Great Uber Pool Story From A Fantastic Rider

A recent rider shared an outstanding Uber Pool ride story that he experienced

Sharing Line/Pool stories

Recently I had the privilege to drive an excellent listener and storyteller, whom was also a full-time physician. I think we improved each other’s lives by riding together.

We briefly discussed the differences between Lyft and Uber. I told him my story, and he told me the below story, and we were having a roaring good time!

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He ordered up an Uber at around 5:00pm in the evening on a weekday about a month ago while in Hinsdale. Uber had recently changed the interface on the app which will explain some of the issues with this ride.

He sees his driver pull away from his location, but is able to successfully flag him down and then sees that there already sits a female passenger in the vehicle (in her 50s, blonde, suburban housewife).  He’s never ordered an Uber Pool before, but why not give it a chance.

For some Uber customers the Uber app’s default riding option became Pool instead of UberX after the app was recently updated, and I have heard this from other riders in the past.

He gets into the car and greets his driver by telling the driver his name.

Who am I Pooling with Today?

Since it was his first time riding in a Pool he had questions:

  1. where are we going first?
  2. when do I get to my destination?
  3. who am I sharing a ride with?
  4. how does Uber Pool work?

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He asks his driver a series of questions and immediately determines that English is not a language that his driver is familiar with.  Also, the female passenger next to him is worrying him as there is definitely something wrong with her.  As a physician he is typically able to determine if someone is intoxicated, on recreational drugs, or mentally ill, and he can’t quite figure her out.

He starts to ask the blonde suburban mom where she’s going, what her name is, and a few other questions pertinent to the ride.

Her: Yes.

Yes

She answered “yes” to every single one of his many questions!

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After this big reveal, the driver communicates to him that he’s going to find where to drop off the blonde passenger.  The rider then puts the puzzle together.  His driver was searching for him and asked people as they walked by, “are you _____”, and this woman answered “yes” and got into the vehicle. The best part, in my opinion, was the rider’s unusual name and this woman agreed that it was also her name when asked.

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He determines that he needs to be in a public place and get the authorities involved. He announces to the driver that he’s calling 9-11, the driver doesn’t like the idea, but the rider retorts that “…this is the only way that this ends well.

Mall Cop response

He calls 9-11 and they are at the Oakbrook Mall surrounded by 2 mall cops and 2 police cruisers.  The blonde was passed out drunk on his shoulder.

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The mall cops proceed to ask the rider, “What were you doing with her?

My rider was astonished that a suburban mom could be piss-drunk at 5 in the afternoon on a weekday. While I agree that one shouldn’t become blackout drunk until at least 8:00pm on a weekday, the biggest issue for me is this Uber Pool driver just picked up a random person and prioritized her drop-off ahead of his paying customer.

Have some standards, buddy!

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Lyft Line and Uber Pool Etiquette Guide for Passengers/ Riders

An etiquette guide for the Uber Poolers and Lyft Liners out there, written by a driver who loves Pool and Line rides

Time or Money?

When it comes to ridesharing, ask yourself this question: which am I interested in saving:

1. Time or

2. Money?

Because you can’t save both simultaneously.

If saving time is your primary objective, do not under any circumstances select Uber Pool or Lyft Line. Pick UberX, an upgraded Uber, Lyft classic, or an upgraded Lyft.

If you are interested in saving money, Pool or Line could suit you. But there are other caveats that you are consenting to when you make this choice. Hence the pricing difference. The purpose of this Lyft Line and Uber Pool Etiquette Guide is to help both you and your driver be satisfied with your choice.

 

I have ordered an Uber Pool or Lyft Line ride on my mobile device, what should I do next?

You should have already paid your bar tab, you should have already hugged everyone in your party goodbye, and you should be ready to exit your location and get into my vehicle within a moment’s notice. Why you might ask?

After I arrive at your selected location a 2 minute timer will begin, and the apps both prompt me to leave and cancel your ride if you are a “no-show” after that time period has elapsed. You will be charged $5.00 if I determine you are a “no-show”.

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$5.00  is normally more than what I will receive if I complete a Pool or Line ride on your behalf ($3.75 net after Uber’s 25% fee). I will not hesitate to cancel and collect. Nothing against you, its purely a business decision.

As a passenger, what do I do upon entering your vehicle?

Greet me and the other passengers. I will say my name first and greet you, so you will know that you are getting into the correct (or incorrect) vehicle.

Do not talk on your mobile phone while riding. This is a community ride and engaging in polite conversation with the other riders and myself is expected.

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Where should an Uber Pooler or Lyft Liner sit in your vehicle?

If you are the first passenger to enter the vehicle on either a Pool or Line ride and you are a single rider, ride in the front seat (shotgun). You are riding in the front seat because the next Pool / Line pickup could be a party of 2 (a “double”), and they should be able to sit in the back seat together if they choose.

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If you are the first passenger to enter the vehicle and you are with your declared friend as a “double,” you and your friend can sit where ever you see fit.

Keep your backpack on your lap, no manspreading, and follow the golden rule.

Trifecta rides (3 different parties) happen frequently. Be prepared to sit uncomfortably in the back seat with other strangers for 30 minutes or longer.  This is a feature of Pool and Line, not a bug, as you have prioritized cost over all considerations.

I am already a passenger in Pool / Line ride, my driver has waited significantly longer than the 2 minute limit for the next rider, what should I do?

I suspect that your driver is brand new and not familiar with the ins and outs of the app. Politely mention to your driver that s/he can collect the “no-show” fee, when s/he hits the “cancel no-show” prompt.

When I was a new driver I was not familiar with the “no-show” fee. A passenger politely prompted me, and I was pleased with the result.

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Are any conversation topics frowned upon during a Pool / Line rides?

Yes. Don’t be a dick and follow the golden rule.

As a Pooler or Liner, may I change my drop-off location or add an additional stop?

No. Cancel your ride before you get in my vehicle and eat the cancellation fee. Changes cannot be made through the app, and I will not honor your verbal request for an amendment.

Can I eat, drink, or smoke during a Pool / Line ride?

No. If you cannot do something on the buses or trains within the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), why would you be able to do it in someone’s private vehicle?

That said, if the driver hands out candy or bottled water, have at it while in the vehicle.

I am a new parent and want to ride with my infant child in a Pool / Line

I hope that you, as a responsible parent selected a “double!” An infant, a baby, or a toddler of any size legally requires a properly installed car seat. A car seat takes up a spot in the my vehicle and potentially prevents me from properly executing a Pool or Line ride. If you think keeping your child, or your infant car seat, on your lap is an appropriate accommodation, it is not. Children kick and squirm and are not generally known for sitting still. It is impolite to the other Pool/Line riders, and it may prevent me from best fitting the maximum number of people into my compact car.

If you bring your own car seat, it normally takes longer than 2 minutes for you to secure the car seat base into my car, so pick UberX or Classic Lyft, not Pool or Line as other passengers will be inconvenienced.

Should I complain to my driver and offer a better route than the GPS?

No. Uber Pool and Lyft Line rides are optimized to pick up more passengers.

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As a rider, you might be curious why I am not taking the interstate as its quicker than the local lanes. Rest assured that as your driver, I have been taken out of the decision making process by the rideshare company.  Drivers must take the optimized route as determined by an algorithm.

Should I complain and tell my driver to not pick up additional riders?

No. As your driver, I have no choice. Uber and Lyft automatically add additional riders to an ongoing Pool or Line ride at their convenience and without my consent.

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You should be able to see that other riders were added to your ride on your mobile phone app. Each company’s algorithm, not your driver, or  vocal passengers, determines pickups.

Do I Tip My Driver as a Pooler or Liner?

Yes! Tipping is a pervasive cultural norm in the United States of America. Despite what any rideshare company has messaged to you or has messaged in the past, and despite your beliefs to the contrary, tipping is expected.

Liners have the tipping option e-mailed to them, and it is typical for a $2.00 Line rider to tip an additional $5.00. It seems odd, but it happens a lot.

For social proof, I have provided a link to a comprehensive tipping guide for travelers while in the United States of America. For your convenience, here’s an excerpt:

For waiters at sit-down restaurants, bartenders, barbers/hairdressers/attendants at beauty salons, taxi drivers, tour guides, and food delivery folks, the tip should be calculated as a percentage of your total bill as follows: 10% usually means you aren’t totally happy, 15% usually means all was acceptable, 20% for excellent, over 20% for outstanding.  15-20 percent is considered standard in most communities.

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As drivers, we have the obligation after every ride to score the rider and many of us downgrade your star rating for lack of a cash tip. While you are exiting my vehicle I might score you a 5, but will email the company later to update with a lower star rating.

literally judge you as a rider.

Tell me more about my Rider rating

This is the topic of a future article on Stick Shift Lyft. But here’s a teaser to whet your appetite:

Most riders have a 4.8 or 4.9. A rating of 5.0 generally means that you are new rider and have not had many ratings. While there is robust driver debate, any rider with 4.7 or below is a signal from other drivers that the rider is not worth the time or effort to pickup.

When I know the rider’s rating in advance, I can oftentimes see the personality traits and conversational quirks that manifest a rating of 4.8 or lower.

What do driver’s think of Pool / Line rides?

Based on social media and message boards the consensus is that most drivers dislike Line and Pool rides as they are routinely disadvantageous financially.  Pool/Line rides could be overwhelming for drivers who lack the ability to effectively communicate in dynamic situations and are not social butterflies.

Personally, I LOVE Pool/Line rides.  I drive Lyft and Uber to meet people, have interesting conversations, and make money on the side. Pool/Line rides allow me to meet more people, enjoy many more discussions, and learn new things.

Further, in the Chicago market, drivers are paid bonuses based on the number of rides they complete each week. Pool/Line rides allow me to hit the bonus requirements faster.

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