You’ve realized by now it’s not all $20 tips and sweet-smelling people. What’s been your biggest trouble or annoyance?
If you’re at the right place and time, you will get fares one after the other. However, sometimes you’ll sit 20 or 30 minutes with nobody, even when it looks like a target-rich area. What do you do?
First, squash the wiggles. You certainly feel like a four-year-old stuck too long at a stuffy restaurant. Make phone calls or check your social media profiles. Get out of the vehicle and move around. And, of couse, Murphy’s Law demands that as soon as you get in line at the grocery store or go to the bathroom, you will get a ping.
You’ll have twice as many hooks in the water if you drive for both Uber and Lyft. Once you have the hang of one service, apply for the other. They don’t want to share, but you can. Follow the instructions of the RideShareGuy to double your action.
Bring something to do. Read a book. Play a game on your phone or better yet, bring a notebook and jot down your experiences. Document the characters, dialogue and oddities you get to see. Has anyone written the ride-share comedy yet? Why not you?
I once saw a guy in a tuxedo at 1:45 a.m. leap straight into the air and jack-knife into a garbage can. The lid closed over his feet and he was gone. The athleticism amazed me, especially at last call.
Check the weekend update Uber or Lyft emailed you. See what’s going on in town. Maybe something’s about to let out.
Too much sitting will tempt you to drive around looking.
Don’t drive around looking. Your gas is only paid for when you have a passenger. Driving from spot to spot waiting for a beep is a waste of fuel, even though it feels like action.
I live about 10 miles from the center of town and typically feel like driving downtown to start my shift. I resist that urge. I turn on the app at home and wait. If you can’t kill time at home, where can you kill time? Before long, someone is looking to go downtown just like me.
Watch the patterns and stay put. Usually if someone wants to go there, someone needs to come back. Ignore this if someone needs a ride to the sticks. No one needs a ride from the middle of nowhere.
Turn off the engine when you are waiting.
And stop mashing that accelerator, Andretti. Being a lead foot is tough on your bottom line. According to FuelEconomy.gov, every five miles per hour you drive over 50 is like paying another sixteen cents per gallon. Besides, even if you drive like a rabbit on your own time, when you’re on the ride-share clock you need to mellow out.
Keeping current on oil changes, air filters and other basics such as tire pressure will save some gas money. Every little thing adds up when you’re putting on lots of miles.
Tired of Drunks?
Lyft and Uber exist primarily as an alternative to drunk driving. You’re doing a good thing. Your sloshy passengers probably would have decided to drive if it wasn’t for you.
Uber says DUI arrests are down by 10 percent in Seattle since they started operating there. Austin banned Uber and Lyft from the city and DWI arrests increased by 7.5 percent in the weeks that followed.
Still, drunk passengers are loud, lewd, obnoxious and always a risk. I worked many years in the bar biz, so maybe I have a higher tolerance for soggy citizens. If there is an incident of vomit, both companies can charge the offending customer up to $200. Yet it will spoil your night, so consider being prepared with all-weather floor mats, paper towels and a spray bottle of disinfectant.
My wife suggests a paper bag inside a plastic bag, just in case.
Before driving a drunken crowd anywhere, get a clear address in your phone and double check it with the most responsible client. If they get confused, change their mind or just get slurry once you’re underway you will know where they need to go.
Keep your eyes peeled and drive defensively. Some people did choose to drive drunk tonight. The highest numbers of drunk drivers are on the road between midnight and 3 am.
Not Dull Enough?
Just roll with it. Consider the cubicles others must work in. Imagine the horror of working with the same people over and over. And if you want to call it a day right now, you can.
What? Are you going to fire yourself for quitting early?
Ride-sharing puts you in the middle of the party and you get to be the hero.