How clean is your rideshare car?

Before the pandemic USA Today reported that many rideshare vehicles were 219 times germier that the average taxi.  

This number may not reflect how you currently keep your vehicle but given that we are in the middle of a pandemic, it is now more important than ever we keep our cars clean for the protection of ourselves and our riders.

In a blog post dated April 2nd, we shared information on how to clean the many surfaces of the interior of your car. Gridwise also discusses this as well but they also go over the steps of disinfecting your car starting from the inside out.  

Buying a lot of different products for each surface of you can get expensive and if you are going through the steps mentioned above, things can really add up! Remember, that any products you buy as a rideshare driver are tax deductible, so make sure you keep those receipts.

Tomorrow: What campaigns has Uber and Lyft made donations to?

Your check engine light just came on, now what?

When your check engine light comes on, you can feel your heart sink into your stomach! It is so easy for your mind to go off into worst case scenarios of how much the repair is going to cost! 

But hold on, just because this light came on does not always mean an expensive trip to your mechanic. According to Edmunds, a common reason is simply forgetting to tighten your gas cap or the cap itself may need to be replaced. Another common reason is the oxygen sensor is out and needs to be replaced. Although this would require a trip to your mechanics, you shouldn’t be out for more than $200. However there are plenty of other reasons and 24/7 Wall St has a list of the top 25. 

The most important thing you can do after checking your gas cap is to take your car to a mechanic you can trust. Ignoring the light could cause additional problems to your car so don’t delay. The old phrase,”You can pay me now or you can pay me later,” rings so true!

Tomorrow: How to find a mechanic you can trust!

Lyft provides car dividers for its cars

Lyft announced it would be installing plexiglass dividers in its Express Driver rental program back in July. It was to be rolled out first in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Phoenix, Dallas and New York City with other cities to follow according to Fox Business.

CNET reported that Lyft would be installing partitions to some drivers for free while others would have to pay $50 for installation.

In a previous post back in June, we discussed the availability of dividers online through companies like Amazon and others. These dividers have been used in the Taxi industry for years but their purpose was to protect drivers from violence and theft. Now they are being installed for protection from a virus but is that all the protection we need? An ABC affiliate in Sacramento recently interviewed Dr. Tom Hopkins at Sutter Health Roseville who said this about the dividers, “It’s something. It’s a barrier between a person who could potentially have COVID-19 or any germs.You still have to pay attention to social distancing. Hand washing and sanitize your environment.”

So even with a barrier, follow the safety guidelines set by your rideshare company like wearing a mask, washing your hands and practicing social distancing!

Tomorrow: Some rideshare companies you may not have heard of!

When was the last time you had your transmission fluid checked?

Car repairs are always unnerving and prices keep going up. We rideshare drivers rack up the miles and that is why we need to regularly check the transmission fluid. I typically have it checked with each oil change to make sure the transmission fluid is topped off. This is important because according to Car Talk, letting your car run low on transmission fluid can cause the transmission to shift improperly — or not at all. It also can harm the internal parts of your transmission, which will not be properly lubricated. Unfortunately, you may not hear any noises or have other clues that your transmission is low on fluid, until it’s too late. So it’s important to get it checked.

It is also important to have the transmission fluid changed out every 30,000 – 60,000 miles based on your vehicle type, driving habits and according to your car’s owner manual. Changing the fluid will flush out small particles of the transmission that break off over time and can cause damage. The cost for a transmission flush is typically between $125 and $250 according to the Transmission Cost Repair Guide. Putting off maintenance can be a costly mistake! According to their analysis, if you need to replace your transmission,

  • A new transmission ranges from $1,800 to $3,400
  • A used/salvage transmission ranges from $800 to $1,500
  • A rebuilt transmission from $1,100 to $2,800
  • A remanufactured from $1,300 to $3,400

Based on this information, it is easy to see why paying a little right now can prevent a huge expense later on.  

Previously posted June 26th, 2020

Tomorrow: Today’s CannonBall Run

Does what you wear make a difference to riders?

Rideshare drivers come in all shapes and sizes and what drivers wear while driving is just as varied. Although neither Uber nor Lyft have a dress code, you might want to reconsider before putting on those sweatpants you just pulled out of the dirty clothes hamper.

Being a rideshare driver is more about customer service than anything else. Part of that service is not only how you present your car but also how you present yourself. We judge people everyday without realizing we are doing it. If you were at a restaurant and the waiter serving you looked like they just rolled out of bed, how would you tip them? This is true for any customer service job, including rideshare. Riders are not expecting a suit but having clean clothes is a good start. I recommend a nice pair of jeans and a collared shirt, something nicer than just a t-shirt. 

Now if you plan on driving for Uber Premium you should consider a pair of dress pants and a proper dress shirt and possibly a sports coat. People are paying for a premium service and so they expect your presentation to be the same.

Remember, you are dressing to look somewhat professional not for yourself but your rider and their tips!

Tomorrow: Benefits for gig workers

5 things I wish I knew before becoming a rideshare driver.

Being a rideshare driver means you have to be able to accept a lot of unknowns: where you will be driving to today, how many trips you will have, what kind of tips you will make, what kind of riders you will be picking up, and more. All of these are unknowns will deal with every day. But what if you were new to rideshare, what things would you have liked to have known before you started driving?

Here are five big things to know when you’re getting started that will help you during your day:

  1. Don’t drive around looking for rides – After you have driven for a couple of days, you will quickly learn the busier parts of your city or town. Find a place to park and wait for the app to go off. There’s no need to waste gas and to rack up miles on your car.
  2. Don’t bother waiting for rides at the airport – This is especially true right now because of Covid-19, as there aren’t a lot of rides from the airport. But even when people start traveling again, airport queues for rideshare can be between  30 – 90 minutes. You could have easily made good money during that same time by driving in hotter spots downtown. Too often, airport rideshare lots are just a place where drivers gather to complain about rideshare. They would have less to complain about if they were out working the busy parts of their town or city and making money instead of wasting time in a queue at the airport!!
  3. The secret to high ratings may not be what you think – Too often people who are thinking about becoming a rideshare driver believe that they will be good at it because they have a nice car and they know their way around their city or town. New drivers don’t understand that this is a customer service job. You will be dealing with all kinds of people and you need to be able to read their tone and body language to understand what they want.
  4. Getting your rider to their destination in record time isn’t a rider’s top priority – Yes, most riders want to get to where they are going quickly, but feeling safe in your car is more important than speed!
  5. A clean car doesn’t need air freshener – Riders love a clean car! If you keep your car clean, there is no need for air freshener. People are sensitive to smells like air freshener, anda rider who hates the smell or even gets a headache from it will likely not say a word to you about it. Instead, they will tell your rideshare company with a bad rating. Now, If a rider leaves a bad smell in your car after they leave, just roll your windows down and air out your car before your next trip.

Tomorrow: Does what you wear make a difference to riders?

What are some of the best cars to buy for rideshare?

Driving for rideshare often means piling on the miles on our cars. At some point, we will need to replace our cars with a new one. Since buying a new car is a big and important purchase, you want to be sure it is the right one. So what car is best for rideshare?

Driving for rideshare often means piling on the miles on our cars. At some point, we will need to replace our cars with a new one. Since buying a new car is a big and important purchase, you want to be sure it is the right one. So what car is best for rideshare?

USNews came out with a list of the best cars for us drivers. Many of the cars on the list were expected but there were a few surprising models. Here is the list with some of the highlights on why each car was chosen

  1. 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid – Excellent fuel economy and smooth and roomy ride
  2. 2020 Toyota Camry – features high-quality materials and comfortable roomy seating
  3. 2020 Honda Civic – lots of advanced safety features and seats 5 comfortably
  4. 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid – excellent fuel economy and loads of cabin room
  5. 2020 Honda Accord – gentle ride and excellent cabin space for the driver and riders
  6. 2020 Mazda6 – advanced safety features and a premium cabin
  7. 2020 Ford Fusion – solid performance and spacious interior
  8. 2020 Honda Insight – it’s a top safety pick and gets great fuel economy
  9. 2020 Ford Fusion Hybrid – excellent fuel economy in the city and lots of rear legroom
  10. 2020 Volkswagen Jetta – lots of trunk space and excellent fuel economy
  11. 2020 Subaru Legacy – a mid-size vehicle with ample rear legroom and good gas mileage
  12. 2020 Subaru Impreza – roomy interior and all-wheel drive

One of the cars that did not make the list was the Toyota Prius, which has long been a favorite for many rideshare drivers. I believe it was left off because of the lack of legroom in the back.

Tomorrow: A good kind of contagion – a smile

Help with fogged up glasses while wearing a mask!

Having to wear a mask during Covid-19 is an inconvenience we are all bearing right now. However, if you wear glasses or sunglasses, it can be challenging. This problem starts when your glasses fog up. It can happen when you are running around on the street doing errands but it can be really dangerous while driving.

So what can be done to prevent this problem? The Cleveland Clinic came up with some simple yet smart answers:

  1. Mask sure your mask fits tightly across the bridge of your nose – this prevents moisture in your breath from reaching your glasses.
  2. Gently clean your glasses with soap and water – soap residue prevents moisture from clinging to your lens.
  3. Use your glasses to seal your mask – make sure your glasses sit on top of the mask on the bridge of your nose .
  4. Tape your mask down – use a piece of medical tape to tape down your mask across the bridge of your nose. Make sure to use a tape for sensitive skin for this tender area of your face.
  5. Buy an anti-fog solution – these solutions are available from both online and brick and mortar retailers.

Be safe out there and wear your mask!

 

Tomorrow: What are some of the best cars to buy for rideshare?

What are the risks of allowing minors in your car as a rideshare driver?

Being a rideshare driver comes with many hazards like drunk drivers and drunk riders, risk of being in an accident, and more. One hazard not often mentioned is unaccompanied minors requesting a ride.  

Neither Uber or Lyft permit minors to ride alone. Uber says, “A rider must be at least 18 years of age to have an Uber account and request rides. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by someone 18 years of age or older on any ride.” Uber also says. “As a driver-partner, you should decline the ride request if you believe the person requesting the ride is under 18. When picking up riders, if you feel they are underage, you may request they provide a driver’s license or ID card for confirmation. If a rider is underage, please do not start the trip or allow them to ride.”

Whereas Lyft says, “Unaccompanied minors are prohibited from traveling with most carriers, including TNCs. A passenger must be 18 to sign up for a Lyft account, but if a driver believes a passenger might be underage, the driver may ask the passenger to confirm their age.” Lyft also adds, “The driver may also let a passenger know that the driver will have to cancel the trip if the passenger is indeed under 18. In addition, drivers can report requests to transport unaccompanied minors by tapping ‘Contact Support’ below.”

If it is obvious that the passenger(s) who you are about to pick up are minors, you should definitely cancel. Do not hesitate to ask for an id if you are unsure but do it in a friendly manner.  What you never want to happen is for there to be any kind of incident in your car with an unaccompanied minor. Since you are the adult, it is you who will likely be held responsible! When in doubt it is best to cancel!

Tomorrow: Help with fogged up glasses while wearing a mask!

What a different ride!

As rideshare drivers we all have made changes, including wearing masks, rolling down windows and even installing car dividers between us and our passengers. This really impacts our experience – but what about the experience of the rider?

With Uber, riders must agree to wear a mask and they are warned that if they don’t comply, their ride can be canceled. 

Another change that many riders may not like is riding with the windows down. Not only is it windy, sometimes the noise this creates can be really loud, which is distracting and also makes it difficult for them to talk on their phones.

The change that may impact the rider the most is when a divider has been installed. Dividers effect air from freely flowing throughout your car, they also limit the rider’s ability to communicate with you the driver, and they may make riders feel claustrophobic or make it difficult for riders to see clearly where they are going. Not to mention that if dividers are not kept clean, it can make your car feel dirty and uncomfortable for the rider. Riders like a clean feeling car, especially right now.  Make sure you are cleaning a divider often to remove dust, smudges and fingerprints. If you have a plexiglass divider in your car here is what Tap Plastics says on how to maintain its appearance.

Even with all of the changes we as a society are all making, the one thing we can offer each other including our riders is compassion and understanding. 

Tomorrow: The benefits of keeping your tires properly inflated