Most Common Uber/Lyft Driver's Questions Answered


(Bick Bhangoo) #1

Over the years, drivers have come and gone through Uber and during their journey they have asked a number of interesting questions. Some of these questions have immediate ‘Uber’ qualified answers and others can only be answered through rideshare driving experience. We collated twelve interesting questions and provided the answers. Some will be long answers, providing a comprehensive solution, others will cite Uber regulations and be short but concise. we hope this FAQ helps.

Questions:

What rules apply to securing kids in Uber cars?
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Can a driver drive in more than one state?
What are Uber acceptance rates?
Can you drive without an SSN?
What is better, driving around or parking?
What are Uber’s Cleaning Fee Requirements?
How does a driver call a rider?
What do you do when the GPS pickup location pin is not correct?
Can you drive by someone else’s car?
Can you drive a salvaged car?
What do you wear while driving for Uber?
Can my spouse drive along with me?

  1. What rules apply to securing kids in Uber cars?
    Let’s start by stating that children cannot ride in an Uber car without an accompanying adult. Having ascertained that the child is not alone and that the accompanying person is an adult or even the account holder, it is up to the driver to assure that the passengers are secured properly.

    Laws do vary from state to state, but the law is obvious, and the driver is responsible for driving only when the passengers are secured as per state regulations. One further fact to remember, Uber cars are not Taxi’s, so the laws regarding Taxi’s do not apply to you.

    In order to provide a more comprehensive answer, we decided it was prudent to provide a state by state explanation. However, while we have gleaned the relevant information here, we are not a representative of the State, and as such, you should consult your State for exact updated regulations, since they do get updated every few years. Another issue is that we do not provide here the fines that drivers will be fined by State Police if found to be in violation of the State laws, these fines vary per state and also change every now and then.

    Bottom Line : It is up to the driver to know the State requirements and demand and even secure children properly, this will alleviate any chances of being fined if and when pulled over by a State trooper or cop.

    Alabama
    The state of Alabama requires children under the age of 6 to be restrained with a federally approved car seat or booster seat. Rear-facing car seats are required until at least age 1 and at least 20 pounds. Children aged between 6 and 15 must use seatbelts.

    Alaska
    The state of Alaska requires children under the age of 4 to be restrained in an appropriate child restraint unless they are taller than 4’9" or weigh more than 65 pounds, then they must be restrained with a federally approved booster seat. Children aged 4 to eight must be restrained with a federally approved booster seat. Rear-facing car seats are required until at least age 1 and less than 20 pounds. All passengers above the age of eight must be restrained with a seatbelt.

    Arizona
    The state of Arizona requires children under the age of eight to be restrained in an appropriate federally approved child restraint unless they are taller than 4’9. Children between the age of five and eight must be restrained with a federally approved booster seat.

    Arkansas
    The state of Arkansas requires children under the age of 6 and under 60 lbs in weight to be restrained in an appropriate child car seat or booster. Rear-facing car seats are required until at least age 1 and less than 20 pounds. All passengers must be restrained with a seatbelt.

    Colorado
    The state of Colorado requires children under the age of 4 and weighing between 20 to 40 lbs be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear facing car seat. Children aged 4 to eight must be restrained with a federally approved car seat or booster seat. All passengers under the age of 16 must be restrained with a seatbelt.

    Delaware
    The state of Delaware requires children under the age of 7 or under 65 lbs be restrained in an appropriate child car seat or booster seat. Children between 8 and 15 years of age must be secured with a seatbelt. Children under the age of 12 or under 65 inches tall can only sit in the rear seat.

    Georgia
    The state of Georgia requires children under the age of 8 to be restrained in an appropriate child car seat or booster seat. Any child smaller than 57 inches must ride in the back seat of the car.

    Hawaii
    The state of Hawaii requires children under the age of 4 be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. Children aged 4 to seven must be restrained with a federally approved car seat or booster seat.

    Indiana
    The state of Indiana requires children under the age of 8 be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. Rear-facing car seats are required until at least age 1 and less than 20 pounds. Children aged 8 to 16 must be secured with a seatbelt.

    Iowa
    The state of Iowa requires children under the age of 6 be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. Rear-facing car seats are required until at least age 1 and less than 20 pounds. Children aged 6 to 18 must be secured with a seatbelt.

    Louisiana
    The state of Louisiana requires children from one to four years and weighing between 20 to 40 lbs be secured in a forward-facing car seat. Children between four to six and weighing 40 to 60 lbs must be secured in a booster seat. Children over the age of six and 60 lbs must use a car seatbelt. Rear-facing car seats are required until at least age 1 and less than 20 pounds.

    Maine
    The state of Maine requires children weighing under 40 lbs be secured in a secured car seat. Children under the age of 8 and weighing under 80 lbs must be secured in an approved car seat or booster seat. All passengers under age 18 must wear seatbelts. All children under 12 or under 100 lbs have to sit in the rear seat only.

    Massachusetts
    The state of Massachusetts requires children under 8 years old, and less than 57 inches be secured in a federally approved car seat or booster seat. Children over the age of 8 and over 57 inches tall must be secured with a seatbelt.

    Michigan
    The state of Michigan requires children under the age of 4 be restrained in the rear of the car. If there is no room in the rear due to full occupancy by other children, then the child may ride in the front so long as he/she is secured in the car seat. Any child in a rear-facing car seat can be in the front if the airbag is deactivated. All kids between the ages 4 to 8 must be secured in a federally approved car seat or booster seat. If the child is above 4.9 feet in height can be secured with a seatbelt. All passengers between 8 and 16 years old must be secured with a seatbelt.

    Minnesota
    The state of Minnesota requires children under the age of 7 and under 4.9 feet be secured in an appropriate approved car seat or booster seat. Rear-facing car seats are required until at least age 1 and less than 20 pounds. All kids under the age of 13 must be restrained in the rear of the car only.

    Mississippi
    The state of Mississippi requires children under the age of 4 be restrained in an appropriate child car seat. Children aged 4 to seven must be restrained with a federally approved car seat or booster seat. They do not mind where the child sits in the car, so long as they are restrained securely.

    Missouri
    The state of Missouri requires children under the age of 4 and under 40 lbs be restrained in an approved child car seat. All children between the ages 4 to 7 and weigh more than 40 lbs but less than 80 lbs and at least 4.9 feet in height, must be secured in a federally approved car seat or booster seat. All passengers between 8 and 18 years old must be secured with a seatbelt.

    Nebraska
    The state of Nebraska requires children under the age of 6 be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. Children aged 6 to 18 must be secured with a seatbelt. The driver and front seated passenger must wear seatbelts too.

    Nevada
    The state of Nevada requires children under the age of 6 and under 60 lbs be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. All other passengers, with no regard to age, must be secured by a seatbelt.

    New Mexico
    The state of New Mexico requires children under the age of 18 be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. Rear-facing car seats are required for all babies until one year old. Children aged under 7 and weighing less than 60 lbs must be secured in an approved child safety seat and children aged 7 to 12 years old must be secured with a seatbelt or an approved booster.

    New York
    The state of New York requires children under the age of 8 be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. Children under four years old must be secured with both a child seat and a seat belt or latch system. All passengers under the age of 16 must wear a seatbelt.

    North Carolina
    The state of North Carolina requires children under the age of 8 and under 80 lbs be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. All passengers aged 8 and above, or over 80 lbs can be secured with a seatbelt only. All other passengers under the age of 16 must be secured by a seatbelt.

    Ohio
    The state of Ohio requires children under the age of 4 and under 40 lbs be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. Children between 4 and 7 years old and under 4.9 feet must ride in an approved booster. All other passengers under the age of 15 must wear a seatbelt.

    Oregon
    The state of Oregon requires children under 40 lbs be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. Infants under 20 lbs or up to one years old must be secured in a rear-facing car seat, and all children under 4.9 feet and under 8 years old must be secured in a booster seat. All passengers and the driver are required to wear a seatbelt.

    Pennsylvania
    The state of Pennsylvania requires children under the age of 4 be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. Children between 4 and 8 years old must ride in an approved booster. All other passengers under the age of 18 must wear a seatbelt.

    Rhode Island
    The state of Rhode Island requires children under the age of 8 and weigh less than 80 lbs and are less than 57 inches in height, be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. All other passengers over the age of 8 must wear a seatbelt unless they are too small in stature and then they must be secured in a booster seat.

    South Dakota
    The state of South Dakota requires children under the age of 5 and weighing under 40 lbs be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. All other passengers under the age of 17 must wear a seatbelt.

    Tennessee
    The state of Tennessee requires all children under 20 lbs and one year of age be secured in a rear-facing child seat. Children under the age of 4 are restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. Children between 4 and 8 years old and under 4’9"must ride in an approved booster. All other passengers under the age of 16 must wear a seatbelt.

    Texas
    The state of Texas requires children under the age of 8 and under 4’9" be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. All other passengers under the age of 17 must wear a seatbelt.

    Washington
    The state of Washington requires children under the age of 8 and under 4’9" be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. All children under 20 lbs and one year of age be secured in a rear-facing child seat. Children 8 years old and over and are taller than 4’9" must wear a seatbelt. All children under the age of 13 must be secured with either a booster seat or seatbelt the rear seat of the car; this is called the Anton Skeen Law.

    West Virginia
    The state of West Virginia requires children under the age of 8 and under 4’9" be restrained in an appropriate child forward or rear-facing car seat or booster seat. All children over 4’9" must wear a seatbelt.

  2. Can a driver drive in more than one state?
    Generally, No.

    However, there are exceptions to the rule, and the answer is split into two parts:

  3. If you want to drive in another State as well as your current State, then the answer is NO. Uber drivers are accepted to drive in one State only. You can drive anywhere in your State, and you can drop passengers off in another State.

  4. If you live on the border of a State, then Uber will designate which State you can drive in, they will also allow you to accept passengers close to you in the State you are bordered with. However, as a general rule, for all drivers that do not live on the border between two states, you cannot pick up a passenger in another State after dropping off one from your State. For instance, if you are an Uber driver in Bristol Virginia, you are living in a city split between the State of Tennessee and the State of Virginia. Uber will allocate you to the State of residence but will allow you to pick-up passengers in the half of Bristol that is in Tennessee.

  5. What are Uber acceptance rates?
    According to Ubers official help page https://help.uber.com/h/b6da86a4-2938-497c-a4fd-fd6f386aeefa

    A driver’s acceptance rate is the number of ride requests a driver has accepted during a working shift online, divided by the number of requests that were received while you were online. If a rider cancels a trip, it is not included in the calculation. Uber suggest that riders wishing for some time out, do not cancel or not accept trips but change their app status to offline. This will not affect your acceptance rate.

    One driver posted that he used to reject low rated passengers until he received a message from Uber stating that he was identified as having a low acceptance rate and that Uber sends a request to drivers that are closest to the customer requesting the ride. Uber relies on good ETA’s and requires drivers to go offline when not ready to accept rides.

    This was Uber’s nice way of saying, watch it, you are close to being deactivated.

  6. Can you drive without an SSN?
    For those unfamiliar with the term SSN, this stands for Social Security Number, and in the US, it is a nine-digit number given to citizens as well as some temporary and permanent residents to help track their income as well as evaluate their entitlements to benefits.

    In regard to actually driving without one, sure you can, if you don’t work as a driver for a living. However, as an Uber driver, you cannot work without one. The IRS demands an SSN for the 1099 tax forms, and you are required to have one for filing all your accountancy.

    Bottom line : No, you cannot drive for Uber without an SSN since it is part of your Independent Driving Contract that you sign.

  7. What is better, driving around or parking?
    This is a subjective question, and there are no rules regarding this as far as Uber is concerned. So, in order to answer this question, we asked a few drivers what they did and here were their replies.

    The first rule of thumb is the cost of gas and car wear and tear. Unless you are driving to a possible surge area, it is best to just park the car in a place that you know has some action,unless you are seeking a bit of quiet. If you want to wait in a queue but to be sure you will get a ride, go to an airport.

    One driver living in Pasadena said that she goes downtown after dropping off her kids at school, starts the day at Starbucks and sits with her morning coffee with the app off. After completing her coffee, she turns the app on but stays in the same place until she gets a ding. Between rides, if she has not received a request after dropping off a passenger, will drive to the nearest poor area in town, where she knows many drivers prefer to steer clear and then parks, waiting for the ding.

    Another driver from Houston states that he has a guitar in his trunk and prefers to practice and play it when waiting for a request. He states that “trolling” around is a waste of gas and not worth the hassle. On other occasions, he and many other drivers like to use an iPad for reading, writing, gaming and general internet surfing.

    One Nashville driver likes to park near the airport and finds a cool place to chill out. The app is always on, so if he is not in the car when it dings he can hear it and drive off asap. Sometimes he sits in the car with the aircon on and watches a movie, other times he sits in a Starbucks and relaxes. He also stated that on occasions on Saturday nights there could also be downtimes, but he does park near the bars and local watering holes where he knows many inebriated customers will emerge eventually.

    One Boston driver states that she knows where the action is at all times, so she can decide to park in a quiet area or drive to an area she will be dinged.

    An UberBlack driver in Hollywood parks out by Echo Park. He fills up the car with gas and chills and explains that finding an area to park in LA is hard since there are so many parking restricted areas.

    A driver in NYC usually drops a customer off and then drives one block down and parks, this doesn’t creep out the last customer and usually arranges for an immediate request.

    An UberX driver in Pasadena claims to park near the hotels or at the airport when he wants to hang about; he starts his day at 8:30am.

    Conclusions : Most (over 95%) of drivers claim to park rather than drive around. They know where the action is found, and what times to expect surges. Most experienced drivers know their daily routines so well that they plan their day’s activities based on the expected workload. In the long run, it is cheaper to park than drive, and if you are fluent in your workload statistics, you will make enough money every day by parking in areas where you are sure to get a ride.

  8. What are Uber’s Cleaning Fee Requirements?
    The issue of cleaning fees has come up many times due to fake fees being debited from unsuspecting customers. Uber has created two help pages on this issue, the first describes what cleaning fees are and the second details cleaning fee prices. The cleaning fees are set per state, so you should check your cities cleaning fees online. I have direct copy quoted the page so that no interpretation will misconstrue the actual content.

    Cleaning fees are described in Ubers help page for Houston, TX: https://help.uber.com/h/21dcbcf7-8fe0-4dd0-a906-06a0a427dc34

In order for riders to enjoy safe, comfortable rides, drivers work hard to maintain clean vehicles.

Riders are responsible for damage to the interior or exterior of a vehicle caused by incidents such as vomiting or food spills.

Cleaning fees are assessed and charged according to the extent of the damage.

Cleaning fees are based on nationwide industry averages for professional cleaning. These fees are paid in full to the vehicle's driver.

In the event you are charged a cleaning fee, you will receive an updated trip receipt. To dispute a cleaning fee, please navigate to Trip Issues and Refunds > I want a refund > I was charged a cleaning fee.

I was charged a cleaning fee as detailed on Ubers help page for Los Angeles, CA: https://help.uber.com/h/bac13fdc-f4a3-4780-9955-4f32f076a81a

In order for riders to enjoy safe, comfortable rides, drivers maintain clean vehicles.

Riders are responsible for damage to the interior or exterior of a vehicle caused by incidents such as vomiting or food spills.

Cleaning fees are assessed and charged according to the extent of the damage. There are 4 levels of severity. From low to high:

  1. The damage that requires vacuuming or simple cleaning (e.g., small messes, food or drink or other liquid spills) is charged $20. Some liquid spills, such as a pool or sea water, may be charged up to $50.
  2. Vomit or spills on the exterior of a vehicle are charged $40.
  3. Vomit and larger food or beverage spills on fabric or other hard-to-clean surfaces inside a vehicle typically require detailing and are charged $80.
  4. Significant amounts of bodily fluids (e.g., urine, blood, or vomit) on the vehicle's interior or messes that require cleaning between the window and door are charged $150

    Professional cleaning fees are based on nationwide industry averages. If charged to a rider, these fees are paid in full to the driver.

    In the event you are charged a cleaning fee, you will receive an updated trip receipt.

    Conclusions: As one driver so succinctly stated: No Photo No Fee. You have to make sure you photograph the mess that the passenger made, preferably when they are making it or immediately after and while they are still in the car. This is OK for drunks that vomit, eaters that mess up, or any other reason that can be documented. If a passenger leaves and you only notice the mess before you take on another passenger, then photo it and send it in. If a passenger enters the car and states, there is a mess that you did not notice, well, you can't charge it to anyone, and you must not fake a request.
  1. How does a driver call a rider?
    According to Uber help page: https://www.uber.com/info/how-to-contact-your-riders/
    When a driver needs to contact a rider, they have a number of options open to them. The reasons a driver will need to call a rider are usually location issues. In most cases texting will be enough, on rare occasions, a driver might need to call a rider. Here are the ways to contact a rider:

  2. Tap the clipboard icon on the top right of the app

  3. Tap Contact

  4. Tap MESSAGE if you want to text

  5. Tap CALL if you want to talk




    As a general rule, riders are notified in-app automatically of the driver’s arrival, and some riders even watch the GPS map showing the drivers progress to their location. In some instances when a rider is uncertain that the driver knows where to wait they will contact the driver first.

    The phone numbers in the app are anonymized, both for the driver and the rider, this is part of the privacy policy that Uber adheres to strictly. The numbers shown in the app are not the real numbers, they are randomly generated and provide safety and anonymity for both parties.

    The only way you can place a call through the app is if you use the phone number (sim card) that you registered with Uber. So, don’t try to call the shown number from a separate phone, you can only use the number from the app the phone is operating from. Make sure your caller ID is not blocked, or you will not be able to call out through the app.

  6. What do you do when the GPS pickup location pin is not correct?
    First of all, the GPS pin location is the place where the rider and driver plan to meet for a successful pickup, and it is set by the customer when placing a request for a ride. So, it is not always correct. On many occasions, the rider is not at the designated pick up point, or has misplaced the pin, this could be for any number of reasons. We asked a few drivers for their input and here were the reasons as well as the driver’s actions.

    One driver stated that the first rule of engagement is that both parties be at the designated point at the same time. “There are no excuses,” he said, the rider can see where the driver is on the rider app map and the driver can only see the pin location of the customer. On some occasions, when he knows the location is a commercial pickup and not a residential one, or if it is downtown, he will text the customer to be sure that both agree and understand the pickup location since parking is an issue. When picking up from a commercial center, where there is a lot of parking or even a mall, then he also makes sure that the rider knows which gate or are they have designated as the pickup point. If the rider is not at the designated point, he contacts them and gives them five minutes to arrive, if the rider does not come after five minutes, claiming a further delay he offers them to wait but starts the ride in the app charging the waiting time, or he cancels the ride. He stated, "I give my customer the decision to pay for my waiting or not if Tax’s get paid for waiting, so should I."

    Another driver was more militant in his approach and stated that when he arrives at the destination, if the customer is not there, he knows they have received his notification, since he texts “Uber is Here” and then waits five minutes, if the customer has not arrived, he presses cancel as a no-show and drivers off. He claims that even if they reply they are coming in two minutes, “if they don’t show up after five or six minutes, I cancel.” The pay for waiting is not worth the time spent on waiting, if Uber would pay for waiting time properly, then I would wait. In cases of short trips that are only around $3, it’s not worth my tie to wait."

    One other driver stated that on a few occasions, the customer gets the location point wring, it is an oversight or an honest mistake and they place the pin or set the address incorrectly, and you end up driving to a totally different location to where they actually are. Usually the rider realizes this first and its up to the driver to cancel the ride due to a no-show or agree to drive to the passenger’s real location, but in this case, the driver can suggest to the rider that they will start the fare from the point they are at which will be added to the overall charge when they pick up the passengers. It’s up to the passenger to decide if this is OK. It is important to state that the driver must cancel the ride as a no-show to get the cancellation fee.

    Bottom Line ; There is only one rule, in case of the correct location and no rider showing up, the driver should text the rider once, then wait five minutes before canceling as a no-show. If the passenger asks the driver to wait, it is up to the driver to decide if he waits or not.

  7. Can you drive by someone else’s car?
    Yes.

    An Uber driver can drive another person’s car so long as it meets the requirement set by Uber. Drivers must have insurance coverage for driving the car, as well as authorization to drive it. When applying to Uber, you can bring a car that you don’t own, as the vehicle you choose to drive. Also, if your car is not available due to personal/family reasons or it is in maintenance, you can rent one or borrow one for use. Just make sure it’s in good working condition, clean and comfortable.

  8. Can you drive a salvaged car?
    No.

    Uber does not allow drivers to use a salvaged car in any condition. You cannot apply to drive with Uber using a salvaged car, and you cannot use a salvaged car as an alternative when your car is unavailable.

  9. What do you wear while driving for Uber?
    It depends on the Uber you are driving. In general, if you are an UberX, UberPool and other than UberBlack, UberSUV, and UberLux, you should wear clothes that are appropriate for a comfortable drive for you and your passengers. This means, being clean and wearing clean clothes even if it’s only a T-shirt and jeans. If you live in a hot climate, you can sometimes wear Bermuda’s and t-shirts, in the cold its best to dress up warm. If you service business people its best to wear plain clothes but not jeans, as well as wearing a shirt (you don’t need a tie). If you are an UberBlack, SUV or Lux driver, you want to wear a suit and tie, preferably a dark suit. If you drive a fancy sports car you can opt for sport elegant, no one expects a Lamborghini driver to wear a suit, but a black Mercedes Benz should be driven by an appropriately clad Limo driver attire.

    Definitely, do not wear old clothes or unwashed clothes, you do not want to generate BO, and if you smoke, try not to wear smoke infused clothes, the smell can be sickening to some.

  10. Can my spouse drive along with me?
    No.

    One of Uber’s main rules is that the driver is alone in the car. The passengers have a right to a personal ride with no other passengers in the car. So, drivers cannot have an accompanying person, neither a spouse, a child or a friend. Of all the drivers I spoke to regarding their understanding of this rule, there was only one occasion when a driver had been asked to supply a bodyguard for the UberBlack ride, and then he brought a friend that dressed like men-in-black (MIB), it was a hoot, and the customer was very happy. It wasn’t really for security; it was a rider that needed to impress a business meeting, so the driver put on a really good show and got a $50 tip for doing so.


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