18 Things Uber and Lyft Drivers Want You to Know
Get the inside scoop on what Uber and Lyft drivers are actually thinking when they pick you up.
Don’t trust the background checks
The background checks on us aren’t as thorough as you’d think. We don’t get fingerprinted, though it’s the norm for limo and taxi drivers. Instead, the companies do name-based checks. When some cities tried to require more oversight, Uber and Lyft suspended driving there. (These are Uber hacks that every customer should know.)
Use referral codes
If you’re going somewhere with a friend who doesn’t have Uber or Lyft, don’t offer to order the ride. Instead, ask the friend to download the app and give him or her your referral code. The company will give you both a thank-you discount.
Leave the crowded areas
When you’re in a crowded area—say, outside a stadium just after a game—walk a few blocks before requesting a ride. If you can get away from the traffic and people, we’ll be able to get to you quicker. You may even avoid “surge” pricing, which is a spike in fares during the busiest times, sometimes in a very limited area. (These are secrets your taxi driver won’t tell you.)
Another option: Book more than an hour in advance, and both Uber and Lyft will let you lock in a fare—and avoid potential surge- induced sticker shock later on.
Prices at Lyft and Uber are similar, but sometimes one is surging and the other isn’t, so it won’t hurt to compare. And you didn’t hear this from us, but don’t forget taxis. A 2017 analysis found that yellow cabs were cheaper on average than Uber in New York City, for example.
Google has integrated Lyft, Uber, and other ride-share services into its mapping app. That means you can compare prices and how long it will take for the nearest car to get to you in one place. You can even order your ride right from Google Maps—just look for the ride-hailing icon (a stick figure holding a briefcase) to book.
Don’t use us as an ambulance
We’re not medical professionals, but some people call us instead of 911 because ambulances are expensive and riders want to pick their hospital. Uber and Lyft don’t like it, but unless you’re bleeding or passed out, some drivers will take you to the ER.
Don’t keep us waiting
Waiting around costs us. We typically make 12 to 15 cents a minute to wait, so if you go into a store for ten minutes, that’s only $1.20 in our pocket. Please just end the trip and call a new ride when you’re ready.
We’re not supposed to shuttle your kid around. Our policies say children under 18 can’t ride without an adult, but parents request us to chauffeur their kids anyway, and some of us do it.
Order a car big enough for everyone in your party
If you need a bigger car, order one. I can’t tell you how many times I pull up in my Prius and five passengers try to get in—with luggage. If you’re with a crowd, choose the uberXL or Lyft Plus option instead.
If you don’t tip, it won’t affect your rating, because we don’t see your tip until after we rate you (but that doesn’t mean we won’t hold your stinginess against you). (Make sure you know these etiquette rules about tipping before you travel.)
Don’t punish us for traffic
Please don’t give us one star for something we can’t control, such as traffic. If our rating falls too far (below 4.6 out of 5 in some cities), Uber gives us a warning. If we don’t improve, the company may cut us.
Call me if you lose something
Oops! Did you leave something in my car? Try contacting me through the app. If that doesn’t work (or if it’s your phone that’s lost), contact Uber (uber.com/lost) or Lyft (help.lyft.com) directly. Just so you know: Uber now charges a $15 fee to compensate drivers for time spent returning items to passengers.
Do us a favor and close your door gently
I never thought this was an issue until I started driving, but a lot of riders slam our doors really hard, and that gets annoying really fast. Drivers complain about it all the time, but passengers probably don’t even realize they’re doing it. As far as your car goes, find out why you should always open the door with your right hand.
We never know who’s going to get into our car
I’ve picked up famous celebrities, dogs who need to go to the vet (with their owner), and infants leaving the hospital to go home for the first time. I once delivered a package 90 miles for a businessman who couldn’t get any other service to do it. And I helped another guy who was using Uber to move all his stuff to his new apartment.
There aren’t a lot of female drivers
But some of the ones I know get a lot more tips than I do.
We hate traffic as much or more as you
Depending on the market, we get only about 10 cents a minute for traffic. So if your 10-mile ride takes 60 minutes in stop-and-go traffic, we may only get a few dollars more than if we made the same trip in 15 minutes.
Some of us may discriminate against you
A study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Seattle and Boston found that African-American passengers waited significantly longer to get rides in Seattle and passengers with African-American sounding names were more likely to have their trips cancelled in both cities. (Watch out for these travel scams before you go on your next vacation.)