What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened to you while rideshare driving? If you’re a new driver (or just curious about what’s happened to other drivers), we had senior RSG contributor John Ince share some of the 5 things/passengers rideshare companies should warn you about (but don’t!) before rideshare driving.
When you sign up to be a driver, the rideshare companies mostly conjure up positive images – hefty paychecks, social interaction and lots of great stories to tell your friends about. But drivers quickly learn it’s not all fun and games. Sometimes there are some big surprises.
1. Remember that Barf Bag
The vast majority of Uber/Lyft passengers are courteous, respectful and sober. But if you drive on weekends, prepare yourself for an occasional passenger who has had way too much to drink. Learn to recognize the signs – unsteady gait when entering the car, hiccups, a long silences in conversation, a pale look.
If you suspect problems, open the window and ask the passenger if they’re okay. Offer to pull over beside the road and of course, be sure to tuck a barf bag into the pocket behind the front seats. Unfortunately I had to learn all this the hard way. Here’s what happened:
It’s New Year’s day, just after midnight I get ping while crossing into San Francisco. I know it’s busy because it’s a 2.8 surge and I got the ping from 3 miles away, just halfway across the bridge. I take the Fremont Street exit and there are police everywhere it’s like a disaster zone.
Traffic is at a crawl. Pedestrians are everywhere. My pickup is at a nearby hotel. Typically it would only be about 3 minutes away, but it took me 5 changes of the traffic light just to get across Market Street. I called pax en route to tell him traffic is at a complete standstill.
After about 20 minutes I finally arrived at the hotel where a guy and his date get in the backseat. He’s none too pleased about the 20-minute wait and he needs a ride across the bridge back to Oakland, which with the surge will net me close to $100. But about three minutes into ride the guy’s date loses her dinner all over the back seat and her gown.
The guy is really annoyed now. He orders his date to get out of the car and they take off somewhere, while I’m left with barf all over the back seat. So much for my New Year’s Eve “experience.”
The good news is that I got $150 cleaning fee but only after taking pictures and making my case to Lyft. Note: beware, there have been a slew of recent media stories accusing drivers of scamming passenger by submitting false picture of barf in an attempt to get a cleaning fee. Be forewarned – it you are one of those scofflaws, you’ll be de-activated if discovered.