As someone who has decidedly sworn off driving, the entirety of my commuting life can be illustrated in the form of a Venn diagram made up of trains and buses.
Plus, I’ve always enjoyed taking the scenic route so walking paired with a healthy dose of public transportation allows me to indulge my hobby—I can already feel the sympathy for my life choices.
But every once in awhile, there will be times when I need more efficient forms of transportation and with cab fares skyrocketing after the implementation of sweet, sweet GST, Uber has become quite the lifesaver in my books.
Over the last couple of months, I have become a somewhat rabid advocate of the car service and have actively convinced (read: bullied) at least 12 people into utilising it. I like to say that it’s because I think that it’s insanely reasonable and effective but also mostly because I want referral credits. Either way, I don’t see how anyone can possibly be on the losing end.
And while I can’t really speak for all, I try pretty hard to be as considerate a passenger as I can. I like to think that Uber etiquette is a two-way street and that as riders, we are just as responsible for being as respectful and mindful as we expect our drivers to be.
So after two months (and counting) of being an avid Uber rider, here are some tips that I’ve picked up on how to be the best rider you can be.
1. Don’t send your driver on a wild goose chase. Specify where you are.
You are not Waldo and your driver shouldn’t have to constantly circle the block to find you. Try your best to furnish your driver with specific instructions on how to get to you.
If you happen to be in a busy area like the outside of a crowded shopping mall or a street, it helps to provide your driver with a landmark that they can look out for or give them a brief description of your appearance. A simple “Hi, I’m outside Starbucks and I’m in a green dress” will save you both a lot of waiting time.
2. Thou shalt respect the car.
I get it. You just spent the last eight hours on your feet and they’re plotting your demise. Still not an excuse to kick your shoes off in someone else’s car and make yourself at home. Remember that as much as you may be a paying customer, you are also present in someone else’s personal space and you want to do everything you can to respect that.
Just like how you wouldn’t go into someone else’s home and treat it like you would your own, the same rule applies to an Uber vehicle. Eating, smoking and leaving bits of trash behind are major no-nos.
Chances are, your driver is going to be picking up another passenger after you disembark so your lingering essence of feet and nasi lemak probably won’t be much appreciated by either party.
3. Last minute cancellations are not cool. Really.
Uber drivers don’t make any money whilst driving to your pick-up location. They are also responsible for bearing whatever charges they may have to endure en route such as petrol and the occasional toll fare; which means that last minute back-outs after a 15 minute drive to come get you probably isn’t going to sit very well with them.
With this in mind, only request for a car when you’re absolutely sure that you want one. Building on that, don’t be a hero and request for a ride an hour before you’re actually ready to get directly into the car. Waiting costs money too.
4. Be polite. “Hi, how are you” and “Thank you” goes a long way.
“After all this time, it’s demystifying how often we need to be reminded to practice basic manners and this seems to be the number one gripe of most of the Uber drivers I’ve ridden with. I think it’s okay if you’re not keen on talking or engaging in conversation but stony silence upon entering and exiting makes for an awkwardly uncomfortable ride.
In the same way, if you aren’t sure if you should be seating in the front seat or at the back, all you have to do is ask—politely.
Ultimately, treat your driver the way you’d like to be treated. Even the smallest polite gestures make a difference and it takes so little effort to make someone feel good.