- Uber and Lyft have taken the world by storm.
- Business Insider has spoken with dozens of drivers to learn more about what it’s like to work for the ride-hailing apps.
- A handful of complaints are nearly universal among drivers.
Millions of drivers shuttle passengers to their destinations around the globe on behalf of Uber and Lyft.
Those drivers meet all sorts of passengers, good and bad. Dozens of drivers have told Business Insider that, on the whole, their experiences have been overwhelmingly positive.
But as with any public-facing job, there will be some bad apples.
We asked drivers to tell us their biggest pet peeves, which riders might improve their rating by avoiding. Here’s what they said (last names have been removed to protect privacy):
Don’t eat — or at least ask first
- Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
The No. 1 complaint among drivers involved odors. While you may not mind the smell of fried chicken, the lingering smell could end up causing a future rider to leave a less-than-stellar rating for the driver.
“Entitled riders think they can eat whatever they want in my car,” Amanda, a driver in Las Vegas, told Business Insider. “People forget these are our personal vehicles.”
Another driver, Matt from Wisconsin, said he didn’t mind going through drive-thru windows for passengers if they asked, but on one condition: “I tell them, ‘We can absolutely go to Taco Bell or KFC or whatever, but you have to wait to open it until I drop you off.'”
Other smells have consequences too
- REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
It doesn’t stop at food. Other smells can have an even more drastic effect on a driver’s ability to keep working. The No. 1 culprit is marijuana.
“Young people get in my car all the time reeking of marijuana,” Wallace, a driver in Connecticut, told Business Insider. “I don’t mind personally – as long as they aren’t smoking in the car – but if another passenger so much as complains about the car smelling like weed, it can get me deactivated from the app.”
Stan, a driver in the Cleveland area, said he used a Febreze spray after driving any rider “with extreme pet or body odor when they exit the vehicle.”
“I’ve been pretty lucky with passengers, but when they get in right after smoking a cigarette it can linger in my car, which can then lead to a bad review,” said Gabriella, a driver in Boulder, Colorado.
Don’t ignore your driver
- Brad Barket/Getty Images for DJ D-Nice)
Many passengers, and probably many of the drivers, want to ride in silence. Still, drivers told Business Insider that contact with riders was one of the few human interactions they might have in a shift, given that they have no boss or office.
“I love to drive, but sometimes when I pick up a customer they don’t say hello and just get in and start giving orders,” said Dorothy, a driver in the New York City suburbs.
Don’t slam the door
Uber (and Lyft) drivers are, more often than not, using their own personal vehicle to provide rides. They consistently said they wished riders would also treat them as such.
“Far too many people slam my very light doors,” Joe, a driver in Phoenix, said.
On minivans with automatic doors, things get even more complicated.
“I finally just put up signs inside and out telling people to not touch anything,” Menard, a driver in Miami, said. “Just let me open and close the door. It’s much easier.”
Even Uber’s CEO agrees. “Don’t slam the door,” he said in a recent interview.
Don’t call your kid a ride
- Tristan Fewings/Getty
Both Lyft and Uber prohibit passengers under 18 without a parent or guardian, but that doesn’t stop many parents from ordering rides for their kids or from teenagers requesting rides on their own. It can land drivers in serious trouble.
“No one under 18 should be getting rides unsupervised,” Zachariah, a driver in Los Angeles, said. “I cancel those but feel really bad about it.”
Please bring your own car seat
- Getty Images
“My main issue is people that use me to collect their young kids from work or doctor’s appointments and don’t have a car seat,” Zachariah continued. “I tell them I can’t drive their 2-year-old and they get pissed and say it’s fine, but it’s not and puts me at serious risk of a lawsuit so I cancel the ride and drive away.”
Don’t flirt with your driver
- REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
This was the top complaint among female drivers we spoke with.
“In only two months doing this I’ve dealt with everything from having my breast fondled to my life threatened,” said Amanda, a driver in Dallas.
Other women said they drove only during daylight hours to avoid problematic encounters.
“I get rude and harassing comments from men in the day, so I don’t even want to know what it would be like at night when people are drinking,” Jenny, a teacher who drives in northern New Jersey during breaks in the school year, said.
Don’t be late
- REUTERS/Desmond Boylan
After five minutes, Uber will charge a no-show passenger, but drivers aren’t paid during that interim time.
“My biggest complaint is waiting on passengers beyond the required wait time,” Jeff, a driver in Colorado, said. “You hit the button to request the ride. What are you doing?”