Rideshare: Professional Courtesy

driving at night
Pink Sherbet Photography cc 2013 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

Rideshare is an easy gig. Drive when you want. Few rules. Make money. People love what you do.

But there are challenges. Usually, it involves that all-important moment when you pick up the passenger.

I do have a tendency to get annoyed when someone calls me while I’m either dropping someone off or en route to their pickup. It’s not that you don’t have a right to call the driver. However, I can’t see my GPS when you call. Phones take over screens, and I would have to balance minimizing the phone with keeping my car from occupying the same space as another car. Tends to lower your rating and raise your insurance rates.

That said, the usual reason someone calls is communication. Why are you taking so long? (I have a passenger or I just got your booking. If the pickup is a bit rude, I cancel the ride on him or her. It’s happened 3 times in over 1000 rides, so not much of a problem.) My pickup point is tricky. (And I most definitely thank you for that info.) Can I add a pickup? (I point them back to their own app or wait until they’re in the car.)

Communication is the big thing with passengers. They’re paying a perfect stranger to let them into their car and trusting them to get to where they want to go. So there are things driver’s can do to make the passenger’s ride go more smoothly…

1.) Both Uber and Lyft provide voice-to-text in app. Push a couple of buttons and use the mic option. Use it judiciously. The apps can respond with a Siri-like voice. Since I went to a windshield mount, I’ve really made good use of this feature.

2.) At least in Uber’s app, there is a series of canned messages: “I have arrived,” “Okay, I got it” (Responding to a passenger’s text), “Stuck in traffic.” Use them. It’s a lot easier for me to roll up on a pickup point and essentially push a button than to fiddle with getting the mic up and trying to hit send. And you’re getting your passenger’s attention.

3.) If you have to cancel or are stuck in traffic, text or call. Texting has canned messages, and Uber and Lyft let you call within the app. Uber even let’s you use their system to make calls to save on possible voice minutes. (I’m on a data-pays-for-voice plan, so this hasn’t been an issue.) But let the passenger know.

4.) Millennials, sit down. I’m going to have to explain this one to you slowly. When you don’t know where your passenger actually is (GPS is not the most accurate mapping system, especially Uber’s), call them. Yes, you’re allowed to talk on the phone.

5.) If you have to cancel, explain why. Car trouble. Can’t get to the passenger. (St. Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest in Cincinnati are particularly bad for this.) In one case, I had to run my stepson to the emergency room as I was on my way. I pulled over and text the passenger before cancelling.

6.) Don’t abuse the texting feature. Texting and driving is bad, almost as bad as the drunk driving we’re out there trying to prevent. Uber and Lyft try to make it easy to keep your eye on the road if you have to text and throw out warnings about texting and driving. Hence, Uber reads your passengers’ messages and give you the voice-to-text option.

7.) This is related more to other drivers, pedestrians, and police. When you have to stop in the middle of the street, put your flashers on. It has no legal standing, but that’s not the point. The point is that’s how a non-rideshare drive, police officer, or pedestrian knows you’re there to pick someone up. More often than not, I’ve rolled up on a vehicle blocking the way in a valet zone, a side street, or even on a main throughfare, only to realize two minutes later that they’re waiting on passengers. If i see the flashers, I can plan accordingly. Hey, those people getting in or out of my car? They have some place to be, too, and quite likely, they could be your passengers soon, maybe even that night.

8.) Show some courtesy. Most people are out to have a good time. Sometimes, the good time continues in your car, and you’re part of it. It’s what makes this job fun.