It's the same scam that we have been discussing on this forum, but here's another iteration from The Points Guy, a popular travel blogger. Quartz covers the story.
"The “scam” goes like this: Over the weekend, Kelly requested an Uber in New York City and was assigned a driver. But the driver never arrived and couldn’t be found at the location shown on Uber’s map. The driver didn’t answer any calls from Kelly and so after several minutes of waiting he gave up, cancelled the trip, and was charged a $10 cancellation fee. (Based on images shared in Kelly’s blog post, he also tried to get an Uber to go two blocks on a busy section of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, the equivalent of a two-minute walk.) Kelly later complained to Uber, which refunded him the cancellation fee."
"It turns out many people have had an experience like The Points Guy’s, and not just because they tried to get an Uber to go two blocks. These problems are particularly common at the airport. Something is off, but it’s not a “scam” like The Points Guy says. The problem is that Uber rides are too cheap.
Drivers only see where they’re going after accepting an incoming ride and starting the trip. They earn a cancellation fee when the rider takes more than two minutes to cancel, or if the rider takes more than five minutes to come to the pickup spot (in which case the driver can cancel). Drivers keep 75% to 80% of the cancellation fee, depending on when they started driving for Uber, and the company encourages drivers to maintain low cancellation rates.
Why would a driver try to get their rider to cancel? Probably if collecting the cancellation fee seemed like a better option than doing the trip. This might happen, for example, if a rider is going a short distance but the driver has to travel a ways to pick them up, or if the rider is heading to a neighborhood where the driver thinks he or she is unlikely to get another pickup. At the airport, a driver who’s been waiting in line for a long time might prefer a cancellation fee to losing their place in line for a quick, cheap fare. Uber has tried to remedy some of these problems, with premiums for “long” pickups and a feature that lets drivers who take a short airport trip jump to the front of the queue when they get back."