The first mistake

The first mistake 99% of all Lyft, Uber, Juno, See Jane . . you name it. . . all those drivers make this one first mistake before they even start to drive.  Ask around, how many of you actually read the terms of service that you agreed to before starting to drive?

Every day hundreds of new drivers are excited to be approved to drive on any one of the dozen or so rideshare platforms yet probably only 1 of those hundred has read the terms of service.  They turn on the app, eager to get the first ping but yet they don’t know some of the basics that, when not followed, cause problems for the other drivers on the road.

Tonight, yet again, a new driver entered our local Facebook group with basic questions about Uber.  And while I, and many other drivers, are happy to help, it gets old answering the same basic questions over and over when all drivers need to do is read the terms of service up front.

What are some of the basics? Here they are, the most common questions I see on Facebook groups locally and nationally:

  1. I am not sure about driving strangers so I’m going to have my boyfriend / girlfriend ride with me, is that okay?
    Uh, no.  First, you need to have the seats available for passengers.  But more importantly, you’ve been through a background check for the safety of your passengers, your co-pilot has not.  So between these two issues, having another person in the car with you is not acceptable.  If you really feel that unsafe, driving for Uber or Lyft probably isn’t for you.Why it makes other drivers crazy: We have to hear passengers complain about it and then explain to them that it’s wrong and etc. We want every passenger to have a great ride and to use the service again, stuff like this makes us all look bad.
  2. I waited for the passenger for 15 minutes, I tried calling, they either a) finally showed up or b) never showed up. . . how long am I supposed to wait?
    This happens.  The terms of service asks for a 10 minute wait but if you waited 5 minutes and no one shows up, cancel as a “no show,” in most areas you’ll be compensated for the wait.Why it makes other drivers crazy: Because if you waited that long for one person they think we ALL will wait that long. Then they get pissed and complain to Uber when we don’t.
  3. I had a request and they had a service dog.  I don’t want dog hair in my car, do I have to take them?
    Yes! It’s called the Americans with Disabilities Act and it’s the law. So yes you have to take them or you’ll get deactivated for breaking the law. And really, if you were in their shoes would you want a hassle over getting a ride on top of the other crap you deal with in life?Why it makes other drivers crazy:  Not only does it look like we don’t care about the disabled, it’s against the law, the media reports about it and we all look bad.
  4. I pulled up to get my pax and it turned out to be a 15 year old, is that okay?
    No! It’s against the terms of service which clearly states no one under the age of 18 may ride without an adult. And the passengers have agreed to this as well (if they read their terms of service).  So when you pick up an underage passenger and then the next Uber / Lyft driver says no, it causes problems for us. When you take the minor you will not be covered by insurance if anything happens AND you better hope that it’s a good kid or they can claim you’ve done something and you’re just S. O. L. and deactivated.Why it makes other drivers crazy:  When you give a ride to an under age passenger, parents think we’ll all do it.  And when we refuse, then they get mad and say “I’ve done it before.” It sets a bad precedent.
  5. What happens if someone pukes (or causes another mess) in my car?
    Take photos and send them to Uber / Lyft for reimbursement.  You’ll be out of commission until you get your car cleaned up and the smell gone so the reimbursement helps offset any loss of driving income and cleaning fees.  Be sure your car is clean to begin with and if you think there might be a question about condition before the puking or other damage, take photos before you head out. Be aware however, if you make a habit of requesting fees, you’ll probably get suspended for suspected fraud.  Best bet: have vomit bags available!Why it makes other drivers crazy:

    Who wants to see photos of vomit? Except for the lucky few, we’ve all been there, done that.

  6. My rating is dropping, can they really deactivate me?
    Yes, you may be deactivated if your rating drops too low.  In Uber’s terms: “you must maintain an average rating by Users that exceeds the minimum average acceptable rating established by Company for your Territory.”  But don’t sweat it! Ratings go up and down especially when you are new.  Just be pleasant and give an enjoyable ride, it will all work out over time.Why it makes other drivers crazy:  We’ve all chased the ratings, we’ve all learned the hard way not to sweat it, and we all just want to give our passengers a good ride.  It’s just a really old discussion.
  7. My insurance company says they won’t cover me.  What should I do?
    You’re required to maintain insurance that will protect your vehicle and you.  Uber / Lyft insurance only covers you when you have an active passenger in the car.  In some states Uber / Lyft insurance will cover you when you are on the way to the passenger as well. Otherwise, you must get your own insurance. If you have a doubt, call your insurance company.Why it makes other drivers crazy: Because the laws about insurance are different from one state to the next, different insurance companies (and people who work in the companies) all say different things.  Some drivers operate under “don’t ask, don’t tell” to avoid getting dropped from insurance. And then there are drivers who all think they are the only right person when it comes to the coverage.  Just investigate it for yourself, be honest with your insurance and find the best rate.

I remember when I first started.  There were so many uncertainties mixed up in the eager anticipation of getting that first ping.  I watched dozens of videos, read Q & A forums… and it wasn’t a substitute for actually getting on the road.  But even I didn’t read the full terms of service.  And I’ve sure learned a lot in the last year and a half.  So I hope this information will help you get started.

About uberg1rl 68 Articles
I've driven for Uber since October 2015, full and part-time. I started helping local drivers with tips and info. I have served as an Ambassador for UZURV, and now I'm an Ambassador for Lyft as well. I also help lead the local rideshare group.