5 Ways To Get Great Passenger Ratings On Uber

I’ve now completed just under 400 rides as a driver for Uber. I know what makes a good passenger and what makes a bad one. Here’s my top 5 trips to help you keep getting the 5 stars and make a driver happy.

1. Clarify The Pick Up Details

When you call Uber you put in your address. The driver then arrives X amount of minutes later. Easy right? Usually but not always. Sometimes your driver will need further instructions. Fortunately the Uber app allows you to text or call your driver before they arrive. Use this feature!

Do you have a gated community or apartment complex? If so, either text the driver a message that you will meet him/her at the gate OR text them the gate number. There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving at the gate and trying to contact a passenger who knew there was a gate and never told you. Did I say nothing more frustrating?

Did I say nothing more frustrating? Perhaps there’s one more thing.

Arriving at a gate and discovering it’s an exit and not an entrance. As a passenger you can prevent this. If there are multiple gates, you know this. The driver doesn’t. Sent him a text or give him a call and tell him how to reach the correct entrance. GPS has come a long long way but it’s not always right. Likwise, if you’re in an apartment complex and you have a block number or you’re not going to meet the driver at the front entrance then let the driver know what the number is and how to get there. Remember, the driver may have never entered that community before.

2. If You Want To Talk, Jump In The Front

Conversely, if you don’t want to talk don’t sit in the front of your Uber car. This isn’t to say that some people who sit in the back don’t want to talk, but sitting in the front signals from the beginning that you want to engage in conversation. Unless you’re like the Cameroonian I picked up who sat in the front because they wanted to use the jack to play music from their iphone. He then proceeded to play the same song on repeat 5 times in a row while waving his fingers back and forth in the shape of a peace sign. He didn’t get 5 stars.

3. Remember Your Manners.

An Uber driver has invited you into their personal car. It’s okay to take phone calls, particularly if you’re working. On the other hand, don’t be like the one passenger I had who talked for 45 minutes and spent the entire time on the phone call using words I can’t repeat. She never gained 5 stars either. It doesn’t take more than 2 seconds to quickly say, as many passengers have to me, “I’m sorry, I’m going to be on the phone a while.” Those who told me that also never spent the call cussing out the person on the other end of the line.

4. Don’t Jump On Every Mistake

Of my nearly 400 drives I’ve received two 1 star ratings as a driver. Less than 1% of all journeys. I am quite certain who they are from, although both of these people made it in time to their destination and in one piece. I’ve never had an accident, I don’t speed and I don’t yell at passengers who show up five minutes late. The passenger should expect no less. Why then is it okay to yell at a driver who due to road works misses one turn, or who is late to your internal time table because you called for an Uber too late to reach the airport in time for your flight. It isn’t.

If you think there’s a quicker way than the GPS is taking you then let the driver know. I guarantee they’ll follow your lead and not that of the GPS. Just remember, you’re then responsible for any mistakes that follow. Drivers aren’t perfect and the last thing they need is someone yelling because you think they’re ‘late’ to pick up. Equally as bad are frustrated sighs when road works prevent a turn etc. The driver already knows that’s a problem and he/she is working on a solution. Why not be part of the solution and not part of the problem?

5. Share Your Stories

Uber offers the rare opportunity to meet someone you may never see again. It’s a great chance to interact with people from a different walk of life and potentially a different culture. I can’t count how many Nigerians, Canadians, French, Ghanaian, Mexican and Chicagoans I’ve given rides to. I’ve asked questions of every one, shared a little of my own story and listened to them if they’ve been willing to share. Two people having great conversation leads to great connection. Great connection means 5 stars. You don’t do it for the rating of course, but it’s a small side benefit. The biggest benefit is the enriching of your soul.

A Response To The accusation Uber Made Money Off The London Terrorist Attack

Twitter seems full of the accusation that Uber deliberately made money off the London terror attack. There have been many fair accusations leveled at Uber over the years. This one is not one of them. I am an Uber driver in Dallas Fort Worth and having read their response and the accusation details I think it’s false and I want to explain why.

Uber has an algorithm that determines the prices people pay for a ride. The more people there are for each active Uber driver in an area the higher the pricing is. This does 2 things:

1: It encourages drivers nearby to move to the area and provide rides.

2: It encourages passengers to wait a few minutes or walk a few blocks for a lower fee.

This is automatic. This is crucial to understand. When a terrorist attack immediately occurs Uber has no way of knowing that it happened. News begins to go out over twitter, websites and Facebook. It takes a few minutes. During that time there is a surplus, or surge, of people requesting Uber rides as they are attempting to quickly leave an area they consider dangerous. Uber does not know that there has been an attack in such cases. All its algorithm detects is a surge of requests. There is no man at a switch saying, “Okay, this area let’s increase prices now.” It’s all computed and for the most part it works to meet its desired end.

Obviously, in the case of a terror attack things are different. Uber catches flack because of the surge prices, but it can’t control that pricing in the moment because it doesn’t know what’s going on. What matters most is what they do ONCE they know what is going on.

Metro news posted a story this morning that shows Uber responded correctly and is reimbursing everyone who paid for a ride in the wake of London’s terror attack. They also turned off the surge pricing as soon as they knew what was going on.

It’s impossible for an algorithm to detect a terrorist attack.

What’s more the same article goes on to explain that Uber sent messages to its drivers to ask them to help people get home. Despite the anger, all in all what has Uber actually done?

Firstly they sent drivers to the area to help out.

Secondly they have now made sure no one paid for any rides they took.

The fact they had to do so retroactively is due to their algorithm and the way Uber usually works. I do not fault them for this. I don’t see a way for an algorithm to solve this.

#PeopleOfDFW Enriqua

Enriqua is a hispanic lady born in California several decades ago. She’s had 4 children and her eldest child works late at night. They have one car between them so she usually waits for her eldest to finish work before they go and complete their weekly shopping and other errands.

Unfortunately the time of night that they go shopping means there are often drunk drivers about. Enriqua has been involved in 3 accidents with drunk drivers. They have run red lights, turned awkwardly on the road and hurt her family many times. Her son Antonio was left brain damaged from one wreck and died 6 years ago. She misses him every day.

Enriqua is currently on social security disability due a drunk driver running a red light. Her back causes her a great deal of pain and she moves visibly slower than you would expect her to. For these reasons she is horrified at the thought of marijuana being legalised; believing it is yet another substance people might use before driving. One that could cause even more accidents.

As we talk the conversation turns to politics. Her first ever vote was for Ronald Reagen in the 80’s. She believed he offered hope and inspiration. Since then she has never voted, this includes not voting for Trump or Hillary. Although she never voted it does not  prevent her from voicing discontent with President Trump. She believes he does not like people from Mexico and she worries about families being split up due to his executive orders.

I drop her off at the social security building and wish her the best. Some people I talk to fill me with hope and inspiration. Others have stories like Enriqua’s, that leave me wondering what I can do to help end horrors like drunk driving.