Phantom Uber cars are out there and they're more common than you think

Taxi Drivers Protest Against Uber in Mexico City

In late July, VICE reported that an Uber driver found something questionable and odd when she opened up the passenger app: The Uber app's map showed that there were four drivers on the streets that were directly next to her assigned pick-up location, yet the estimated wait time for the closest car was 17 minutes away with no other drivers in sight.

In fact, when she asked an Uber Help staff member about the issue, she was told that the rider map was a "screen saver".

While passengers use Uber to find drivers, another version of the app allows drivers to find passengers. Drivers often log into the passenger app to make sure that they don't sit within a one-mile radius of other drivers, but recent observations show that the passenger has been deceptive.

While the deception wouldn't be as obvious in bigger cities, it's clear that there's an issue when you look at the app in remote locations.

Over the last six months, two VICE employees studied how Uber drivers interact with the Uber app. They found that Uber drivers often discuss fake cars they see on their own residential streets.

While some blame the discrepancy on a 30 to 60 second lag in the Uber system, others reported that they regularly see a group of 'phantom cars' wherever the passenger places his or her pin.

Some people are even speculating that this is intentional on Uber's part because potential passengers who open the app may decide to grab a cab or use another car service if it appears that there aren't any Uber cars around.

See the video below about other phantom issues that Uber is experiencing:

FBI Investigates as 'Phantom' Cab Rides Appear on Hacked British Uber Accounts

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