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.