Ridesharing can be a lonely gig. Passengers are often absorbed in their phones or their own conversations, and other drivers are scattered across town, each in their own car. Since Uber and Lyft are app-based, there’s no lounge area for drivers to socialize with each other. But there are some real benefits to hanging out with other drivers!
For new drivers, this is especially true. Spending time with other drivers lets you gather valuable insight into your local rideshare market. Although we’ve got a ton of great advice on the blog, some aspects of ridesharing are unique to certain areas. For instance, local regulations regarding pick-ups and drop-offs at the airport vary wildly. Likewise, there may be some lesser-known hotspots with lots of passengers in your city that you might not be aware of.
Veteran drivers can also recommend things like clean 24-hour bathrooms, good spots for meals, and other local secrets that even the best rideshare blog (this one!) might not be able to tell you.
But the benefits don’t stop there, whether you’re a brand-new driver or a seasoned veteran. If you happen to talk shop with a fellow driver over lunch or dinner, you can deduct that meal as a business expense on your taxes. Plus, being plugged in to your local rideshare community helps to keep you informed of new developments in your market.
And staying connected could put all drivers in a more powerful negotiating position when it comes to fighting unpopular policies like rate cuts. Many observers point to lack of driver organization to explain why Uber keeps getting away with paying less and less. If more drivers simply stayed in touch with one another, they could quickly become a force to be reckoned with. Fortunately in the Internet age, it’s actually pretty easy. Here are six ways you can start connecting with your fellow drivers today!
1. Facebook Groups
There’s a wide assortment of driver groups on Facebook. Some are dedicated to drivers in a specific area, while others are more general. For a list of rideshare groups, check out Harry’s list here, or use Facebook’s search bar to find out if there’s one specific to your area. If not, why not start one? It’s free, and it only takes a few minutes. If you advertise it well, it just might take off! If you are part of a group that’s not on our list, shoot us an email and we’ll be sure to add it in 🙂
2. Online Forums
Facebook isn’t the only way to stay in touch. For those of you that prefer to stay off the Facebook grid, there are other options:
Uber Drivers Subreddit
If you’re not familiar with Reddit, it’s essentially an online forum where users can post text, links, and threaded replies. Then, other users can vote on each piece of content that gets posted. Content with a lot of up-votes floats to the top, and content with a lot of down-votes sinks to the bottom. You can filter what you see first by how many votes it’s gotten in the last day, week, month, and so forth – or you can use the search bar to find answers to specific questions.
You don’t need an account to access the subreddit – check out r/UberDrivers here.
And don’t forget about r/Lyftdrivers.
For a more traditional online forum, many drivers frequent UberPeople. This one has a pretty large user base as well, and posts are sorted into easy-to-follow categories, such as pay, technology, ratings, insurance, and so forth. To browse the forum, click here.
3. Voice Communication Apps
While online options are great for communicating from home, it can also be nice to have a coworker to chat with during long waiting periods – or even to give real-time updates on road conditions or other happenings in your local area. For this, some drivers use walkie-talkie apps to stay in touch on the road. The two most popular ones are called Voxer and Zello, respectively.
Harry has a great podcast on the topic which explains how you can leverage these systems to everyone’s benefit. To listen and/or read a summary, check out the post here.
4. Popular Waiting Spots
If the technical approach is too daunting, there’s a simpler way to connect – in person! Most cities have at least a couple spots where rideshare drivers are never in short supply – usually by popular bars or hotels, or especially in designated waiting areas at the airport. Strike up a conversation with fellow drivers who are hanging out there to exchange advice, or just funny passenger stories! In my experience, a driver is never short on those 😉
5. Other In-Person Meetups
If approaching other drivers at a pick-up spot makes you uncomfortable, there are other options too. In most large cities, Uber has a dedicated support office. This is a great place to run into drivers and strike up a conversation. If you drive for Lyft, you might be aware that the company will occasionally organize local meetups for drivers to hang out and socialize. They usually publish these in their weekly Lyft update email, so be sure to keep an eye on that for any upcoming events.
In addition, you can even organize your own meetup and publicize it in your local Facebook group or forum. In Atlanta, there have been a few of these over the years – you can get together at a bar, a restaurant, wherever! You can also search Facebook for upcoming events that others have organized. These mixers are a great way to connect and make friends with your coworkers, and pick up some driving tips you might not have thought up yet. If I’ve learned one thing about the rideshare industry, it’s this: There’s always more to learn!
6. Take a Ride as a Passenger
This is actually Harry’s number one piece of advice for new drivers (and has over 100,000 views on Youtube!) since it’s a quick and easy way to talk to a real driver in your area. We get a lot of e-mails from RSG readers asking specific questions and although we can often provide good general advice, no one knows your city better than a local driver. So whether you want to learn about earning potential for a driver in your city or just meet another driver, consider taking a ride as a passenger.
Drivers: How do you stay in touch? Any forums, groups, etc that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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– Jon @RSG