Uber Service Disruption: Friday 12/10/2010

Hey all-

We’re reaching out today to apologize for not delivering on the promise we made when you first signed up for Uber. Last night we had a series of significant bugs in our dispatch server that caused some pretty difficult experiences for many of you. While the majority of trips were successful last night, enough of you faced problems that we decided we needed to reach out with the details.

The core problem was caused by a bug that resulted in drivers getting dispatched to multiple Uber riders at the same time. First, this caused significant stress on the drivers who really aim to please Uber riders with a quality service. They can only go to one rider at a time but ultimately, this error left a number of riders waiting for an Uber car that never came – a MAJOR fail on our part.

Compounding the problem was that with this bug, the driver app started to malfunction. This resulted in a number of drivers logging out of the system so that we could help them fix and troubleshoot the app. Of course, with fewer drivers on the Uber system, we have fewer drivers to handle normal trip requests. And so there were a large number of Uber riders that were unable to get a ride simply because many of our drivers were not logged into the system.

Finally, the issue that made this such a poor service night is that Uber is undergoing enormous growth in San Francisco, sometimes 30% week over week. This means on-boarding more drivers, and then making sure our systems can handle the increased load.  And while all this can be done, it is very difficult to predict the size of growth from one week to another. Too many drivers on the system means drivers sit idle most of the night and too few means users cannot get rides when they need them most. It was the increased load that led us to make some system changes that resulted in the dispatch bug in the first place. So we are dealing with the issues we saw last night by reverting our systems to where they were before the bug was introduced. We don’t expect to see these same issues this evening.

Regardless of your situation, we failed you last night, and we apologize. This is something that we take very seriously and have our entire team working hard to resolve & avoid in the future. We feel confident we’ve identified the issues and are back to the high-quality service we pride ourselves on. But in the meantime, we ask that you help keep an eye out for us.  If you do see ANY issues this weekend or your trip last night was somehow impacted, please feel free to reach out to us and we’ll handle the issue extremely quickly – support@ubercab.com or http://twitter.com/uberhelp

Thanks for your continued support and patience through these growing pains.

Ryan Graves

Team Uber