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    We’ve all had the occasional “bad apple” of a passenger before, but is passenger behavior worse than ever?

    Between passengers refusing to wear a mask, frustrations over fewer drivers on the road, only three people allowed in a standard X vehicle and more, it seems like passengers are more on-edge than we’ve ever experienced.

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    Why Are Passengers Behaving So Badly?

    First of all, bad customer behavior, in general, seems to be at an all-time high in many different industries. From combative passengers on planes to customers behaving badly at restaurants, drivers aren’t alone in pointing out that bad behavior is on the rise.

    But why are people behaving so badly? It’s not just mask mandates, right? We polled drivers to see what they’ve experienced lately and explain theories about why things like this keep happening.

    1) New rules concerning COVID

    Several issues arise when you look at the “new” rules that Uber and Lyft enacted for the pandemic. Namely, mask mandates and the limitations of how many passengers are allowed in the vehicle (avoiding the front seat).

    Some drivers do not enforce these rules, and there’s no *real* way for Uber to enforce them either. Plus, there are enough passengers and drivers that are anti-mask to make it difficult to try to enforce if you’re a driver who wants your passengers to wear them.

    One of our followers on YouTube said, “I mean I got kicked off Uber cuz passengers lied and said I didn’t wear my mask.”

    This has been a big issue. Both drivers and passengers accuse each other of not wearing masks creating a bigger divide between the two parties than seen before the pandemic.

    And on Facebook, this driver stated:

    “I get a lot of them [who are] vaccinated, I don’t need to wear a mask or people trying to use that third row when they only pay for an X and start fighting with you because you won’t let them use it.

    People complaining about not letting them sit in the front seat that all the other drivers let them sit in the front seat – tell them I’m not the other drivers, why don’t you call the other drivers for your next ride?”

    On Twitter, a reader reached out to Harry and said, “Refusing to put a mask on is the biggest issue (at least in So Cal). Arguing with me that vaccinated people don’t need a mask not understanding they are NOT the only ones who’ve sat in that seat in the last 20 minutes.”

    2) Waiting for rides

    Passengers may be rude because they are left waiting longer than expected for a driver to accept the ride and show up.

    Jeff said, “Some passengers are frustrated because they can’t depend on getting a ride, even when scheduled.”

    One misconception a lot of passengers have is that scheduling a ride guarantees a driver will show up during that time period. However, the way it works for Uber is that a request is sent out near the time of the scheduled ride, just like if the passenger physically requested it themselves at that time.

    If there are no drivers in the area or no drivers accept the fare, the passenger will be left waiting and wondering what happened.

    As one follower on Facebook pointed out, “Uber will sometimes send out the request far too early and a driver may arrive 20 minutes before the scheduled pickup time. I’m not waiting 20 minutes and I cancel those rides if I get there 15-20 minutes early and the passenger doesn’t want to leave early.”

    In some markets, there’s also been a shortage of drivers after things started opening up again. And because of this shortage, some passengers have been switching back to taxis instead of relying on rideshare.

    3) Higher costs of the rides

    Another contributing factor seems to be that passengers are paying more than ever before (and drivers are not seeing an increase in pay).

    YouTube user Who has an ear stated, “They’re paying more, have to take it out on someone.”

    As a customer, who do you blame for the high cost of your fare? The company or the person who’s in front of you, picking you up and taking you on the ride?

    An NPR article written by Bobby Allyn states, “In some cities, Uber and Lyft prices are up 79% from pre-pandemic levels, according to analytics firm Gridwise Inc.”

    The Exceptions to the Rule

    On the other hand, not all passengers are awful. Some drivers we polled stated they haven’t had experiences with angry, rude or entitled passengers. Here’s what these lucky drivers had to say:

    Bob on Facebook said, “Haven’t noticed any change in rider behavior in the markets I work, though almost every rider is claiming to be vaccinated and asking if they can leave their mask off.”

    Darren clarified, “Tipping worse? Definitely. Acting worse? I haven’t really noticed that much of a difference except for the fact that I don’t understand why you would make a driver wait at pickup when you should know that he could cancel and find another ride in seconds.”

    Matthew on YouTube stated, “I almost never have rude passengers, but tipping is very rare.”

    What have your experiences been lately? Are your passengers rude or polite?


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    -Paula @ RSG

    Paula Gibbins

    Paula Gibbins

    Paula has been writing for the Rideshare Guy since the fall of 2018. The main focus of her articles has been breaking news, reviewing new apps, driver experiences and more. Prior to her time with the Rideshare Guy, Paula worked as a writer and editor for various publications including local newspapers, sporting goods catalogs, online merchandise and more. She currently has a full-time job editing for a top beauty company and enjoys reading, playing board games and participating in weekly trivia.