Stop berating your cabbie. For starters, it’s not his fault the traffic’s crap. But also, your bad attitude could cost you more than a few irritated glances in the rear view mirror – as it turns out that Uber drivers rate you as a passenger just as you rate their driving ability. And get this: the worse your Uber rating, the longer it will take you to get a lift, as on-duty drivers will be less inclined to pick you up. Yes, really.
You can learn how to check your Uber rating here. And once you’ve got over the indignation of not being a perfect 5.0, it’s time to start mending your ways. If you don’t want to be left stranded on the pavement this holiday season, that is…
1. Don’t keep your driver waiting
This isn’t a black cab: there’s no running meter adding up the stationary seconds. If the car’s not moving, the driver’s not earning – and they’ll happily hold you accountable for wasting their precious time.
So just as much as you want them to be there the second you deem them necessary, they want you to be ready and waiting when they eventually turn up. Don’t get in the car and tell the driver to wait while your mate finishes fannying around inside either. Get ready, get in, get going – as being on time will win you favour, and a good rating.
2. Share that Christmas spirit with a tip
Chances are you’d usually round your fare up slightly to give your traditional taxi driver a bit of a tip. So why not do the same with an Uber driver? Huh, tightwad. Tipping has become almost customary in many situations, but the mobile-payment method detaches you from the thought of making your driver’s day with a couple of extra quid.
Splashing the cash on a small tip can go a long way to leaving you in good favour with your driver, and boosting your passenger rating. A small outlay now could mean big gains in the future.
3. Keep the booze bottled
This ain’t no limo, bruv – this is an Uber. So leave your champagne, stolen pint glass or 2-litre bottle of White Lightning behind before jumping in the back seat. And while Ubers are great for getting your shopping home, popping open a tinny in the back seat mid-journey is very much frowned upon – just as you will be.
True, just like on the bus or tube you’ll probably get away with it. But when the buzz wears off, the bad rating will be there long after the hangover’s healed.
4. Don’t spill stuff, especially what you’ve already eaten
It’s not just booze that’ll get you in trouble. All food and drink is a bad rating risk, whether on the way down or – bleh – on the way back up again. So tempting as it might be, try to remember this when you stumble, bleary-eyed and booze filled, into the back of your Uber with can of Coke in hand and kebab in lap.
And don’t, whatever you do, blow chunks. Because when you leave, some poor sod has to scrub and vacuum away your filth. Meaning their opinion of you is likely to suffer a mite. Remember: the stains come out, the rating hit doesn’t.
5. Don’t like the radio? Deal with it
You might not be keen on the driver’s station of choice but don’t push his buttons (literally or figuratively). If you’re riding shotgun, helping yourself to the radio controls will earn you a slap on the wrist, an incredulous look and plenty of rating-based demerits.
Like any cab, some drivers will be willing to change the channel upon a polite request – some will even ask what you prefer – none will be happy if you jump in gung ho, twiddling buttons at will. You’ll never get a ride in this town again, boy.
6. Have your destination punched into the app
Just like keeping your driver waiting, forcing them to spend an age typing in addresses into their 7 different sat-navs is only going to wind them up. Make sure then that you’ve input your destination when you request your car – you’ve got to do something while you wait anyway, right?!
Sure, the chances are, with your driver still deciding between his most trusted mapping service of choice, they’ll still ask you where you want to go even if you’ve added it to your order. But hey, be friendly and live with their quirks. You can always give them a crappy rating later when you’re rolling in your perfect 5.0 score.