Can a Uber driver start the trip without the passenger in the car? ...and take an imaginary passenger for a ride to make money?
Yes, this is technically possible. Once we are at the location of the request, i.e. the pin, we can swipe "Start a Trip."
No, the drivers wouldn't do this as it will guarantee a 1-star rating. Also, the customer will complain and reverse the charge anyways. Not worth it.