- Uber and Lyft have taken the world by storm.
- Business Insider has spoken to dozens of drivers to learn more about what it’s like to work for the ride-hailing apps.
- There are a handful of complaints that are nearly universal among drivers.
Millions of drivers shuttle passengers to their destinations all around the globe on behalf of Uber and Lyft.
Those drivers meet all sorts of passengers, good and bad. And on the whole, their experiences have been overwhelmingly positive, dozens of drivers have told Business Insider.
But, as with any public-facing job, there will be some bad apples.
We asked drivers to tell us their biggest pet peeves, which could help your own rider rating by avoiding. Here’s what they said (last names have been removed to protect privacy):
Don’t eat — or at least ask first
The number one complaint among every driver was on the subject of odours. While you may not mind the smell of fried chicken, the lingering smell could end up causing a future rider to leave a less-than-stellar rating for the driver.
“Entitled riders think they can eat whatever they want in my car,” Amanda, a driver in Las Vegas, told Business Insider. “People forget these are our personal vehicles.”
Another driver, Matt from Wisconsin, said he didn’t mind going through drive-thru windows for passengers if they ask, but on one condition: “I tell them, ‘We can absolutely go to Taco Bell or KFC or whatever, but you have to wait to open it until I drop you off.'”
It doesn’t stop at food. Other smells can have an even more drastic effect on a driver’s ability to keep working. The number one culprit is marijuana.
“Young people get in my car all the time reeking of marijuana,” Wallace, a driver in Connecticut, told Business Insider. “I don’t mind personally – as long as they aren’t smoking in the car – but if another passenger so much as complains about the car smelling like weed, it can get me deactivated from the app.”
Stan, a driver in the Cleveland, Ohio area, said he uses a Febreze spray after any rider “with extreme pet or body odor when they exit the vehicle.”
“I’ve been pretty lucky with passengers, but when they get in right after smoking a cigarette it can linger in my car which can then lead to a bad review,” Gabriella, a driver in Boulder, said.
Don’t ignore your driver
Many passengers want to ride in silence, and probably many of the drivers, too. Still, drivers told Business Insider that contact with riders is one of the few human interactions they might have in a shift, given that they have no boss or office.
“I love to drive, but sometimes when I pick up a customer they don’t say hello and just get in and start giving orders,” Dorothy, a driver in the New York City suburbs, said.
Don’t slam the door
Uber (and Lyft) drivers are, more often than not, using their own personal vehicle to provide rides. They consistently said they wished riders would also treat them as such.
“Far too many people slam my very light doors,” Joe, a driver in Phoenix, said.
On minivans with automatic doors, things get even more complicated.
“I finally just put up signs inside and out telling people to not touch anything,” Menard, a driver in Miami, said. “Just let me open and close the door. It’s much easier.”
Even Uber’s CEO agrees. “Don’t slam the door,” he said in a recent interview.
Don’t call your kid a ride
Lyft and Uber both prohibit passengers under 18 without a parent or guardian, but that doesn’t stop many parents from ordering rides for their kids, or from teenagers requesting rides on their own. It can land drivers in serious trouble.
“No one under 18 should be getting rides unsupervised,” Zachariah, a driver in Los Angeles, said. “I cancel those but feel really bad about it.”
Please bring your own car seat
“My main issue is people that use me to collect their young kids from work or doctor’s appointments and don’t have a car seat,” Zachariah continued. “I tell them I can’t drive their 2-year-old and they get pissed and say it’s fine, but it’s not and puts me at serious risk of a lawsuit so I cancel the ride and drive away.”
Don’t flirt with your driver
This was the number one complaint among female drivers we spoke to.
“In only two months doing this I’ve dealt with everything from having my breast fondled to my life threatened,” Amanda, a driver in Dallas, Texas, said.
Other women said they only drive during daylight hours to avoid problematic encounters.
“I get rude and harassing comments from men in the day, so I don’t even want to know what it would be like at night when people are drinking,” Jenny, a teacher who drives in northern New Jersey during breaks in the school year, said.
Don’t be late
After five minutes, Uber will charge a no-show passenger, but drivers aren’t paid during that interim time.
“My biggest complaint is waiting on passengers beyond the required wait time,” Jeff, a driver in Colorado, said. “You hit the button to request the ride. What are you doing?”
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