Ever wonder why it takes you forever to get a ride with a ride-sharing app such as Uber, while your friend standing right next to you gets picked up in minutes? It might not just be bad luck. Apps such as Uber not only let you rate your driver — they also let your driver rate you on a five-star scale. And when a driver sees that there’s a fare nearby, they also see your rating, and decide whether you’re worth the hassle.
Have you been a gigantic jerk and want to redeem yourself? Kim Aberle, an Uber driver based in Los Angeles, gave Cosmopolitan.com some tips about how to become a five-star passenger and boost your ratings. She said that she understands if you don’t feel like chatting, want to take a nap, or make a business phone call from the back seat. But she loves having fun with passengers so much that she posts selfies with them on Instagram.
In general, as long as you follow these basic rules, she’ll likely give you a five-star rating and help you maintain a stellar reputation.
1. Learn your rating, if you can. If you use Uber, here’s how to see your rating. Open the app, hit the menu on the top left corner, go to Help, Account and Payment, Account Settings and Ratings, and then, ‘I’d like to know my rating.’ Hit Submit, wait a few agonising seconds … and now you know the average rating from all your Uber drivers. (Mine’s a 4.72 out of 5, not that I’m bragging.) Here’s a step-by-step process.
2. Make your pickup destination as specific as possible. Sometimes your phone’s GPS might be too wonky to tell your driver the exact place you’ll be waiting. So be sure to manually enter the address where you want to be picked up, so your driver doesn’t have to circle the neighbourhood three times to find you. And make sure you’re not near any roadblocks or other obstacles that make it impossible for the driver to physically get to you.
3. Running late? Give your driver a call. Time is money, and the longer your driver is just sitting around waiting for a mystery passenger, the more annoyed he or she will get. ‘The driver will feel like they’re being stood up,’ Aberle says. ‘We don’t mind waiting but if we’re waiting too long, we begin to wonder, am I wasting my time here?’ A brief heads-up is all you need.
4. Verify you’re looking at the right car before climbing in. If you’re waiting outside the bar for your car, it’s likely that you’ll be in good company. So when the car you think is yours pulls up, take note of the name of your driver, and before even getting in, say, ‘Are you Bob? I’m Susan.’ The driver can verify you’re the right passenger, and you can be sure you didn’t just get into someone else’s Uber and ruin their night.
5. Don’t be a backseat driver. Even the best GPS system isn’t infallible, so don’t scream at your driver for missing a turn during your trip. Aberle says she will sometimes give passengers three or four stars if they’re rude about directions. She’ll also dock stars for people who try to make her speed, or drop them off in the wrong place when they’re trying to rush to the airport. It’s your fault you’re running late, not your driver’s. Just leave earlier next time.
6. Follow the rules. Don’t try to convince your UberPool driver to not pick up other passengers on the route. (That’s unfair to your driver, who’s missing out on a fare.) Don’t hail an Uber for your friends and not show up yourself, or insist they make a stop to drop your friends off after you get out. (If your friends misbehave, there is no accountability for them and it could put your driver at risk.) Basically, if your driver says he or she can’t do what you want, don’t push them, because their jobs are on the line.
7. Remember, this is likely their personal car. Even though you’re paying for the privilege, you’re still a guest in their car, and that means you should treat your ride with respect. Don’t spill stuff everywhere, damage the seats or slam the door on your way out.
8. Say thank you. Seriously, it’s not that difficult.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com.au
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