“Taxi” and “cab” have been replaced by “Uber” and “Lyft” in our popular lexicon. The services are so widespread now that you can hail a ride from nearly anywhere – even outside of large cities. Whether you are a new or experienced rider or driver, these tips will help you keep your rating high and stay safe.
Tips for Riders
Leave a Tip
If the driver accepts tips and you had a nice ride or accepted a snack, bottle of water or other courtesy, tipping is appropriate. It doesn’t have to be much—most riders will appreciate any sort of tip, even as little as $1.
If you need the air turned up or want to listen to music, ask. Many Uber and Lyft drivers will be more than happy to accommodate you. This is a job for them, and you are their customer. In order to keep their rating high, they want to make you happy. Some drivers even keep snacks and Tylenol in their cars, for emergencies.
If you can help it, don’t request a ride if there is any chance you will cancel. When you do, the driver loses money. They may receive minimal compensation from Uber or Lyft, but if it happens often enough it can become a serious problem for them.
Have a Specific Pick Up Spot
If you want to be picked up at a place with more than one exit, make sure you describe the exit you will be at accurately so you can save you and your driver time. If the place you are in is very crowded, consider using a different exit or the next street over, if possible.
Verify Your Driver
Always match up the details provided on your gadget of choice to the driver and their vehicle. If anything doesn’t match up—refuse the ride. Only the information provided has been verified, there should be no vehicle or driver substitutes and there have been cases of people posing as Uber drivers. Further, unless it’s a tip, never pay in cash even if you are asked to.
If you didn’t have any trouble, rate 5 stars. Anything less than that will bring a driver’s score down, and if they get less than an average of 4.6 stars they may be removed from the system and out of a job. This goes for both Uber and Lyft.
Keep it Clean
Uber is not a makeout booth or a place to leave your fast food trash. Honestly, eating in a rideshare vehicle is frowned upon unless you ask first. You can be friendly and make yourself comfortable, but take your trash with you and be respectful of your driver.
Tips for Drivers
Have the Right Equipment
Be prepared. Things every Uber or Lyft driver needs include a record book, snacks or bottled water, extra charger for any of your gadgets (or your customers’), clean blanket or towel for sick passengers or service animals, vomit bags, and disinfecting wipes.
There are a few other things Uber or Lyft drivers should have, but those are the basics.
If you are able, open the trunk and help your riders with their luggage. Open the door for them. Do what you can to make them feel comfortable and welcome.
Ask your customers if they want to listen to the radio, change the temperature, have a snack, or anything else you can offer. Some people are too shy too or wouldn’t think to ask. The more amenities you can offer, the higher your rating.
Know the area you are driving in. Where can you park for free during downtime? Public restrooms in the case of an emergency? Get to know the other drivers in the area and take a few rides with them.
Check Your Insurance
Yes, Uber and Lyft do cover some things but not all. Always check with your car insurance company about your coverage options when it comes to your time working as a rideshare driver. Some companies offer specific plans for Uber and Lyft drivers. You may need additional coverage to be on the safe side.
If you offer rides often enough, your rideshare service will qualify you as a small business. As a small business, you will be able to take several types of maintenance, promotional, and mileage tax deductions. Keep accurate records to make sure you get the most out of these benefits.
Use Your Downtime
On many days you will have some time between rides. Make the most of it. Bring a book, knitting, learn a new language, or listen to podcasts. Whatever you do, make the most of your in-between time.
Clearly the way of being “taxied” around town has changed drastically. Ride share is becoming an amenity from small towns to large cities, and the more you mind your manners, the more you can benefit from all it has to offer—from both a driver and a passenger position.