What Every Rideshare Passenger Should Know (or Where the #@$%& Is My Driver?)

At three paychecks and counting, I am getting to be an old hand at the rideshare driving game. But there are things that, for reasons of courtesy, I can’t tell my passengers while they’re in my car; I can only make sympathetic noises and say things like, “Yes, I can see why that might upset you… I’m really sorry that happened to you…” and so forth. So if you use the ridesharing services such as Lyft, Uber, and SideCar, here are the things your driver would like to tell you, but seldom can:

  1. The estimated time to pickup is only an approximation. Half the time, your driver will be heading away from you, not towards you, when she receives your request. Finding a way to turn around safely, in heavy traffic, often in areas where turns are restricted, takes some time. In addition, if you are on the opposite side of the street from your driver when she approaches, there’s more time required to get to your location for a safe pickup. Please be patient.
  2. We can’t find you if we don’t know where you are. I know that you know exactly where you are! And your phone shows a blinking dot on the map, representing you, yep, exactly where you are. So, your phone knows where you are, too. And you’re late. So with hands shaking from anxiety, you tap the request button without looking at the screen closely.

    Sadly, your driver doesn’t see that blinking dot. What the driver sees is the little pin that’s next to the blinking dot, which marks your pickup point. She also sees a street address, calculated by the app from that pin, not from the blinking dot. And if you, dear rider, aren’t careful, that could be blocks away from you. Why? Simple. Street addresses are calculated from the U.S. Postal Service database. What the USPS knows about an address is, well, where the mail slot is. That’s not always a useful place to pick you up.

    So, please, no matter how rushed you are, slow down. Take a deep breath. Zoom in on the map so you can really see where that pin is. If it’s not where you want to be picked up, move the pin to where you do want to be picked up. Then, look at the street address the app’s calculated. If that address isn’t where you would like your driver to pick you up (maybe it’s around the corner), carefully tweak the pin position until the app shows a good address. Then and only then tap the request button.


Please, please take the time for this. You’ll save yourself ten, fifteen, or more minutes of frustration, drivers giving up on you, passenger no-show fees, and becoming ever more late, for the minute or so it takes to be certain that you’re requesting a pickup at the right place.

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