You don't have a way to verify this.
So, what about the other rider waiting and other driver sitting idle in my example? Now they're 16 miles apart. Do you assume they'll both be elated if matched or super pumped if not matched? How do you feel as the other driver getting a 16 mile away ping or perhaps no ping at all and just waiting for who knows how long for the next one? I don't do pings from my home so all of my online time is away from home, so I'd be pissed about a shit offer that smells like every Lyft offer.
I would say that falls along the lines of uber doesn't give a shit about his driver so why would they care how they feel about it. But I understand your point.
I really do believe that the lack of drivers is because of the length of the pickup each time.
Like you stated, and I do the same thing, I sit at home and wait for something close before I activate go mode. I may have 25 pings before I get the one that's decent close and they're profitable.
So those other 25 rides are still sitting there, and I'm taking one basically out of order order because it fits my criteria.
So I would think Uber would find a way to make that criteria a little bit more flexible, to pick up more passengers instead of cherry picking ones that are actually the criteria the driver is looking for.
Retention in this gig thing is horrid. There has to be a better way to keep the drivers engaged and on the platform longer even when it's slow time.