Why Uber Drivers Ask Travelers to Lie About Their Rides

by SharonKurheg

Like them or lump them, Uber (and Lyft and other, smaller, rideshare places) is (are) here to stay. Some people, and cities, have accepted ride sharing with open arms. But others, not so much.

Uber and other ridesharing platforms are banned or restricted in all or part of several countries, including Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Switzerland, Thailand and Türkiye. Sometimes it’s because of the strength of the local taxi services, other times it’s because of Uber’s not following the established rules and regulations of the area in question.

However even when ride sharing is allowed to operate, passengers who need a ride to or from an airport may be asked by their drivers to participate in some…questionable antics.

See, in some places of the world, even if Uber is allowed, the taxi companies still have a whole lot of power (sometimes complete with payoffs to the airport authorities)…or simply don’t want to lose rides to Uber drivers. And if taxi drivers see someone being picked up or dropped off from the airport, they could give Uber drivers a huge hassle. So they ask people getting rides from them to play along and act like they’re a relative, not a passenger.

  • Ride up front (if you’re getting a ride from a stranger, you usually sit in the back. If it’s a friend or relative, people tend to sit in the front passenger seat)
  • Call them by a different name, like “Aunt” or “Uncle” (but in the language in question) and play along with their requests to “Call me to let me know you landed safely” or hug them goodbye (I get it, but that one’s a little creepy, if you ask me)

Here’s more about it, from someone who went through the experience:


♬ original sound – Busy Belle

The person in the video, known as busy.belle on TikTok, said this was her experience in Guadalajara, but that they do the same thing in Costa Rica. People who replied to her video said similar things have happened to them:

  • Argentina
  • Bali
  • Chile
  • Colombia (This one was mentioned a lot. Cartegena was mentioned more than once)
  • Costa Rica (Many mentions of this one, too)
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Jordan
  • ALLLL over Mexico (One respondent said, “The have a REALLY hefty fine for operating at the airport because the government owns airport taxis and wants to own that market.” Another reply said that Uber isn’t allowed to pick you up or drop you off at the airports in Mexico. That’s not what Uber says, but based on that first respondent, it could maybe a “taxi power” thing. More than one person did mention a cartel.)
  • Montreal (several years ago)
  • Morocco
  • Peru
  • Puerto Rico
  • Russia
  • South Africa (someone mentioned Cape Town specifically)
  • Spain (it’s how the unsolicited cab drivers get through)
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Vietnam
  • Türkiye

But it doesn’t always work:

  • hugged my Uber driver in Cancun. still got blocked in by taxi drivers — theotherbennetsister
  • Ecuador also! But I look so white, the cops tried to pull us over and Uber driver fled, scary! Just airport is a problem, not in the city as much. — amorbora44
  • Colombia too and we got caught up. It was a HOT A** mess— Helena Eritrea
  • I did this and he still got stopped and the police took me off his car. idk what happened to him. make sure you call him by his name. — FlightAttendantFina

Interestingly, something similar to this even happens (or used to happen) in the U.S.:

One person, user92826254494, said that do that at some airports in the U.S. too. Not so much because Ubers aren’t allowed, but the ride share dropoff/pick up is so far away. This way they can meet or drop off their passengers at Departures instead.

Another user, insta: crazy.cat.lady.tams, said pretty much the same thing: “I was an Uber driver in SC. we were not allowed to drop riders off in front. we had 2 drp off in anther lot. so I tld riders this too

A user named Sam chimed in and said, “I did this in San Francisco back in 2014 before Uber made the deal w airports,” while user J_FunMia said, “Back in the day, they used to do this in Miami.” These were confirmed by user Mushmoony: “They did this at many US airports when Uber first launched. They weren’t allowed. I for sure did this with a driver once lol”

Any of you ever come across a situation like this with a rideshare?

Feature Image: Uber

Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.

Want to sponsor a post, write something for Your Mileage May Vary, or put ads on our site? Click here for more info.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.

Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

Leave a Comment