This morning I asked Tony Pierce, a former Uber and Lyft driver in L.A., for some insights since ride hailing/ride sharing has just come to Vancouver. He provided so much info (cause he’s awesome and generous like that) so I knew I had to create a separate guide for his tips for Uber and Lyft passengers in Vancouver:
Tips for Uber and Lyft Passengers in Vancouver
The following was contributed by Tony Pierce, who drove for Uber (5 years) and Lyft (4 years) in Los Angeles and completed over 5,000 trips:
1. Don’t drop your pin at an intersection. Walk up about half a block if you can and summon your car there. Intersections are the worst place to get picked up or dropped off. Plus your driver can often get confused on exactly which corner you are standing on.
2. Drivers don’t make money unless the wheels are turning. This is a huge difference between rideshare and taxis where that meter clicks as time passes. Technically the meter is also clicking in rideshare, but it’s pennies. So if you MUST make a driver wait as you run into a store or fast food joint, do yourself and your driver a favor and tip them in cash before you make them wait. It will cool them off and it is the right thing to do.
3. Speaking of tips. Uber originally pretended that the tip was part of the fare. So untrue. We tip the guy who brings us soup, we tip bartenders for cracking open a bottle of beer, you tip your taxi drivers, tip your Uber/Lyft driver too. Even if it’s just a dollar or two it is such a boost of morale to the person who got you to your destination safely. Rideshare drivers pay for everything: gas, insurance, the car, the air freshener, the repairs. You are getting a great deal, flow your buddy a Toonie.
4. If you must eat in the car, please clean up after yourself. Sometimes it is very busy and the driver does not have time to see that you left your bottle of kambucha in the back seat. The next passenger might think that the driver is dirty and give the driver a low rating. Enough low ratings and the driver is gone. So please treat the ride with respect.
5. One of the biggest things that drivers hate is being asked for the AUX cord. This is the cord that allows the passenger to play his terrible music through the car speakers. It’s never good music. Ever. And the request is always to play it loudly. Most rides are 15 minutes long. Feel free to request a radio station or a song on Spotify, but asking for the AUX cord is a red flag that the trip will be a disaster. If you insist though, toss the driver a few bucks along with the request and everything changes.
6. If your driver is good, give them 5 stars. Don’t mess around with any of the other stars unless the driver was bad. In that case give them a 1 star. Too many 4 stars can ruin a driver because 4.5 is the worst they will allow drivers to be rated and continue driving on the platform.
One tip for the ladies.
There are bad drivers out there. Some of these drivers are failed taxi drivers who see a second chance in rideshare. But they tend to be the worst rideshare drivers. In your app you can set where your home and your work are. Set your home a few houses away from your actual home. And if you don’t work in a large building you may want to do the same for your work. That way, in the rare case of a stalker. it will be more difficult for a driver to know where you live or work.
One tip for people who really don’t want to talk on the ride.
Rideshare drives typically love to talk. I am very guilty of that. But sometimes the passenger is tired or sleepy or just wants to space out. All you have to do is either put on your headphones or say, “I have had The Worst day, can we just turn on some mellow music, or whatever you want to listen to, I’m just going to rest my eyes back here in quiet. Would that be ok?” And if you really want to bring it home, slide a few bucks to the driver. They will obey. Many drivers will do this without a tip.
One bonus tip that people rarely talk about.
Even though rideshare isn’t designed to be a messenger service, drivers secretly love getting paid without the hassle of a passenger. For example. Several years ago I was at a friend’s party about an hour away. I got drunk at the party, as was expected, which is why I took a Lyft out there. I also took one back. But I had forgotten my wallet at the party. My friend put it in a box and sealed it. I had a Lyft driver pick up the package and drive it to me. The driver was happy because he got a nice fare (and tip) with his very quiet and well-behaved “passenger”.
Drivers won’t pick up your dry cleaning or your groceries, but if you want something delivered quickly — with the ability to track its progress in real-time, Uber and Lyft are an interesting alternative to traditional delivery services. But beware: unlike delivery services, these drivers are not insured and if the driver chooses to open the box and take what’s inside you really don’t have any proof that you had anything in there to begin with.
Tony Pierce is a writer, editor, and sometimes rideshare driver who lives in Hollywood, California. He is the Editor-at-large of Los Angeleno. He likes tacos, baseball, and Canadians! He has a near-perfect rating as a driver on Uber and Lyft. If you want to drive for Uber and you liked my tips, click this link to become a driver.