I have been a driver for Uber for the past ten months now and there are many things that I've observed from passengers. I have been blessed to have, for the most part, pleasant passengers over this time period. The main reason for this is because I pray and ask for it every morning without fail before leaving my house. Even though these passengers are not problematic, there are some simple rules that they and future passengers need to know and abide by. Therefore, I am going to share some Uber rider etiquette that will make for a smooth ride every time.
Number one: Never enter your driver's vehicle without acknowledging her/him. This is a great pet peeve of mine. It's a common courtesy that should have been taught as a child. My mother taught me to never enter a room without acknowledging the people who were already there. She used to always say to my siblings and I, "Speaking is the cheapest thing you can do. It doesn't cost you anything." Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening are common salutations and should spring off a person's lips automatically. Uber drivers are not your servants. They are people and deserve to be treated as such. I don't know if there are other drivers who feel like me, but my car will not move until I am acknowledged!
Number two: Always ask your driver for permission to eat in their car before you just decide to do so. Again that is a common courtesy to the owner of the vehicle. I have a no eating policy in my vehicle and I say so on my profile. One of my female passengers messed it up for everyone. She was very talkative during our ride. She had her son with her who appeared to be about 2 or 3 years old. I dropped them off at the mall around noon and went on with my day. I had picked up several passengers between her and a young man that I picked up later in the day. After we had exchanged a few pleasantries he said, "Ma'am did you have some kids in your car?" I said, "Yes, earlier today I had a woman and her little boy." He said, "Well they've wasted some food in your car and it's a lot." He said it looked like Cheetos.
When I dropped him off at his home, I got out and looked in my back seat. This woman had allowed her child to waste what looked like an entire bag of crushed up Cheetos on my back passenger seat and never even bothered to say a word! My seats are black cloth, so you can just imagine what that looked like to those other passengers who never bothered to mention it. I had to immediately go to a vacuum and vacuum my seat, and I was so angry when I saw what she had done that I ended my driving for that day so that I would not take my anger out on anyone else. It's my opinion that she may have been afraid to say something not knowing how I would react and then surmising that I wouldn't know who did it by the end of the day when I saw it because I could have reported it to Uber. I did not report it, however. The damage was done and reporting it would not change that.
Number three: Do not leave empty water bottles, paper, or other unwanted items in the back seat of your driver's car. A great rule of thumb is to treat other people's property the way you want yours to be treated.
Number four: Do not compare driver's with each other. I have had customers say to me, well all the other driver's did it this way. The key words here are "all the other drivers." We are individuals, not robots and no two people do things the same way.
Number five: Do not call for Uber and then not be ready when your driver gets there. I have cancelled at least two rides that I can remember because I sat there waiting for the person for five minutes and then I called them only to hear. "I'm on my way, give me a few more minutes." This is a driver's livelihood and time is money. No one has time to sit there and wait for you. Besides that, it's inconsiderate. Be ready before you call.
Number six: Do not call for Uber and then not answer your phone when the driver calls you. Sometimes, especially in apartments, we can get turned around and need some assistance to get to you. If you won't answer your phone and the driver can't find you, then obviously they have no choice but to cancel the ride.
Number seven: Please don't text the driver with questions. We are driving! We can't answer you. Texting instructions are fine and are much appreciated, but questions like "where are you" and "are you lost" or similar questions, please refrain from texting. Call us. We can answer your call because we can put you on speaker. I am not going to take the time to pull over to answer these types of questions and I'm sure most other drivers aren't either.
Number eight (and the most irritating of all): Make sure the right address is put the app. What I mean by this is make sure what the app says is actually what the address is. It's happened to me a couple of times where a person put their physical address in, which was an apartment complex, but the app has marked it as a business and has put the title of a business on a residential address. So, what happens is the app will send the driver in a circle aimlessly looking for the business rather than the actual address. We have to remember these apps are created by humans, and therefore can be in error. Just be a little more diligent to pay attention to the address that's entered.
I think I've covered the things I've encountered as an Uber driver that can make for a bad driving experience. Riders need to remember you have a responsibility to treat each driver with respect and courtesy and use common sense. We're out there on the road driving in rush-hour traffic, accidents, and many other traffic situations. It's only because of you, the passenger, that Uber is possible and we thank you for that. But remember, we are out here providing a service to you, so help make it a pleasant one.