded, all by yourself. “What terrible friends I have,” you say to yourself as you pull your phone out of your pocket, “Better order an Uber!”

Uber says the wait time is only 3 minutes. “Perfect. I am HAMMERED. Don’t know how long I can last before I simultaneously puke and shit myself like I did at Mardi Gras!” But lo and behold that wait time jumps from 3 minutes to 5, from 5 to 4 and then from 4 to 10. At this point it’s been 15 minutes already and your sphincter is about to give out. Feeling the floodgates about to burst, you run down an abandoned alleyway and let the levies blow, projectile-vomiting as shit dribbles down your legs. “If only Uber had come on time!” you sob as you drop to the ground in a bodily-fluid covered mess, “Whre is my Uber??”

While that exact scenario might not have happened to you and may have only happened to me once (twice if we’re not lying), it’s still a pain in the ass when your Uber doesn’t come at its estimated arrival time. According to Business Insider, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick explained exactly why that is in a series of tweets on Sunday:

In a rare public response, Kalanick explained…that Uber statistically guesses on the time estimate, which is “almost always” different than the actual time it takes to arrive. But that statistically expected time will be less wrong or different on average than guessing each time, Kalanick wrote.

In suburbs or rural areas, that time may be longer because the next closest car to accept the ride is likely farther away. But in major cities, the total wait time is, on average, down to only three minutes, Kalanick said.


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