It was the video that went viral and shocked most people who viewed it: A Miami doctor is caught on camera in a heated and physical argument with an Uber driver. With more and more people turning to the popular car service to get around town, what do you need to know before your next Uber ride?
Sharon Schweitzer, an international business etiquette expert, award-winning author, keynote speaker, corporate trainer and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide, says while being an Uber passenger seems simple enough, many people overlook some of the most basic rules of etiquette.
Her tips to being a better Uber passenger:
Order when 100% ready: Only order your vehicle when you are completely ready to go, you are fully dressed, completely groomed and have all packages and bags with you. The driver may be around the corner one minute away. Don’t make them wait, even though some drivers may wait for a few minutes. With UberPOOL, other customers don’t want to wait for you either.
Crowded pick-up point: After ordering your vehicle, if your location is crowded, contact the driver by text only to describe what color clothing you are wearing.
Contacting the driver: Avoid calling or texting a driver unless absolutely necessary. Not only is using a handheld device prohibited in many cities and localities; it is dangerous, because they are driving at the time.
Confirm your driver: Check you have the right driver and vehicle by confirming the driver’s face, vehicle and license number, and name before you enter the vehicle. The Uber APP provides a photo of the driver, their name, and the make & license of the vehicle. Double check the license number and photo if you have any uncertainty.
Plan to open your own car door: Depending on the city, traffic patterns and local ordinances, some drivers may open the car door for you. In certain locales this is prohibited. Please don’t act like you are entitled to this service.
Entering & Seating: In the U.S., plan to enter the vehicle on the curb side, away from traffic. Sit in the back seat, on the passenger side, diagonal to the driver so you can have a dialogue about route and answer drive questions.
Assess the luggage scenario: Most drivers assist with baggage. I appreciate a driver who loads mine in the trunk; however, I do not expect them to do so. If a driver does not get out to assist, I do it myself without complaint. Be considerate, they may be injured.
Speak-Up: Share your thoughts politely if you believe the driver is using a route you dislike, driving too fast or doing something you don’t like. If he or she doesn’t listen, comment specifically when you rate them. Don’t just provide a low rating. Back it up.
Temper-tantrums & over-indulgence: It is illegal to drink alcohol in an Uber vehicle in almost every state. Understand that an Uber driver does not have to accept you as a passenger and may cancel the ride. In our tech savvy society, almost everyone is connected at all times and your behavior is probably being recorded. So behave!
No mess: No-feet-on-the-seat, eating, drinking alcohol or any beverage, smoking e-cigarettes, barfing, changing diapers or anything messy in the vehicle. Remember other passengers will enter after you exit and it is not yours. Treat the vehicle better than you do your own.
Avoid distractions: Safe travel to your destination trumps boisterous behavior and loud phone conversations. Be polite to your driver, thank them, and take your trash with you.
Understand & provide a good rating when deserved: Be honest when rating your driver after your ride ends. Uber may be changing the 1 – 5-star rating to an emoji. Understand that a rating of anything less than 5 stars may jeopardize the driver.
To Tip or Not Tip: Tipping for good service is the U.S. American way! If you have ever been a server or tipped a barber, bartender, or babysitter, then you appreciate rewarding good service.