7 things Uber drivers in Toronto wish you knew
Prior to lockdown, before working from home was even an option to many people, taking an Uber or Lyft ride across the city was a weekly occurance.
As the city opens up, and some sort of normalcy returns to Toronto as the vaccines roll out, there's no doubt that the world's most popular rideshare apps will see plenty more use.
While just about everyone has chatted with an Uber driver at some point, not many have asked for their side of the story. Here's a few things those drivers wish riders knew.
This may seem like something most people would already know, but apparently it's something drivers deal with every day. Waiting for a customer to finish getting dressed, pay their bill or say goodbye to whoever they were visiting means lost money for the driver.
Unlike cabs, Uber charges mostly based on distance travelled. If you take more than five minutes to get into the car after the driver arrives, don't be surprised if they cancel the trip and mark you as a no-show with a $5 charge.
Normally when a car arrives to pick someone up, it's the passenger side facing the sidewalk. For solo riders, most Uber drivers would prefer that you continue to sit on that side of the car rather than sliding into the seat behind the driver.
"Anytime someone sits directly behind me, I get nervous," one Uber driver yells blogTO. "I can't really see what they're doing and it makes the whole ride really uncomfortable."
A lot of Uber drivers live outside the downtown core and as a result may not know even some of the more common streets.
They follow the app's directions for a reason, so if you're asking for an alternate route don't be surprised if they don't understand where you want them to go after rattling off a bunch of street names.
Instead of "turn right at Shaw," asking for a right at the next lights will make things easier for both of you.
While spilling a few drops of coffee may seem harmless, imagine how grossed out you would be if you got into an Uber and saw some brown splotches on the back seat.
Even small messes mean the driver likely has to stop and either clean it up themselves or get it cleaned before taking on more passengers or risk getting no tips and a low star rating for having a messy vehicle.
A lot of people seem to think that Uber takes 25 percent of the fares but in reality it's often much more. Any sort of booking fee goes to Uber, and then after factoring in that drivers are expected to pay for their own gas, repairs and other costs, there can be very little left over for the driver.
"If I'm taking someone on a $20 ride, I expect to get about $5-$10 out of that," says one driver. "I don't think people realise how much we rely on tips."
One of the most common things Uber drivers seem to hear is how someone's phone is about to die. More than one driver said a phone charger in the car has been by far the most popular thing they've offered customers.
"One time a woman started to cry after I offered to charge her phone," says a driver. "I don't think she was even drunk."
That being said, don't berate drivers who don't have a phone charger ready for you to use. Their job is to drive you around; any extra services they offer from chargers to water bottles is a bonus.
Most drivers will naturally assume their typical rider isn't looking to chat about their day. Unless you get the conversation started, they'll instead leave you alone and let you browse your phone or stare longingly out the window during the ride.
If you would like to chat, please feel free to initiate some conversation, but don't feel like you have to by any means. Most drivers enjoy a quality talk as it helps brighten up the monotony of a day spent driving, but they understand that most people prefer a peaceful ride.
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