Things rideshare drivers wish passengers understood

Don't ask if they like doing it, for one

Whether you’re an Uber driver or passenger, you think the other person knows exactly what you’re going through. But they don’t. Drivers don’t understand riders and riders don’t understand drivers.

Here are a few things that are so obvious to drivers that they are at a loss when they realize riders really don’t know them … and they wish they did.

Uber drivers don’t make much

First and foremost among the things drivers would like riders to know is that they don’t make all that much money from driving. And as a result they wish riders would be a little more generous with their tips.

In a 2018 driver earnings survey, Ridester discovered that Uber riders leave an average tip of just 7%. And that’s just for the riders who leave tips — 95% of them don’t. Drivers make less than $1 an hour in tips.

This same survey found that more than 50% of drivers earn less than $10 an hour after factoring in hourly car expenses. So, a little help from tips would be greatly appreciated. The bottom line is that both Uber and Lyft simply do not charge riders enough to compensate drivers fairly. In exchange for the ultra-cheap fares, which are around half of taxi fares in most cities, it wouldn’t hurt for more passengers to fork over a couple of bucks in tips. Drivers really appreciate it.

We hate constantly being asked if we like doing rideshare

Can you imagine if you met two to four new strangers every hour at your job and every one of them asked you how you like working for your company? It would probably drive you crazy after a couple of hours. Well, Uber drivers are no different. We don’t like the question either, because for us the question puts us in a very precarious position and it is a landmine of potential problems.

If we tell the truth and say we don’t like it much or if we start complaining about Uber and Lyft, we’ll sound like sour grapes. People will think we’re bitter or worse, bitter and angry! Any kind of negativity like that is going to lead to lower ratings from riders. And drivers will pretty much do anything to ensure that their rating is as high as possible.

We don’t control where we drive

One thing riders have trouble understanding is that each day we have no idea where we’re going to end up. But we do know it will be in places we’ve never been to before or aren’t very familiar with.

When an Uber/Lyft driver picks up a passenger, passengers naturally assume that they’re from that area and should know it like the back of their hand. What they don’t seem to realize is that many of us ended up there because that’s where our last passenger had us drop them off. We may have never been there before. Or, we may have been there a couple of times but not enough to really know our way around. Often times riders express frustration when we’re not as familiar with their area as they think we should be.

A typical day for a rideshare driver usually starts out in an area they are familiar with, but there will be days when the last time they see that area is right before they pick up their first passenger. That passenger can take them so far out that they never get back to it the whole day.

Just as an example, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are all relatively close to each other, and New York City drivers are allowed to drive in all three states. A New York driver may pick up an early morning passenger in Manhattan who happens to work in Stamford, Conn. So he gets a nice long, profitable trip up to Stamford, but he doesn’t just head back empty, he leaves the app on, hoping to get riders who will gradually lead him back to Manhattan.

But, he may get riders who are going to other places in Connecticut and never make it back to Manhattan for the rest of the day.

His Connecticut passengers, however, have no idea about this. They don’t know he’s based out of Manhattan and spends 90% of his time driving in New York City. They think because he picked them up in Connecticut, he must be from Connecticut. So, some of these passengers may give him a low rating because they don’t feel he knows the area as well as he should. If they knew he wasn’t from there, though, they might be more generous in their ratings.

We have to obey the laws of the road just like any other drivers

I can’t tell you how many times passengers have gotten in my car and proceeded to request or even demand that I violate some law. Drivers are often put between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the law because there are no cops around to enforce it. There are no Uber officials standing nearby to mediate a dispute between driver and passenger. It’s all between the driver and the passenger, but the passenger holds a distinct advantage. If he or she leaves the driver a bad rating, it can seriously jeopardize the driver’s ability to earn a living. The same cannot be said for the passenger if the driver leaves them a bad rating.

Riders ask drivers to violate a whole variety of laws. For instance, you may pick someone up who has more passengers than the law allows you to carry in your particular vehicle. You tell them the maximum number of passengers allowed in your car and you can’t take everyone in your group and they’ll try to argue you out of it.

Or, a very common scenario, they’re running late for something very important and they may push you to run red lights or speed a little too much on the highway.

Most drivers are not inclined to violate any law on behalf of a trip where they’re probably going to earn anywhere between $3 and $10. They’re not willing to risk a $100, or more, traffic citation for this. They’re not willing to risk points on their license and an increase in their insurance rates.

But this doesn’t stop riders from asking and even begging. And once again, drivers are put into a potentially compromising position because if they say no and hold their ground, they risk getting a bad rating and possibly even getting deactivated by the rideshare giants because of it. On the other hand, if they say yes and get caught, they risk high fines, points on their license and higher insurance rates for years to come.

We know rider scams

There are common scams riders try to pull, but drivers have already seen it all. You won’t fool them unless they’re brand new, and most drivers won’t let you get away with it. One of the most common is putting in a destination that’s closer than your actual destination. Uber and Lyft then give you a price based on the time and distance they estimate it will take to get to that location.

But on the way to the pre-agreed upon destination, the rider politely asks if they driver wouldn’t mind just dropping them off at a slightly different location. If it’s not too much farther away, Uber and Lyft won’t increase the price quote they had previously given, but it will save the passengers a few bucks.

Drivers don’t appreciate this kind of scam, and will usually just say no and make riders get out at the destination they originally typed into the app.

Riders get rated too

Riders tend to forget, but drivers rate them too, and if their rating is low it can increase their wait time in getting a ride because driver after driver will pass on their request. Drivers can see a rider’s rating when the request comes in. Different drivers have different standards. But the closer a rider gets to 4.0 (rather than the highest rating of 5.0), the less likely they are to find a driver who will accept their ride request.

So keep these things in mind if you have noticed the length of time it takes for a driver to accept your request increasing. It probably means you have a low rating and that you’ll need to get your rating up to get better service.

The best things you can do to get your ratings up are to:

  • Greet the driver politely when you enter his vehicle.
  • Don’t talk too much during the trip. The more you talk the more likely you are to annoy the driver.
  • Do not ask the driver to violate any law.
  • Give the driver a friendly thank you and goodbye when the trip is over.
  • And if you want to ensure a five-star rating, give the driver a cash tip when you get out of the car.

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