I’ve had an unpleasant passenger today. Lyft riders are usually friendlier and more chatty than people using other rideshare platforms. Maybe it’s got something to do with the way that they marketed their ridesharing app (if that is the case, bravo), maybe not. This morning’s first ride was a middle-aged man, with a habit ordering people around without thinking twice about it.
As a Lyft or Uber driver, you get one of those once in a while. For the short life of their $5-$25 ride, they treat you and your car as property, order you around, sternly require you to do unsafe or illegal things such as speeding, dropping them off in a no drop zone, etc.
Right after he got inside the car, my passenger had me pull over to adjust the front seat so he had plenty of legroom. After that, he started throwing his personal things all over the backseat of the new car that I share with my wife and kids (I hope there are no scratches, I didn’t check yet). He made himself very comfortable and started swearing at the occasional speeding Chicago driver. Towards the end of the trip, he remembered that he didn’t share any of his bad mood with me, not yet. He told me that it never takes this long for him to get to work after we spent almost 45 minutes in barely crawling or slow Chicago traffic.
I remember some of my rides as a passenger. The ones with a very friendly and helpful driver. Or the ones that got me a little bit scared because the driver was speeding, playing with his phone the whole time or put our safety at risk in some other way. I can see why some riders get anxious when they get in a car driven by a complete stranger.
My point to all this is that a lot of people do not think about the meaning of the word share in ‘rideshare.’
Rideshare Etiquette For Riders
Do Not Act Like Own The Car Or The Driver That Is Driving It
Because you don’t. The person taking you safely from point A to point B is a human being just like yourself. No matter if they do it part time or full time, they share their personal car with you. The car that more likely than not they also share with their family. The car that they put a lot of effort into paying it off and keeping it in good shape.
Do Not Eat Inside The Car & Keep Your Beverages Unspilt
It’s self-explanatory, and you are going to get charged additional fees if you make a mess.
Your Driver Is Not Responsible For Traffic
Or for your tardiness. It’s more than rideshare etiquette, it is proper social behavior. Don’t take it out on your driver, he’s just trying to put food on the table and he should not become a target for your anger.
For example, in a city such as Chicago, a driver can get a fine for a variety of reasons:
- speeding – there are speed traps and red light cameras all over the city
- dropping you off on Michigan Ave or on State St. (these are 2 busy streets downtown Chicago where TNP drivers are not allowed to pick up or drop off passengers)
- dropping or picking you up at the wrong level at the airport
- accepting cash as a payment for a trip
Besides the obvious safety concerns, when you ask your driver to do any of the things above, he risks a fine from $100-$500+. I am not exaggerating about the $500 fine; there are a lot of people that had to pay one. How long do you think it takes your driver to earn back $500?
Don’t Interfere With His Driving
This includes backseat drivers, last-second turn requests given in the middle of the intersection or any other behavior that might distract his attention.
Call Your Driver If You Want To Take Your Pet In The Car
I have a very strict no pet policy in my car (excluding service animals). I love pets, but I will not accept a ride request from a complete stranger with a pet. Your guarantees that your pet is clean, parasite free and hypoallergenic will not convince me to give you a ride. If I had a car that I use only for work, I might reconsider my decision. But I will not risk the upholstery in my new car or my children’s health for a few bucks. I will make an exception for service animals, of course, and clean up afterwards because I believe that less fortunate people that need a service animal deserve a bit of extra effort on my part.
I’ve had a passenger that kept her cat hidden away in her bag/carrier. After I heard the first meow, I considered dropping her away at the very first place where I could pull over, but decided against it since the bag looked like it will catch any kind if leaks or hair. Yes, you may argue that some pets are like people, very clean, friendly and loveable. I agree with you, a lot of animals are like that. But it is my decision, my car and my responsibility to keep it clean and damage-free long after your $10 trip ended. Call ahead and ask your rideshare driver about his pet policy or risk cancelled rides or being dropped off way sooner than your destination.
Do Give Him A Good Rating AND A Tip
If you are happy with the overall ride, let it show in your rating. Also, a couple of bucks tip goes a long way to ensure that your driver will afford to stay on the road, drive safely and not be in a perpetual rush to get to the next ride.
Now, keep on reading if you would like to know what should you should expect from an Uber or Lyft driver.
Rideshare Etiquette For Drivers
There are a few common sense things that you should never do as a rideshare driver. Some of them are things you might do when driving by yourself but should be avoided when you have a passenger.
Do Not Drive If You Are Not In Top Shape
This includes being fatigued, mentally tired or other kinds of impairment. You are responsible for other people’s safety too, not just your own.
Do Not Text Or Talk On The Phone While Driving
It is illegal and dangerous. Do not talk on the phone even if you have a hands-free headset.
Do Not Speed
Speeding is a big no-no, even when your passenger asks you to do it. The fact that they’re in a hurry doesn’t mean you should be going over the speed limit. Tell them politely that you can only drive the speed limit and follow the navigation. If they insist, ask them if they know a faster route or offer to drop them off at a train station if they think that is going to be faster. But do not speed, a $20 ride is not worth a few hundred bucks in fines and court costs.
Be Polite To Your Passenger
Do not swear or yell because another driver did something stupid. That driver cannot hear you, but your passenger can. Offer to help whenever possible and act friendly even on shorter trips – if you are not happy what you are being paid, take it up with your platform, not the rider.
Please read this article for more ridesharing safety tips for drivers. If you have your own story to share, please type it in the comments section below or reach out to me if you want to publish a whole article.