Uber/Lyft Driving Tips from a 5 Star Experienced Driver

This article was compounded from a discussion with a five-star rated experienced Uber driver, which is pretty rare to find these days. This driver works in Boston, and his experience has taught him a few tricks. We are going to list the tips he has to offer, and we suggest that all you Uber drivers read them and relate to them. If you are new to Uber, then you want to follow this guy's advice.

Things to bring with you on a ride.

  1. I have a Volkswagen Jetta TDI with leather seats, so it's a basic UberX car, if you don't have leather upholstery, go out and buy leather seat covers, they help with cleaning issues. You need to be conscious of your car interior, because cleaning fabrics are hard, and you will always have an after-cleaning stain, which eventually makes the interior look gross.

  2. I bought a multi-headed car charger with USB port; this is so important for handling all the different devices that passengers bring with them. The one I bought was from Amazon, and it doesn’t have connectors for Samsung devices which is OK but can be a letdown to some passengers, so I suggest you buy one which connects to all types or buys a couple that covers all the angles. Passengers relate well to the consideration which leads to a better rating.

  3. Barf Bags is a must; you have to buy barf bags, even if you don’t think you will get a drunk passenger, you might get a car sick one. So, it’s better to be prepared and have them in the back, easy to reach for the passenger. Cleaning up vomit is as bad as it gets and while it might not stain the seats, it is gross to deal with. This really helped me out once, when I had a lady from a bar come into the car at night, and she was looking all queasy, so I told her there were vomit bags in the back, she took on and threw up immediately, which saved her and me a lot of hassle, and she was really grateful too.

    If someone does vomit in your car before you start to clean up, take a photo of the mess. You need proof for Uber to pay the cleaning bill.

  4. I keep napkins in my glove compartment, and it's important to have them there all the time. They are great for the sniffles, not just your own, but for passengers. It's no nice thing having a passenger with a cold come in sneezing all over the place and then rubbing their nose first and then their hands all over the place. Gross, so I always offer napkins or tissues to the passenger when the sit-down, before I start to drive off.

  5. I have an aux cord since music can be an issue. I keep one channel on my radio; it’s usually the underground hip-hop station which covers most bases. I also have an aux cable, so if I get a passenger that wants their music, I let them jack it in. I control the volume, so issues with volume are sorted out before they start to play their music for safety reasons. Sometimes I play to their voices and ask if they want me to DJ too, which usually gets a laugh.

  6. I also have an Uber light signal, which I always attach to my windshield for every drive. It works even better at night obviously. It does help to attract new customers since you do get people coming up to you asking what it’s like to be an Uber driver, or if you are their Uber driver. I usually give them my card, which is just my name and my Uber referral code and ask them to use that to sign up to Uber and to look out for me.

Things I don't keep in the car

  1. I don't keep any drinks in the back of the car, only because I hate the sound of them rattling around more than I consider the cost of throwing out half-full bottles. I drive a car not a bar.

  2. The drinking issue leads me to the eating issue. I don't keep candy in the car; you remember your parents telling you not to take candy from strangers? Well, guess what, I'm a stranger, I'm an Uber car driver, and I don't want to give out candy. It's weird doing that and anyway you never know what is in the candy and if the passenger can give an allergic reaction to the candies ingredients.

  3. I don't keep food either, same reason as candy but even more so, I don't want to clean up after they eat all over the place as well as the fact that I am a driver, I drive the passenger from point A to point B, I am not a food stall or dinner.

Tips about driving

  1. The first thing to remember, you are now driving total strangers, not yourself or your family. So, you should make the ride as pleasant as possible. This is done by accelerating slowly and breaking properly. No more fast driving and no more racing the traffic lights. You don't want to drive fast because you will need to breakfast, and that leads to a bumpy ride. By accelerating from a standstill slowly, you keep the passenger relaxed, the same with parking. You might get complacent after a few hundred rides, don't stop driving safely and comfortably for your passenger.

  2. Use the GPS navigation features of Waze or Google Maps, you might know the way perfectly, but sometimes shit happens, and there is an obstruction in the road that can block the route or at least slow it down. So, make sure you follow the GPS maps as you drive. You don't need to drive their way but look at the map to see if your route is free.

  3. Regarding GPS navigation, I find that asking the passenger if they have a specific route they prefer me to take relieves the tension of a concerned opinionated passenger. You might not agree with their way, don't disagree with them, point out that the GPS map shows a shorter way and which way do they prefer you take. Since it's a metered ride, either way, is good for you, but point out that the shortest route will always be cheaper than the fastest unless the traffic on the shorter route stops due to accidents or other reasons.

  4. Sometimes a passerby will try to enter the car without a ride order. It can be an issue dealing with them. At least you have the law on your side. It's a private car, so they cannot just get in like with a taxi. Having said this, it can be problematic dealing with the more physical and angry strangers.

  5. Driving to meet your target is important. You don't need to drive out of surge area's only, the idea of turning off your app and then on again when you reach a surge area doesn't' work. Just drive, pick up passengers as you drive, and keep on driving around from one passenger to the next.

  6. Know your town well, so you will know where to drive to for the best rides and at what time to get there. For instance, I get to the suburbs around 9 pm which is the time many people want to get to the bars without driving their car. Since I know, I will be downtown after I drop them offsets me up for my next pickup which will be downtown. Always try to be in a bar area when it's closing time. You will always catch a rider after closing time, and this is when the barf bags come in handy. It also leads to a lot of interesting rides, especially the one-night standers and picks up rides.

  7. I find that I choose rides based on how I would act, so I try to think in the range of 21 to 35 years old, single guys and where would they be at night. During the daytime, I think of the early morning workers, and in the afternoons, I think of the mums and their kids dashing around to different places. I plan my day the way I would if I were a passenger.

  8. Avoid sporting events, if there is one, don't get caught up in their traffic. It just isn't worth it. In Boston, Fenway Park is in the center of the city, so that always causes extreme traffic issues. Try to be elsewhere when a major sporting event is about to start, and don't be around when it's over, that can be even worse. If you have to work in that area, take into account a lot of waiting in traffic.