Home Ground Transportation (Bus, Lyft, Subway, Taxi, Train, Uber, etc.) Biggest Problem For Ride-Share Drivers In New Orleans

Biggest Problem For Ride-Share Drivers In New Orleans

by joeheg

Before our trip to New Orleans, it had been over a year since I’ve used either Uber or Lyft. At first, we weren’t traveling much and then we were taking road trips and had a car.

While we drove to New Orleans, we were staying outside the French Quarter in an Airbnb and sometimes it was more convenient to get a ride to dinner than worrying about finding a parking spot. As we were walking around one evening, I forgot the number of drunk people that stumble around Bourbon St. This was on a random Wednesday night in November and it must be a huge hassle for ride-share drivers to take all of the drunks home at the end of the night. How often does a driver have to clean up after a passenger had a “mishap” in the back of the car?

I mentioned this to my friend who lives in NO and he said that drunks making a mess in the back of the car isn’t the biggest problem. Drunks usually let the driver know to pull over and let them out of the car to take care of business. Nobody wants to pay the fee if you vomit in the car.

The bigger problem for drivers is passengers passing out. Since you enter your destination and pay for the ride ahead of time, the driver will take you there, passed out or not. If you’re going to a fancy hotel in the French Quarter, they’ll drop you off with the doorman. But what if you’re at a house or condo? What’s a driver to do?

I found a message board where drivers shared their methods to wake up passengers who passed out in the back seat:

  • It happens pretty often.  I just turn on the lights, turn OFF the radio so it gets really quite and wait a second – surprisingly this often awakens them.  If not, then I talk to them loudly.  I did have a lady that had been literally passed out the entire trip (30 minutes) and I went to the door of the home and asked the lady that answered to help me – which after explaining she did.  And she was SO mad that her friend was in “this condition” and was angry with me – and I told her “please don’t shoot the messenger – I’m just an Uber driver that her friends called to get her a ride home so she wouldn’t drive”….  she was okay after that.
  • Usually you can use the brakes to give the car a few good jerks which will wake them up.  Other things I’ve tried are yelling in their ear, cranking up the radio, flicking the lights on and off. Failing all that, a trip to the police station.
  • Problem, Really happened to me, I am a male & passenger female, drunk & passed out, couldn’t nudge her or she could complain about abuse, when we got to the destination she wobbled around the back of the apartment complex. After drop off thought I should call cops, cause maybe she fell asleep outdoor.
  • I have had drunks pass out in my car many a times.  The concept is easy.  You just wake them up once at the destination, and hope they won’t swing their arm in surprise. The game was a lot tougher when I used to drive cabs around.
  • Hahaha, it happens all the time,my friend.  Like ALL the time.  It’s perfectly normal.  In fact, as a driver, I appreciate that you trust our driving and believing in us getting you home safe.  That’s actually a great satisfying part of our jobs.
  • You don’t have to be afraid of falling asleep.  Falling asleep on a train is one thing.  You can miss your stop.  With an Uber, we will gently wake you once we are at the destination.
  • This is a common occurrence, and is a normal part of the weekend for an Uber driver. If you work Friday nights or Saturday nights,  you are pretty much guaranteed to hit a few of these.
  • More people fall asleep in cabs than you think. On long rides at the end of the day, I feel like I have people nodding off half the time. (and I get it. People are tired from the day, and it’s one place they can relax.)  Most people would wake up when getting to the destination.
  • The rule of thumb for those who do not wake up, is to take them to the nearest police station.  This has only happened to me twice.  Once the dude woke up on the way to the police station, so I had to turn around again.  The other, the police officer came out, made sure the passenger didn’t need medical attention, and told me I could leave. (which was nice because I was afraid he’d make me drive the dude back to his house.)
  • I will turn the lights on in the car and say loudly “excuse me, we are here”. Only once has the person not woken up when I have done this, in that case I tried to wake them by yelling “excuse me” once more and finally I reached back and prodded him a little bit. He was so drunk though, this doesn’t really happen often.
  • I had one pass out but her friend was with her she got her up. Unfortunately as she gets her out of car the drunk one falls in middle of street. Its pouring out and friend cant get her up. So reluctantly ( knew i was going to get soaked and had 3 hrs until I finished shift)I get out of my car help her get friend up walk her up steps to front door when I hear a dog barking. That was my cue to get out of there. Dog bite not included in fare although neither was picking drunk friend up out of street in pouring rain. I thought that ride was definately tip worthy. Apparently neither rider thought so. I guess not only do you drive passenger to destination safely you pick fallen down drunk rider out of the middle of the street in the pouring down rain and get them safely to front door dripping wet all for the low price of 14.49 and no thank you from either passenger. Dog bite almost included.

This isn’t a problem isolated to New Orleans. I’m sure that it just happens there a little more often because getting drunk on Bourbon St. is one of the reasons why people travel to the city.

I guess the lesson is to try not to pass out in the back seat of an Uber or Lyft, because if you do and the driver can’t wake you up, there’s a chance you’ll wake up at the police station.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

Cover Photo Lars Plougmann from United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1 comment

John December 9, 2021 - 1:12 pm

Ha! Thanks for the mention!.


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