11 Gems of (Riding) Advice from an Uber Driver

Last week I wrote about a few of the pros and cons of driving for Uber.  Since then, many more ideas have popped into my head in regards to this kind of work, but I can’t really describe them as a pro or a con; I can only say that I have learned a good deal about people from this kind of work.  Just as I became hyper-aware of my restaurant etiquette after waiting tables for a number of years, I have noticed patterns in behavior since I started doing rideshare work, and I’d like to share my observations and suggestions with the public.  Most of your drivers are hesitant to tell you these things because we want good ratings and would really love a tip, but I think all potential customers should know these things so that in the future we can all have a more satisfying rideshare experience.

  1.  We don’t want you to sit in the front seat.  I know I am not speaking for all drivers, but for all the drivers I’ve met, it’s preferable that you sit in the back.  Of course, if there are four riders in the car, that’s a completely different story.  However, especially when your driver is a female, it is always preferable that you stay in the backseat.  Consider it part of our workplace.
  2. If you are going to drop by a friend’s house and then come right back to your house, it is obvious that you are buying drugs.  We don’t necessarily care that you do drugs, but it makes us uncomfortable that you are using our car to facilitate it.
  3. We know that you know you can tip now.  The app asks you how much you want to tip when your ride has finished.  If you can afford a $15 ride to the mall, can’t you afford a $16 ride to the mall?
  4. Speaking of which…if your job is paying for your Uber or Lyft ride, why not tip?  Why not tip BIG?  It’s not your money, and this is our job, too.  Consider it an economic stimulus.
  5. We don’t get paid very much for “wait time”.  It’s probably about a penny per second.  If you make your driver wait for a long time and they don’t take off and leave you, please be appreciative.
  6. We are (hopefully) usually following our GPS on our way to your location and destination.  If you don’t like our route, please understand that we are only following directions.  We don’t mind if you help us out by telling us a better way, but please don’t leave us a bad rating because you weren’t happy with the way “Google Maps” or “Waze” directed us.
  7. Please don’t eat in our car.  I know some drivers might not care about this, but I do.  These are our cars that we also use for other customers, for errands, and for carting around our children.  Though you get out of the car when you reach your destination, the crumbs and scents of your meal tend to linger.  Consideration is key.
  8. We are just as afraid of letting you into our car as you are afraid of getting into it.  I know there are a lot of horror stories about things that have happened to people when they got into an Uber, but I think there are just as many (if not more) issues with passengers that abuse their drivers.  We are at each other’s mercy!
  9. If you are at a specific business place, for example a McDonald’s, it helps a lot to give the name of the business when you are requesting a ride.  Dropping a pin is best when you have no idea where you are.  Usually a business like McDonald’s or Whole Foods is surrounded by other businesses, so finding it based on a street address is a challenge.  For the best service, add the name of the business when you request a ride.  You can also text your driver and give them this information.
  10. If you are planning a ride that is more than 45 minutes long, do your driver a favor and text them in advance to let them know where you are going.  Now there is a great feature on our driver app that lets us know when our riders are traveling to a place more than 45 minutes away, but it still doesn’t give specifics.  If you didn’t know this already, the driver never knows where he or she is bringing you before we pick you up.  Your driver will always appreciate if you give him or her a heads up, and it will probably save you time and frustration if your driver decides to cancel because they find out you want to be picked up in Providence and travel to Hartford.
  11. If you know that your driver is twenty minutes away, and you are only planning on traveling about a mile down the road, your driver is probably going to be a bit irritated when they find this out.  If you are being picked up in a major city, this may not be the case.  However, if you live out in the middle of nowhere and you just want to go through a drive through at McDonald’s down the street and come right back, don’t be surprised if your driver seems irritated.  Yes, this is our job, but we do have to pay for our own gas up front.

My entry is short today as I’m exhausted from my first week back at school.  The most I could formulate was some whining about my part time job, which is actually the easiest job I’ve ever had.  Though sometimes we encounter annoyances, rideshare driving is a fun and relaxing job if you have the personality for it.  Please feel free to leave a question or observation in the comment section.  Thanks for reading, and have a great week!



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