By Whitney Sherwood
It’s a bustling Saturday night in downtown Phoenix, and the streets are lined with cars. There is no way I can walk to my hotel. It’s over an hour walk.
My fiancé and I have been out, and it’s late. We’re ready to head back to the hotel. I request an Uber and hope the driver can find us. Schools of people pass us.
Our driver is 2 minutes away. A smart idea to wait for passengers in the area.
We scan the lot for our driver. There is a picture of her and a description of the car. Okay, that’s easy enough.
The driver turns her hazards lights on to let us know it’s her. We jump in the vehicle, thankful.
She greets us, friendly. She tells us she just started her shift and asked us how our night has been. We learn she loves Postino.
Her tone is casual and upbeat. She confirms where we’d like to go.
We reach the hotel in 10 minutes, keeping up casual conversation throughout the ride. We pay and tip the driver as she drops us off. It was a quick and enjoyable ride.
As a passenger, I’ve had many experiences with Uber drivers. I love the idea of an everyday person driving me around. Uber drivers tend to be more personable than taxi drivers.
As an Uber driver, it can be helpful to gain insight from passengers, like myself, in addition to other drivers. The book Uber Chronicles: Field Notes from the Front Seat, by Jessie Newburn, has a plethora of experiences and short stories sharing failures, successes, and the learning curve (many of which are funny) that come with Uber.
Here are some quick tips for Uber drivers from a passenger.
If You’re Lost, Call or Text
Once, I had a driver who was 15 minutes late. He didn’t let me know he was running behind and was lost.
It turns out his GPS pointed him to the wrong side of the road. If you’re lost or having issues locating your passenger, call or text him or her.
It’s common courtesy, and you won’t feel so embarrassed once you find them. I didn’t give him a low rating or skimp on the tip, but someone else might have.
Make it Memorable
One of the best rides I ever had was a woman who offered me a cold water bottle from the back of her SUV on a hot summer night.
Several months later, I had her again. I was going to a cocktail party around Christmas and was wearing a dress and heels. My legs were cold, to say the least.
She kept blankets in the back of her car and had a thermos of hot chocolate and disposable mugs for passengers.
Think outside the box. And do what you can to make the ride a good experience.
Always Check the Back
More than once a friend has forgotten their phone after a night of drinking in an Uber car.
It’s tough on the driver and the person. From what I’m told, Uber drivers aren’t compensated for returning forgotten items. Jessie learns this lesson in her book.
Your passenger may not be thinking clearly, so it can save you both time to double check for forgotten items.
Ratings are important as an Uber driver. I hope these tips have helped, and you can make your rides a more memorable and enjoyable experience for passengers.
About the author
Whitney Sherwood is a freelance writer who resides in Arizona. She loves to spend her time running, traveling, and hunting down the best shrimp taco recipes.