Updated: Jan 23
In theory, rideshare is a really simple business. You open the app and request a ride. I get the request. I drive to you. You come out, you get in, I drive you to where you want to go. You leave first, then I drive away. Though this is in fact the way it does happen most of the time, variances from this cadence are common enough to warrant this public service announcement.
You have every right as a paying customer to have reasonable expectations regarding the appearance and cleanliness of my car, my own personal appearance and cleanliness, and the level of professionalism and service you should receive from me. Don't worry, I'm about to provide excruciating detail on all of these things in the forthcoming paragraphs. In fairness to you the rider, Uber and Lyft do a reprehensible job at emphasizing there are two equal and opposite sides to this transaction. You are indeed the customer, but that absolutely does not give you the right to conduct yourself the way in which some of you do. This is what I'm here for though as Uber and Lyft's unofficial Dean of Rider Expectations. After reading this article, you will no longer be able to say, "I didn't know." These things should be obvious to anyone with an IQ above soup, but the older I get the more I realize that this only represents about 18% of the world. Let's start with my side of the transaction, your driver.
When should you 1 ⭐ me?
First off, less you think that I despise all riders, nothing could be further from the truth. The riders of Uber and Lyft are who pay my bills and provide me with an occupation and lifestyle I am truly grateful for. In my experience there are far more drivers that fall short of common sense expectations than there are riders. Let's see if you have experienced any of these.
You should 1 ⭐ me when the appearance of my vehicle should embarrass me, but doesn't.
This one is a real sticking point for me as I take great pride in the appearance and maintenance of my vehicles. Admittedly and unashamedly I use every opportunity to take shots at the Prius army because well frankly, they deserve it. For the rest of this article when I refer to anything Prius just know that it's a proxy for any car, even though you're still overwhelmingly likely to be picked up in one of these shitboxes. It seems rare that I see a Prius associated with rideshare that isn't some combination of dented, scraped up, or worse. I have absolutely no idea how these clowns manage to damage and abuse their vehicles in this way. I have driven 80,000 miles a year for 5 years straight now, and would challenge anyone to objectively say that my vehicles appear to have lived the hard life of commercial driving. The only logical conclusion I can come to is that many Uber and Lyft drivers have both poor physical coordination and command of their vehicles combined with a lack of knowledge regarding the rules of the road. If you see one of these Prius dummies with their back hatch and bumper molested with red and white reflective tape and "Driver Makes Frequent Stops" and any other of a number of warning stickers indicating they belong to rideshare, this is a blaring foghorn warning signal telling you to figure out how to immediately create as much distance as you can between your vehicle and this person. Other drivers should be far more afraid when they see this sticker and tape diarrhea collage on the back of a Prius than any Prius driver should be of them. If you are paying any sort of reasonable attention as a driver above the level of Mr. Magoo, it's unnecessary make the back of your car look like a telephone pole near a university that promotes weight loss fads, guitar lessons with Jeremiah and marginally talented bands full of guys who got their felonies knocked down to misdemeanors.
It shows a complete lack of pride and professionalism to pick up riders in a car with sizable dents and screwed up paint. I'm not telling you to one star your driver if their car is not showroom perfect. Small bumps, dents, and paint imperfections are to be expected on any used car, especially rideshare vehicles. Yet the way that some of these turdballs roll around is patently ridiculous. As drivers, we do have to have our cars inspected annually, so I can only hope that when I see a Prius that looks like Chris Christie thought the last cupcake on Earth was locked inside of it, said Prius is in between inspections and the driver just doesn't give enough of a shit to fix it.
Just like the Supreme Court said about pornography, you know it when you see it. If your driver picks you up in a car that looks like crap that you yourself would be ashamed to drive, 1 ⭐ that motherfucker. I'm sorry, that's really not fair. Even drivers of new Priuses that haven't driven them off the lot yet should be embarrassed by them. You get what I'm saying though. Maybe if a few of these guys get downgraded and deactivated we can introduce a little more accountability and pride to the profession. I just don't want to hear the sob stories of "this is my only vehicle and I can't afford to both fix it and be without it." Tough. Titties. Dude. Be a better driver and perhaps your car won't look like that.
You should 1 ⭐ me when my vehicle looks like a family of raccoons has been living in it.
You have a right to be picked up in a reasonably clean vehicle in which all four seats are available to you along with the trunk. Asking a driver to vacuum the car in between rides is unreasonable, but it also shouldn't look like Mitch McConnell's neck. I have been told countless times by customers that other drivers had personal belongings blocking part or all of the trunk and one or more of the seats. That's bullshit. Yes, it is my car and I have a right to have a few things with me, but when I'm using it to give rides it is a commercial vehicle in which my customers have a right to use the space within it. If you take a ride where you are inconvenienced by excessive amounts of crap in the car, feel free to 1 ⭐ . Drivers do not have the right to tell you any longer to not sit in the front seat, nor are we supposed to have golf clubs and two baskets of laundry in the trunk. While I will fully admit that I hate when riders choose to sit up front with me, it is certainly well within their right to do so. Some rides involve transporting four people and a lot of stuff. I don't like it, but that's just part of the job.
You should 1 ⭐ me when I or my vehicle smells like __________________.
I have to tread pretty lightly on this one to not step on any woke little toesies. You should not be able to smell your driver from the back seat, nor should the vehicle smell like someone just cooked an ethnic dinner for 13. This is a huge reason why people hate riding in taxis. It should not reek like a 3rd Ave bus stop or that _____________ restaurant you and your friends like to go to when you want to feel less white and also tell people you are "really in to _____________ food." It should just smell like a car. I also do not have the right as your driver to empty half a bottle of $8 cologne on my shirt collar or use enough air fresheners to choke a horse. Please feel free to 1 ⭐ me if I do any of these things.
You should 1 ⭐ me when you are subjected to weird or loud music, offensive political talk radio, or when I spend the entire ride on the phone.
I just don't get the phone thing. In the tens of thousands of rides that I have given I have probably made or taken less than 10 phone calls, of which the duration of these calls in their totality is likely less than 3 minutes. Hang up the fucking phone you jackass. Handle your shit when the customer is not in the car. I don't care if you are calling halfway around the world and this is the 10 minutes a day grandma is conscious and lucid, your customers should not have to listen to the ongoings of your personal life. They don't give a shit, and furthermore should not be held hostage by your lack of social intelligence. If you as a rider encounter this behavior, a 1 ⭐ is well warranted.
The music aspect is a little more sticky, but once again common sense should prevail. As a driver, I will be more than mildly annoyed if you ask to use my aux cord so you can play music on a 6 minute ride. I can't be entirely sure of this, but I don't think I've ever had someone ask to use my aux cord that didn't have a BAC of at least Lindsay Lohan. I usually try to play non-offensive feel good sing-along music such as '80s pop or classic rock. If a customer wants me to turn it off or up, I'm happy to do so as it is ultimately your ride. If your ride includes a driver that is clueless enough to subject you to overly loud ethnic music or the verbal diarrhea that is political talk radio, down his rating shall go!
You should 1 ⭐ me if you feel like you are an unpaid extra in the filming of Speed 3: The Uber Ride from Hell.
We can be honest with each other here right? A fair amount of Uber drivers pilot their vehicles as if they got their license as a prize from the bottom of a box of Count Chocula and a $9,000 bonus is attached to the ride if they complete it 30 seconds faster than driving sanely would allow for. Yes, we make more money if we complete more rides. That still doesn't give me the right to drive like my car is a mobile donut shop and Lizzo and Latto are chasing us with BOGO coupons set to expire in the next 10 minutes. If your driver makes you feel unsafe with his driving, tell him to slow the fuck down. Then report him to Uber/Lyft and 1 ⭐ him into oblivion.
Now for the fun part. This is when I will absolutely 1 ⭐ you, the customer.
It's a completely fair criticism to say that giving a customer a 1 ⭐ rating for some of the things that I'm about to mention is overly harsh and I should grow up and not be so petty. Feel better? Super, because it's likely that you have high potential of being a 1 ⭐ customer and won't be riding with me again anyways. In case you didn't know, any time a driver gives you a 3 ⭐ rating or worse, you will never be matched with us again. If Uber and Lyft actually cared about you the customer and your rating, they would give drivers a way to say "don't match me with that dummy again" without trashing your rating. Unfortunately, this just isn't the case.
Whoever the idiot was that came up with the statement "the customer is always right" was probably Uber's first customer to yak in a conestoga wagon headed to Utah in 1847. The concept that both the business owner (me) and the customer (you) have ethical obligations and responsibilities to each other should not be one that causes cognitive dissonance. It is (as I see it) my obligation to do everything I can to ensure a positive experience for you when riding with me. It's also your obligation to not be a dumbass and act like this is the first time you've left your 13 inbred brothers and sisters at the ranch in Waco. Both of these things can true. Just so we know the rules, if you do any of the following things you will surely never ride with me again.
If I see a note to call you or anyone else when I arrive at the pickup location, I'm going to 1 ⭐ you if I don't end up cancelling.
Hello customer, it's the year 2022 calling. Actually, I'm not calling you, I'm messaging you because it's the year 2022 and people only use the phone when someone is dead, cheating on their spouse, born prior to 1960, or canceling some type of saw your arm off service like Comcast that can't be canceled any other way.
This is not rocket surgery brain science stuff here people. Pay attention to your phone you fucking dummy. You can see me coming the entire way, it's not like I'm not going to jump out of the bushes and yell SURPRISE! in a clown suit when I get there. I'm the little car on the screen moving towards you in case you couldn't figure that out. When I get really close, your phone will say exactly that. Hey asshole! He's getting really close! When I arrive and hit the button, you're even going to get another notification saying I'm here. If you've been raised with any kind of respect for other people's time and needing to make a living, you might even be standing outside waiting for me. I'm not a complete asshole though despite what my friends and family think. If it's freezing outside or there is a cadre of half-dead homeless guys knife fighting over broken microwaves on top of a 72' Itasca in front of your building as is common in downtown Seattle, it's totally fine if you wait to receive the Your driver has arrived! notification before you step outside momentarily after.
The only instance in which I will call you is if I can see it is going to be a high paying ride. These are the rides that make rideshare profitable enough to do in the first place, so it behooves me to try to make them happen when I'm already at the pickup spot. If I can see that your ride is going to be a minimum or low paying ride, which is more likely than not when you are given the "call me when you're here" instruction as a driver, you have a better chance of looking out your window and seeing Elon Musk holding a sign advocating for birth and population control than you do in getting that phone call from me. You may not know this, but I don't get paid until your ass hits the seat and my wheels are moving. I'm certainly not going to chase you down for the privilege of giving you your $7 ride which I really don't want in the first place.
An astute rider might say that I wouldn't be able to properly 1 ⭐ them unless I actually give them a ride, with the scenario described above only resulting in a cancel fee for the driver. You are absolutely correct and I'm impressed you know that given your history. What will actually allow me to 1 ⭐ your pretentious, self-absorbed ass is you coming outside in the last minute of the countdown clock on a ride in which you have instructed me to call you. Then we will do the dance of you saying "Um, not sure if you saw it or not, but I put a note in there to call when you arrived" to which I will end up saying, "oh my goodness I'm so sorry! The app is not very user friendly and I just didn't see it." If I say this with a straight face and an ounce of sincerity you will 100% believe me and likely not trash my rating. Hell, you might even tip! To be sure though you are immediately getting a 1 ⭐ from me upon the completion of our time together and I will never think of you again.
Let's not do any of this if we don't have to. Just watch your phone and turn up the volume on your notifications. It's not difficult.
If you give me verbal turn by turn directions on how to reach your destination, I will absolutely 1 ⭐ you.
There are only two reasons in which anyone would give their driver turn-by-turn directions on how to reach their destination.
1. You are so oblivious and out to lunch that you don't happen to notice the giant phone glued to my fucking windshield which conveniently already has these instructions. "Magic." It's kind of the foundation of the whole process. Even if this were 1998 and I needed to use a Thomas Guide (look it up children it will do you good) to navigate us, I still don't want your input.
2. You actually think that you know better than Waze. The implications of this level of hubris are frightening for all of us. To be fair you have lived in this neighborhood for over 30 years now and damn it if you don't know a better way to get to the airport than that little digital devil box.
There is no easy way to say this. I know that Mama told you that you could become anything you wanted to be and probably cut your pancakes for you and laid out your underwear and trousers for you until you were 36, but you aren't smarter than Google. Most of us down here on planet Earth tend to realize this pretty quickly, but not you George Thompson from Madison Park. You sir, know better.
If you get in my car and start playing TikToks loud enough to be heard by Doris in the 97' Buick Skylark 3 lanes over, I will absolutely 1 ⭐ you.
Having even the tiniest bit of self-awareness can get you really far in life. What makes you think that I should have to or would want to listen to people smelling each other's farts and giggling about it and whatever else they do on Tiktok? Headphones, man. Fuck. Check the box your phone came in, there might be some free corded ones still kicking around in there. I know that you think that by ordering a ride with me you can do whatever you want in my car, but I'm here to tell you today that you can't. It's annoying enough if someone is on the phone the entire time they are in my car, but being hostage to the audio from the videos that entertain you is straight acid being poured into my ears. Read the room you dumb bitch. Maybe watch a few videos on how the bail bonds process works so you are more familiar with it when it's actually game time to help out that guy you've been banging that you and 8 other skanks think is your bae.
If you tell me that you are late for __________ and ask me if we could please hurry up, 1 ⭐ it is for you.
If you ask your driver to "step on it" so that you can reach your destination on time, this actually says quite a bit about you. It says that you have poor self-discipline in being able to execute a plan of needing to leave on time.
It also says that you place 0 value on your driver's safety and the vehicle they will use to transport you. It shows you have a fundamental misunderstanding of some very basic math and would probably score worse on the Wonderlic test than Vince Young. Let's review some 7th grade math here Jethro. Do you know how much time you save driving 70mph vs 60mph for 60 minutes? 9 minutes. 9. Fucking. Minutes. FOR AN HOUR of high speed highway driving. How much time do you think we are saving lurching from stoplight to stoplight on your 13 minute trip? Somewhere between nothing and 1 minute if I manage to dodge the fentanyl zombie counting the clouds in the middle of James Street or the Amazon douchebags using the rental scooters on the way to their bright and early standup meeting at 1030. It's nothing. Yet I'm supposed to risk my safety, equipment and livelihood due to you not being able to get out of bed because you were up too late TikToking watching McDonald's employees spit in to the bags of no-tip DoorDash orders. Fuuuuuuuuck off buddy. 1 ⭐ for you it is.
If you and your 5 drunken friends can't manage to control yourselves during our 8 minute trip from the Rhein Haus back to your Capitol Hill "efficiency studio" hovel you call home, I will positively 1 ⭐ you.
I always tell people this, but it's not a crime to be drunk. I was 23 and painfully stupid like you once too. I've thrown up in plenty of bushes, peed in a couple houseplants and woken up with a couple women who I think might have been named Frank, were in the process of transitioning in to being called Frank, or just had a frank, IDFK. Point is there is a reason alcohol is not listed as a banned substance on Major League Baseball's PED list. As a driver, I don't care if you are loud and giggly and silly and otherwise having a good time. But god damn man there's a limit. I'm not even going to get in to the getting sick in my car part, since even the crustiest bottom of the barrel scraped examples among you understand how fucked up that is. I'm talking to those of you who want to get in my car with your open container and carry on like you are in some Navy bar pretending to be tall, thin, and interesting. Get a hold of yourself shitbag. Get in, keep your volume below a Seahawks game, don't ralph on my carpet, leave. Its. So. Simple. But many of you just can't do it. You've already ruined your friends' night because they've had to babysit you since brunch at Alki, and now you're making me wish Whitney from My 600lb Life mercifully plummets from sky and crushes us all to death just so I don't have to endure your presence any longer. If your parents weren't Promise Keepers they would have tried to teach you some shame and likely disowned you by now. But lucky for me, you somehow missed out on the one opportunity to get your ass kicked at the right time that when you were 15 that might have turned your life around. 1 ⭐ for you, and kindly get the fuck out of my car.
Now for my personal favorite.
If I provide you with what any reasonable, god-fearing panel of 10 random people would consider great service and you don't tip, it's 1 ⭐ you get.
This is such a touchy subject, but I'm not going to back down an inch on this. You need to think of me as a waiter in a nice restaurant, because that's the level of service you are going to get when you ride with me. If you don't want to tip Prius shithead for any of the reasons already listed in this PSA, more power to you. I wouldn't either. But that ain't me. You wouldn't dream of not tipping at a restaurant if your waiter/waitress did anywhere near a normal job unless you are a complete and utter warm dung pile. You'll give a bartender a tip for pressing a plastic button on a fountain gun for 5 seconds! Whatever Uber and Lyft have chosen to charge you for your ride ain't got shit to do with me, much the same as your waitress didn't set the price of that undersized and overpriced appetizer you ordered at that hip (translation: dirty, small) Lake Union restaurant you stumbled out of before you got in my car.
If you can't afford to tip your Uber Driver/Instacart Shopper/Doordasher, you can't afford to use the service. Period.
Many of you will even go as far to say the infamous phrase, "I'll get you on the app" which of course is complete horseshit and will never actually show up. It's yellow-belly chicken shit behavior at it's finest. It's always been my contention that if the rider had to "settle up" with me after every ride like in a restaurant, tip rates would skyrocket because most of you wouldn't have the balls to actually give me your credit card and not tip. Unfortunately for drivers, the godless heathens that run Uber created and encouraged a non-tipping culture from the jump that still largely exists today. They gave away artificially cheap rides subsidized by gluttonous amounts of VC cash and explicitly told riders it was ok not to tip. Die slowly in a lukewarm fire Travis Kalanick. You, rider, and your family are about to head to Disneyland and pay $499 a night to stay in a shitty hotel and spend $42 for 4 waters while wearing matching "I gave her the/she wanted the D" t-shirts you paid $56 for, but somehow there isn't room in the budget for my $14 tip. You won't get better service on your entire vacation than you get with me, but you'll tip the bellhop who's going to be masturbating to hairy feet videos on OnlyFans 15 minutes after his shift. Asshole. I wish that I could come to your house and drop an Upper Decker in your hallway bathroom, the one with the decorative towels and themed soap you aren't actually suppose to use. 1 ⭐ for you my friend, you're the worst.