Where to pee?

Rideshare drivers have always struggled with finding a clean restroom while out on the road. Since the onset of Covid-19 those choices have dwindled dramatically. 

One option is at the gas station when you fill up. They often have open restrooms but it is not a guarantee. 

The worst situation is when you have to go and there aren’t any choices at all. I’ve started carrying a product I found on Amazon called Mini Toilet. Its single use only and can be used by both men and women. After use, it zip locks closed and comes with a small garbage bag for disposal. Amazon often runs out of this one so here is another option called Coolrunner Disposal Urine bags and basically works the same. I am sure there are plenty of other similar products out there but these are the ones I’ve tried and they work great!

When this is all over, I hope we can go back to using Starbucks as they have a location on every corner. 

Wednesday: Contacting driver support for both Uber and Lyft

Get your cleaning and PPE products NOW from Uber or Lyft

On Dec 31st, unemployment insurance will run out for gig workers which includes rideshare and app-based food delivery drivers. There is a small chance Congress may pass an extension or new legislation. However, if Congress fails to act, those drivers who have not been driving will be forced to return to feed their families.

With the rate of infections increasing at an alarming rate across the country, all drivers will be looking for sources of PPE(personal protection equipment). Store shelves in many areas are already empty of things like Clorox wipes.  

Both Uber and Lyft offer PPE to their drivers. The distribution of these products varies by company and from city to city. 

Click here for instructions on how to claim yours from Uber. 

According to CNN Lyft is providing drivers free PPE at its Lyft stores. Lyft also has a program to help its drivers purchase and install plexiglass in their cars. 

If you already have a supply but need to re-up or haven’t received or purchased your PPE, the time to act is now! Demand for these items is sure to increase over the next several months.

Monday: Where to pee?

Your car smells like weed because of your last rider, now what?

Most of us have experienced a rider in our cars smelling of weed. Not only can the smell be unpleasant for us drivers but it can be problematic for our status with Uber. Your next rider may report you to Uber for being under the influence simply because of the smell. This can result in an account suspension and a loss of income. Furthermore, the path to reactivation can involve a lot of time and energy.

So is there anything we can do to prevent this from happening beside not accepting riders who smell of weed?

Windows open – As soon as the rider is out of the car, go offline. Next, spend the next 5 minutes or so driving around with your windows down airing out your car. Doing this right away can help prevent the smell from settling into your car’s upholstery. 

Ozium – People often think that spraying air freshener in your car will fix this problem. However, you may be making things worse! First, you are adding another smell to your car that mixes with the smell of weed, making an even worse smell. Secondly, riders are sensitive to air fresheners and you may be giving a rider a headache and giving yourself a bad rating. Instead, try using an air sanitizer like Ozium. Not only does it kill bacteria in the air like Covid-19 it helps to kill the odor of weed. After spraying the interior, let spray settle in your car for a few minutes. Next drive around for a few minutes again airing out your car with the windows down. Now you are ready again to accept requests.

Following the above suggestions can help you avoid bad ratings and continue driving and making money.

Wednesday: Getting your cleaning PPE products for Uber or Lyft

What roadside assistance program are you using?

As a rideshare driver, you never know when you will need to call for roadside assistance. Keys locked in the car, flat tire, stuck in a ditch, or worse an accident, having a company you can rely on can bring you peace of mind. 

Today, there are a wide variety of programs available but how do you choose the one that is right for you? According to Living On The Cheap  “When deciding which program is right for you and your family, consider who needs to be covered and what vehicles they drive, and whether you need to be covered in other vehicles. You also want to compare different companies’ average response times for service calls, whether memberships cover all costs or if you’ll need to seek reimbursement, whether calls cover accidents or just electrical/mechanical failure, and how often and for what distance towing is covered.” 

There are 3 ways to choose your roadside assistance program:

New or certified used car purchases – When you purchase a new or certified used car, they often come with roadside assistance included for free. Edmunds has put together a list of manufacturers that offer this service.

Traditional programs – The most common way to get coverage is to purchase a program like AAA but there are other options available. Good Sam Roadside Assistance, AARP Roadside Assistance with AllState (55yr+), and others. Pricing can vary greatly depending on the types of coverage and number of drivers. It can take some time to sort out all of the options but that homework can pay off with savings.

Credit cards companies, phone companies, and auto insurance carriers – American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Discover all offer their members some form of coverage but it is limited. Both Verizon and AT&T have coverage for a small additional monthly fee. Insurance companies often have their own programs, but again there is an additiinal monthly charge beyond your plan’s premiums.

Whichever route you choose, you can be secure in knowing that a backup plan is in place when you are stranded.

Monday: Your car smells like weed because of your last rider, now what?

Don’t discount riders who say they will tip in the app!

You’ve just completed a trip and the rider says to you as they’re leaving, “Thank you, I’ll tip you in the app”. You turn your head, roll your eyes and give them 1 star. 

When it comes to earning tips from riders, many of us have been jaded. Tips that were promised by riders never appear in our accounts. No one can debate that the way you feel isn’t justified but are you jumping the gun?

When you complete a trip, a driver is prompted to rate the rider before moving on.  Riders rarely order a second Uber right away and thus are not prompted to rate you or give you a tip right away. In fact, it may be several days or longer before you receive their rating or a tip. Some riders aways tip, some never tip and others only tip when they feel you did really did a good job. The way you rate your rider should be based on how they conducted themselves in your car over the entire trip and not on what they said at the end of the trip. Neither riders nor drivers want to receive a 1 star rating especially if it wasn’t justified. Be patient, that tip may still be coming!

Friday: What roadside assistance program are you using?

Drivers are responsible for checking IDs when delivering alcohol

In some states like California, UberEats drivers are temporarily permitted to deliver alcohol with their food delivery orders. Adding beer, wine or mixed drinks brings added revenue to struggling restaurants and brings increased demand for delivery. If this option is available in your state, you do have to opt-in for this kind of delivery. However, this also means drivers are responsible for checking ids and more!

The Washington Post had an article back in April that went over some of the perils drivers face when accepting these deliveries. One of the most shocking is restaurants including alcoholic drinks in orders even though it was illegal in their state.

In the Golden State, authorities are taking action. California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is conducting sting operations and fining drivers for not checking ids at the door. These fines can range from $250 – $1000, ouch! The best way for drivers to protect themselves is to follow all of the steps listed on the Uber Help page on delivering alcohol.

Lastly, remember that these orders can not sit upfront with you because of open container laws and must be kept in your trunk.

Wednesday: Don’t discount riders who say they will tip in the app!

Dealing with vomit, are you prepared?

Many ridershare riders use services like Uber and Lyft because they have been drinking and do not want to drive drunk. Organizations like MADD have endorsed using Uber to reduce drunk driving. We as rideshare drivers play an important role in reducing DUIs but run the risk of a rider vomiting in our cars.

What can we do as drivers to prepare for the risk of a vomiting rider? 

Do not drive during the evening and nighttime hours – If you choose not to drive during these hours, then you lower the risk. However, these hours can be very profitable especially on weekends. 

Look for signs of a drunk rider – If you know the rider who is about to get in your car is drunk, you can be prepared. You change your driving style by driving slower and avoiding sharp turns. Ask the rider to let you know if they start to not feel well. Tell them you will be happy to pull over if needed. Lastly, remain calm and have a vomit bag ready to pass to the rider at the first signs that things are not going well.

Know how to file a claim with Uber or Lyft – Even drivers who are extremely well prepared may still not be able to prevent this from happening. Make sure you know in advance what your rideshare platform requires to file a claim. Next, if you do not want to do the cleaning yourself, find a good car detailer in advance. (We do not advise cleaning your car. Handling bodily fluids during Covid-19 or at anytime is better left to professionals)

Following all of the above can make the risk of vomit in your car a lot more manageable.

Monday: Drivers are responsible for checking IDs when delivering alcohol

Some interesting information on UberEats for drivers

We all know that user demand for rideshare is way down. According to QZ.com, demand in the second quarter of 2020 was down 75%. 

With such a sharp decline, many of us have turned to food delivery options like DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEats, and others. In October, Business of Apps posted an article claiming UberEsts has now passed Uber Rides in revenue. 

For drivers, the move to delivery is easy to understand given the increased demand as well as limiting one’s exposure to Covid-19. But what can we expect to earn and how can I tell which one has the best boosts?

Money – Quora.com claims Uber drivers make more money as UberEats drivers only get a set amount per delivery. Whereas, Uber drivers earn more per mile. So when you are being pinged for a delivery, it is best to only accept those coming from restaurants that are closest to you.

Finding the best boosts – Signing up with a different account for Uber Rides and UberEats can be the secret to increasing your income. If you run separate accounts, you can sign-in to each one and shop each app for the best boosts for different times a day. Shopping the apps is a great way for you to raise your income and use your time more efficiently.

In the gig economy, we all have to work smarter not harder to be successful. 

Friday: Dealing with vomit, are you prepared?

Fewer drivers using their turning signals

As rideshare/delivery drivers, our workday is spent on the road. I know many of you share the same pet peeve I have, people not using the turning signals. 

Using your left or right blinkers is the way we communicate with each other. It is an important component in preventing accidents. In recent years, it feels that fewer people are using them. I decided to search the internet to learn why.

The Huffington Post back in 2014 came up with a list of 7 reasons, some of which include:

  • They are too lazy
  • They want to cut you off
  • They simply forgot

According to AutoGuide, the Society of Automotive Engineers conducted a study that concluded more than 2 million crashes a year are the result of people failing to use their indicators. The study reported that that number was even higher than distracted driving. This should be an eye-opener for all of us.

Even though the above excuses and numbers are a concern, the answer is pretty simple. We need to be respectful of each other and use turning signals. After all, the solution is literally at our fingertips!

Wednesday: Some interesting information on UberEats for drivers

Tips on winter driving

Snow is falling in many parts of the country and in others, the rainy season has begun. In either case, we need to change our driving habits for the safety of ourselves and our riders.  

 

AAA has a number of great tips including for winter driving. Some of those tips include, accelerate and decelerate slowly, increase your following distance, don’t stop going up a hill, and more

AAA also offers tips for driving in wet weather. Some of those tips include, slow down, make room, avoid cruise control, and more.

No matter where you live, it’s important to check your local weather forecast so you know what kind of road conditions you will be dealing with each day.

Monday: Are fewer drivers using the turning signal?