Sharon and I are by no means expert passengers for ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft but we’ve been on enough rides where we know what makes us appealing passengers I mean, my 4.77 star rating with Uber means I must be doing something right. I combined my thoughts with some Facebook comments from friends who’ve been drivers and I’ve come up with a few tips to be a better customer.
1) Be Ready When You Call For A Ride
This seems like common sense but it takes a ounce of consideration for you to be ready to leave before calling for a ride. I know it might take 5-10 minutes for your car to arrive but your driver might be right outside. No, I mean it! During our trip to New Orleans we called for an Uber when walking out of Cafe du Monde. Our driver just dropped off someone across the street and was right there, waving to us when she picked up our ride.
If we had been waiting for our check when I called for the ride, that would have been a waste of time for our driver (and something I would never do, but I know some people do)
2) Pay Attention To The Pick Up Location
When you call for a ride, the pick up location might not be exactly where you are. When we called for a ride after eating at Cochon Butcher (also in New Orleans. By the way, it was a phenomenal restaurant!), Uber put our pick up location on the corner, about a half a block up from the restaurant. Not a big deal but if you’re not paying attention it might cause you to miss your driver.
And you really need to eat at Cochon Butcher.
3) If You Want/Need To Sit In Front, Be Sure To Ask
When getting a ride with Uber or Lyft, you’re getting a ride in someone’s car. If you’re by yourself or with a larger group, it’s still common courtesy to ask to sit in the front seat. I’ve never had a driver say no but being polite and understanding you’re entering someone else’s space goes a long way.
4) It’s Not Your Car, So Ask Before Eating or Drinking
When getting into an Uber this weekend, I asked the driver if it was OK to drink my bottle of water in the car. I didn’t need to; they wouldn’t say no. I just thought it was common courtesy. I’d never imagine bringing open food into a car or even worse eating in someone else’s vehicle without their permission. Even with permission, I don’t think I’d ever eat in a car. What if I ended up getting McNugget sauce on the door? That never comes off and you don’t want to have a driver claim that you messed up their car.
5) Act As If It’s Your Parents’ Car
Don’t leave your trash in the car when you leave. Don’t slam the car door. Don’t put your feet on the dashboard. Don’t change the radio without asking. Don’t adjust the A/C without asking. You’re in someone else’s vehicle. Act like it.
6) Don’t Expect The Driver To Handle Your Baggage
If you want a valet to carry your bags, pay for a car service. If you order an Uber X, don’t have a plethora of baggage you expect the driver to fit into their car. If you packed your bag to the 50 lb. max or have fragile items, take responsibility and help the driver load your items into the trunk. They might stop you and volunteer to load the bags. If you have fragile items, handle them yourself.
7) Tip Your Driver (and report the bad ones)
Of all the Ubers I’ve taken, I’ve tipped almost every driver. That is, except for the one who tried to screw us in Las Vegas by taking a longer route to get a higher fare and hoped we didn’t notice. Long story short, we did and reported his A$$. Ride share drivers are just normal people like you and me trying to make a few extra bucks where they can.
They might be Disney cast members working on their day off. They could be actors, teachers, retirees or any other profession. Maybe driving is the only gig they have at the moment. Getting you from the airport to the hotel or from a theme park to a drug store is their only means of income. If their car is clean and they offer you a bottle of water or some pleasant conversation, why can’t you throw a few extra bucks their way? Uber makes it super easy to tip, where you can rate your ride and give a tip during the trip. I found this great, as I’d occasionally forget to tip until getting an email receipt several hours later. It’s much easier now to tell the driver when you’re getting out of the car that you’ve already tipped them in the app.
Lastly if you tell a driver you left a tip, you better have left a tip. There’s a place for people who say they’ve tipped but didn’t.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary