Uber Easy, So Grab a Lyft!

Hey, guys. Jeff here. Yesterday, we dropped a post on using the Turo car-sharing service for your next trip. But Turo is not the only trend in transportation. Ride-sharing is also on the rise. 

Who uses ride-sharing?

As of January, 2019, 36% of American adults have used ride-share, up from just 15% in 2015. Unsurprisingly, younger adults have been quicker to see the possibilities – more than half of adults aged 18-29 say they have used a ride-share service. 

But our age group – adults 50 and over – are more skeptical; only 24% of us are willing to grab an Uber or Lyft to get to their destination.

Why is that? In my experience, passengers’ concerns run from a desire to avoid ‘creepy’ drivers to concerns about personal safety. No doubt, there are some weird drivers out there!

In my experience

I have been driving for UBER and LYFT for just under three years. As of July 13, 2019, I’ve given over 3,800 rides, and I’ve seen my share of, well…interesting…passengers.

Ride-share pickup at Atlanta airport

So, what do you do? You are considering using one of these ride-share services for a trip to the airport or a night out with your significant other. Your car broke down on the side of the road, and you need road assistance but don’t want to wait for AAA. Maybe you need to get to a recovery meeting or you’re going to work, or attending an event.

Here are a few suggestions to help you arrive safely and to maximize the ride-share experience.  There is plenty of information on ride-share on the internet. Much of it has been collected by news agencies or ‘think tanks’. But our intent was to use my experience as a driver to provide you with quick, helpful ride-share hacks.

Safety tips:

  1. Download both UBER and LYFT on your phone. Both applications will give an estimated time of arrival and cost of ride. Pricing varies by city and by ride-share, based on miles and time. So you do have a choice.
  2. If the driver has a rating of 4.6 or lower immediately cancel and try again. After each ride, both the driver and passenger have the option of rating each other.  High and low ratings are your only pre-pickup measuring tool. In most cities you have 2 minutes to cancel your LYFT request without being charged. UBER cancellation times vary depending on area.
  3. Where to sit once your ride arrives?  I suggest women sit in the back seat, on the passenger side. This gives you a clear view of the driver, and the opportunity for an easy exit if you need one.
    • I personally do not like people sitting directly behind me. Obviously, if there are 3-4 people being driven, there is no choice. 
    • Guys, it’s your call.  
  4. Are ride-share services safe? Overall, I would say,  yes. However, if the car looks unsafe or the driver gives you a bad vibe, cancel. You may have to pay a small fee, but you can always contact UBER or LYFT and ask for a refund. 
  5. It is illegal for drivers to pick up minors. Probably the most common scenario is when a high-schooler misses the bus and it’s too far to walk to school. Ride-share might be convenient, but for the protection of everyone involved, it should not be an option.
  6. Infants, babies, small children need to be in a car seat. Think about it – you would not hold your child in your lap in your own vehicle. Why would it be okay to do so in mine? I do not want to risk your child’s life in my vehicle. You shouldn’t either.
  7. Drivers should not have any “guests” in the car when they pick you up. That is unprofessional and a sign of a questionable driver.

General good-to-know tips:

Passenger view on the Uber app
  1. You have 5 minutes grace time to get in the car once your driver arrives at your pick up location. Be courteous. Drivers are not making any money if they are waiting for you, so be ready when the driver arrives. Keep in mind, drivers prefer not to wait the full 5 minutes and will leave exactly at 5 minutes.  And you will still be charged a fee if they leave at that point. 
  2. Should you tip your driver? This is a big question and highly debated topic.  If the driver is on time, the car is clean, the driver is nice, you feel safe and you enjoy the conversation or you enjoyed your “quiet ride” then I would say yes. Just like other service industries, drivers only receive a fraction of the total cost of your ride. Tipping makes up the difference.
  3. If you like to have a few cold ones, I suggest considering using ride-share to get home. DUI’s are expensive and time consuming. Keep in mind, though, that you will pay a hefty cleaning fee if you vomit in a driver’s car. No one wants to deal with that!
  4. If you plan on attending an event sometimes it can be easier to park a couple of miles away and ride-share to the event. You don’t have to drive in traffic and two short ride-shares are generally cheaper than paying for event parking.
  5. If you request a ride and you see your driver not driving to your direction, this usually indicates the driver does not want to pick you up. Reasons vary, but the most common is that your location is too far away. You have two choices: wait it out, or cancel. Again, if you cancel after a certain time, you may be charged.

Final thoughts

We use ride-share all the time. Our kids do, too. It’s a great alternative when taking your own car isn’t the best option. As with any situation, being aware of your surroundings is the best way to keep yourself safe. 

I hope these tips help. Drop me a comment if you have any questions!

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