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The 10 Commandments of Uber: an Etiquette Primer

Updated on May 4, 2015


Uber is an amazing and groundbreaking new service that is likely to have deep and lasting impact on societies around the world. Because the system is so new and novel, many passengers are unsure of exactly how to use the service. As drivers, we are often frightened to confront passengers, even if they are costing us money, because we are required to maintain a 4.6-star rating to keep our jobs and we don't want to risk upsetting our customers.

The only recourse drivers have is to rate YOU. If you get bad passenger ratings then other drivers will become increasingly unlikely to agree to pick you up. Here are some tips for having a harmonious experience as an Uber passenger!


1. If we take a long time to get to you, it's probably not because we're lazy or stupid.

It's because there was traffic, or you're far away. We do NOT make any money while we're driving to you. If anything, a driver is doing you a favor by driving fifteen minutes to get to you, so maybe consider offering a little tip for the trouble.


2. Be SURE you want a ride before you call for a driver.

Cancellations suck for us because we get NO money for them, even if we drove fifteen minutes to get to your area. Emergencies happen, but if you MUST cancel, do so as quickly as possible.


3. Respect the car.

Don't smoke in the car. Don't even ask. Don't try to bring animals into the car unless you have a crate. If a driver offers you free candy or water bottles, don't hide the trash. If you can't take the trash with you, just leave it openly on the seat so we can see it and deal with it for you.


4. Tip for making us sit around or drive into a low traffic area.

Here's what an average ride looks like: you call the driver, she shows up in about five minutes, you jump in, she drives you to another place in town, you jump out. In those cases, a tip isn't really necessary.

Here are situations when you should give a tip: if you take a long time getting out to the car, if the driver has to go a long way out of the busier part of town, or if you ask the driver to make a stop, or if there's heavy traffic. The driver gets NO money for driving to get to you or driving back to town after dropping you off in the suburbs, and even when the meter is running we are getting practically nothing for sitting in heavy traffic. On top of all that, while we're waiting or you and your friends to decide which bar to go to we can't accept other calls.

I'd suggest a minimum of about a dollar per minute you make the driver wait.


5. Safety first!

Don't try to put more people into a car than there are seatbelts. Don't ask the driver to speed, or do anything else that is unsafe, and DON'T bring an open container of alcohol into the vehicle. This could get the driver in serious trouble and most drivers would be hesitant to argue or turn down the fare and risk getting a bad rating.

6. Give a 5 star rating, even for average service!

If our rating average drops below 4.6 stars we get FIRED, so even a 4 star rating is seriously bad for us. I think a much better system would be to pay drivers with good ratings more and low ratings less, but this is the system we have.

Don't give less than 5 stars unless the driver was seriously rude, dangerous, or horrible, because even with a 4 star rating you're essentially making a very strong vote to get that person fired.

7. Answer the phone!

It's very stressful when we can't find you and we don't hear from you, and we have to sit there for fifteen minutes, UNPAID, fretting over whether we should cancel the fare or not. Also, remember that your driver is DRIVING while en route to you, so don't get miffed if he doesn't answer right away when YOU call.


8. If there's a problem, tell us!

If you don't like the music, air conditioning, route, or anything else about your driver, SAY SOMETHING. Don't just sit there and fume and punish us with bad ratings without even letting us know there was a problem.


9. We are not trying to screw you over.

It is very unlikely that an Uber driver will try to pull off any of the traditional taxicab scams. We have no incentive to "take you for a long ride." The risk of you giving us a bad rating is far too high. If you don't think your driver is taking the best route, just let us know. We want you to be happy because we don't want to get fired.

In most situations if the driver gets lost, he's just as stressed out as you are. If the driver gets lost or makes a mistake, try to remember that everyone has a bad day at work sometimes. Consider very carefully whether you want the driver to get fired over costing you five or ten minutes and a couple bucks.

If you do think an Uber driver has tried to scam you, or if the driver makes you uncomfortable in any way, you should notify Uber right away so they can look into the situation.


10. Consider tipping for great service.

Uber says they "take care of the tip" for you, but that's meaningless. Uber does not give drivers any sorts of tips or rewards for high ratings. We are paid reasonably for "normal" fares, but if your driver does a great job or goes out of his or her way for you then a small tip would go a long way. I'd suggest about 15% - 20% of the total fare, or one dollar per minute the driver has to wait for you.

That's all, folks!

This etiquette guide is neither endorsed nor approved by Uber. The content of this article is strictly the opinion of its author and should not be considered to be officially associated with Uber or its affiliates.

Do you drive or ride with Uber? Have any tips for drivers or passengers?


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