Confessions of an Uber driver part two: What we don’t tell you

Nov. 9, 2015

Alexander Nedd
anedd@uccs.edu

Uber is a downloadable app that allows me to pick you up using my own car and drop you off at half the expense of a taxi.

The service is so popular, it’s created backlash in other countries and cities and is considered a staple for college students.

What I’m sharing with you now is considered privileged information.

I’ve driven for Uber for four months, and within that time, I have managed to grasp what is expected by both other drivers and customers that we pick up. Put simply, there are major do’s and don’ts.

While each fare is different, you can prevent making costly mistakes by following these guidelines. It also makes life easier on the driver.

Here is what Uber doesn’t tell you.

Those that frequently use Uber might be familiar with paying higher prices during peak times (usually Friday and Saturday nights, around 2 a.m. when the bar closes).

Uber defends its surge pricing by saying it’s essential to ensure all customers receive the fastest trip arrival time while also providing an incentive for drivers to stay online. The policy works when it’s not a major holiday.

On Halloween, I picked up a couple from downtown Colorado Springs and drove them to Powers Boulevard. When I finished the trip, the fare totaled $150.

The couple was not happy.

While I am not in control of Uber’s pricing and fare calculation, I can warn others to pay attention to their rates before requesting a ride. Uber does warn customers of high peak times before you request a ride. When this happens, wait five minutes and request again. It can save you a ton of money and a lot of frustration.

While Uber is still growing in Colorado Springs, its popularity soars just 60 miles to the north, in Denver. This is where I do the majority of my driving.

On any given Friday night, I can be sure to make almost $100, even starting as late as 9 p.m.

But, despite the extra cash, there are dangers to traveling that far, specifically when customers leave their valuables.

From keys to weed, I’ve given back a number of items to customers who have had the privilege of riding with me. And trust me, it is a privilege.

While it is my responsibility to give objects back to their respective owners and not steal, driving back to you wastes time, gas and takes away from my ability to make more money.

If an Uber driver has tracked you down, as I have for many customers, understand the sacrifice made.

Have your address ready.

Uber is relatively new in Colorado, and every day, drivers are learning new places that are not in their communities.

Hopping in and telling to go to so and so isn’t the smartest move. Also, giving turn by turn directions increases the chance of me missing a turn and you having to pay more.

Please, to make matters easy on everyone, have an exact address ready, and make sure it’s the correct one you want. The driver doesn’t, and shouldn’t take responsibility for a wrong address given by you. Be sure to have it read out and tell us if you believe you made a mistake.

(Bonus) We like tips.

While Uber allows drivers to keep 80 percent of the fare, costs such as gas and keeping our car clean fall on us. If you believe your driver did an amazing job, tip them.

It makes a big difference and softens the hit to our wallet to drive you. Is it mandatory? Absolutely not. But I guarantee every driver you tip gives you a five star rating, even if it’s just a two dollar tip.

Uber driving is amazing, and I truly enjoy it, but with any work there is always room for improvement.

With these guidelines in place, the Uber experience can only get better. Follow them and you’ll have five star service each time.