A lot has been written about Uber and Lyft drivers as well as about passengers, and here I sat thinking maybe there is more? After reviewing articles on this subject and comparing them to real life experience as a driver and as a passenger, I ended up writing this compendium, or bible to 5-star passengers status.
Ratings were usually left for customers to write up about services and products that they purchased. However, with the introduction of gig economies, and Airbnb to be exact, customer reviews contended with supplier reviews of their customers. Airbnb introduces this concept to prepare home owners for customers that were messy or downright criminal. This way home owners could deny a request. Uber took this concept and added it to their app, but at first, it had no real effect because Uber didn't really care what drivers thought about passengers. Is the customer always right? Well, in reality, no. Sometimes customers can be downright wrong and criminally so.
After a few years of gaining experience, Uber and Lyft realized that many customers were not worthy of their drivers attention, such as the habitual late arrival, the habitual canceller, the habitual vomiter, the violent, the abusive and the downright disgusting. Drivers took attention to this detail and did not want to suffer the same fate their co-workers underwent. So, evolved the passenger rating, and why it is important to drivers and should be important to you as a passenger too.
The Passenger Rating Factors
There are many factors that drivers look for in a passenger, and the first and foremost is that they tip $1,000 every time. (Joking), no seriously you should, it helps. In reality and being serious (which is something I work hard at trying to do). Drivers are looking for the following attributes in their passengers.
- Friendliness and respect
- Drunkenness & Throwing up
- Bringing a child without a car seat
- Long travel time to your pickup location when you're going on a short trip
- Bringing more people than are legally allowed to travel in the car
- Asking to allow underage to ride without an adult
I shouldn't really start with this one, but in reality, it is the only factor that contributes to the drivers income, so in effect, it is the most important. This is the shortcut to a 5-star rating; you can be a very messy and inebriate passenger if you tip well you get to go-to go and collect your prize. As a passenger you must tip the driver, not should, but must. The driver doesn't earn a lot of money from Uber or Lyft, that is why they are driving their own car for a living. Unless the driver is ghost rider or mad max, you must tip him either through the app or in cash. Tipping is an important part of the income equation that drivers take into account. If you tip your driver well, you will always get a 5-star rating. Yes, it is buying a rating, but so what? Uber driving is not a charity, it is a business, and it is not politics, so you have no problems with this highly ethical and moral issue. TIP YOUR DRIVER!
If there is one issue that drivers have to contend with on a daily basis its passenger promptness. Especially with pool services. However, in inner-city areas where the traffic and congestion are high, police and traffic wardens, parking officials and other such city fee scavengers exist, you need to be on time every time. Even if you are at home, don't leave your driver waiting, it doesn't matter if you end up paying for the delay, the driver has to consider his/her income per hour, and every minute delay impacts his hourly income. So, as a way to contribute to your rating, make sure you are waiting for your car and not the other way around. The only acceptable reasons that a driver will understand are:
- The weather conditions
- You are disabled
- You are coming from a sporting or other large event
- You are being released from the hospital
- You are arriving at an airport from a flight
Apart from these reasons, there is no reason why the driver should have to wait for you, so make sure you are on time.
One of the biggest issues with driving is location. GPS maps, such as Waze were developed to help drivers reach destinations with ease. So, while the passenger wants the driver to know where to go-to, the driver wants the passenger to know where to send him/her. During the ride, this is not an issue since the driver can converse with the passenger to discuss any locational issues that might arise. However, when a driver has to find a passenger the issue becomes complicated. This is why you are urged to be exact in your location or even contact the driver to tell him/her where you will be waiting. Note, I state waiting. If you are not waiting there, tell the driver to notify you when he arrives so you can meet him within a minute (no more please).
Take into account the location you are sending the driver to, make sure it is easy to get to as well as easy to get out of. You want to consider your direction of travel as well as traffic issues. Don't send a driver to a place with no parking, or if you do, make sure you are waiting for him/her. Otherwise, the driver will not be responsible for not waiting if a traffic cop comes along.
4. Friendliness and Respect
Imagine you are standing inline at the bank, or perhaps in the queue at Costco, or maybe you are just riding a taxi, and your driver, your bank clerk or your cashier uses their cell phone rather than serve you, or sneers at you, perhaps chews in your face, smells and blows the smoke at you or just acts rude. How would you feel? Now place yourself in the driver's seat and here goes:
- A passenger enters the car shouting at his mobile phone since it is on speaker.
- A passenger enters the car eating a sloppy joe
- A passenger enters the car after smoking and reeks of nicotine
- A passenger enters the car and snaps at you
- During your ride, the passenger demands loud music
- During the ride, the passenger is a backseat driver
- The passenger is rude or uses ethnic slurs
- A passenger enters a pool ride and is mean/grumpy to other passengers
There are so many more examples, if you are on that list you will never be a 5-star rated passenger, in fact, you will not even be a 3-star rated one.
We all have issues, we all have good and bad days, you have to remember that the driver also has good and bad days too and you both have feelings. If you are an inconsiderate and selfish shit, then this whole article is not for you, but if you are considerate and want to improve your ratings then consider being a model passenger and be kind and considerate to your driver. Here are the basic tips for this:
- When you enter the car, don't slam the door.
- As the driver his name and tell him yours just to make sure you are both in the right place.
- If you were late, apologize.
- Tell the driver your destination just to be sure he knows, and if you have a specific drop off requests, note them now so the driver can prepare.
- Do not eat or drink when entering the car, and any such items must be sealed.
- If you smoke, please use some kind of personal body freshener to remove the stench.
- Do not use too much cologne or perfume either.
- Please smile or at least don't be grumpy at the driver, he/she has no relation to your problems.
- Don't demand anything, ask for it nicely
- Don't be a backseat driver, if you have navigational issues, raise them with the driver but don't make it a long ride issue
- When you leave the car, if all was fine, a compliment will go a long way
Remember that when you request items, such as an aux chord, or a phone charger, some cars have, some cars don't. Try not to make it an issue and if you do have a really great driver, don't take advantage of them and ask for really loud music.
Conversation is also a careful issue, try not to lead your talk all the time. Not everyone wants to be chatty, check out how the driver is responding. You don't need to entertain the driver; you only need him/her to get you to your destination.
This is a major issue and revolves around how you sit and what your habits are when you ride. In general, drivers do not want loads of rubbish littering their backseats. So, any old paper, tissues, comics, bags, empty packages or packets and such are not to be thrown in the back seat or floor. Also, don't leave any chewing gum, baby nappies or if you pick your nose…!
The only times you are not expected to be clean are when you enter a car from bad weather conditions and rain, snow, sleet, etc. comes in, even mud on your shoes. Sometimes when picking up people from the beach, sand can be an issue, but that's not a reason to get upset.
We all enjoy a small drink now and then, and some of us overdo it too. If you intend to get drunk, make sure you have a friend with you that is not. If you get drunk due to emotional stress and have no friends, make sure you organize your night. If none of these work for you, don't expect a good rating when you piss yourself or vomit in the car.
Here are some rules for drunk riding:
- Be accompanied by a non-drunk
- Pee before you enter the car
- Don't talk, sit quietly in the back
- Try to vomit in the bag, or ask to stop to vomit
- Don't get drunk
Usually, most people can handle themselves even when drunk, but there are those occasions when you are so drunk you lose yourself completely. This happens but try not to make it happen too often. My best advice is: Go to AA if you find yourself drunk more often than not, and order and Uber or Lyft to get you there.
Remember that your driver is just another person trying to do their job. Be respectful, polite, and thankful for the service they're offering you. That should make it easy to keep up a five-star rider rating!
7. Bringing a child without a car seat
A major safety issue is children and babies. We don't expect you to bring a car seat for all your kids, but if you do decide to travel with an Uber or a Lyft and you have one child that requires a car seat, either make sure the driver has one or that you have one. If you have more than one kid that needs a seat, then you have an issue and must either request a car for families or drive yourself. Don't expect the average Uber and Lyft car to have more than one seat, and most don't have a seat at all.
8. Long travel time to your pickup location when you're going on a short trip
If you live out in the boondocks or are in a location not usually serviced by Uber and Lyft, don't call in a car for a pickup that is 30 minutes' drive, only to ask to be taken down the road. For some reason Lyft have not yet factored into their business models an algorithm that calculates long pick up distances, once they do this, then it won't be an issue. Uber recently started charging for long pick-ups, but it is still not profitable for drivers if the ride is only a mile.
9. Bringing more people than are legally allowed to travel in the car
If you order a car, make sure its in the category for the number of people you need to transport. Its not a problem to order more than one car, even more than one XL type car, but just don't expect your driver to pack in that extra passenger. Our livelihood is more important than customer satisfaction for illegal actions. Overloading a car is illegal.
10. Asking to allow underage to ride without an adult
One of the biggest problems drivers face on a daily basis is underage kids that are close to 18 but not just there yet. The even bigger issue is handling parents that think they can order an unaccompanied ride for their kids. The really good drivers are torn between arguing with parents and getting a bad rating for not taking the kids and those that take a chance. The reason that underage kids must be accompanied are many and amongst them include safety, security, and insurance. As a parent do you really want to give your underage kids to someone you don't know? If you do try to pull this stunt, don't expect a good rating from the driver.