Are You A RideGuru?

Today we have a sponsored post from RideGuru. RideGuru is a forum and community for rideshare drivers AND passengers where drivers and passengers discuss the unfiltered points of rideshare driving. As always, all opinions are our own.

The RideGuru forum reminds me of a cross between Reddit and Quora, but for rideshare drivers. People submit questions about driving (or riding) and the best answers get upvoted to the top. Overall, I dig this format because it combines the different dynamics of drivers and passengers and is an interesting place to see real conversation happen between them outside of the car. I also don’t like digging through pages upon pages of 3-5 year old comments in a traditional bulletin forum.

RideGuru is also considerably less salty than other rideshare forums, yet still entertaining.

Today, I’m sharing some of the top questions that have been recently asked on RideGuru. RideGuru does a great job of comparing prices for Uber and Lyft rides, so they get a lot of passengers asking questions. This is a good opportunity to give them your two cents as well or chime in with a question.

Top 5 Posts From RideGuru in 2018

If you were the new CEO of Uber, with absolute power, what would be the first thing you’d change?

I am asking the current Uber drivers, but anyone’s welcome. – User Daimsler

I think this is a thought provoking question, and I could write a whole article on it. As drivers, we like to talk about how much we would change at Uber. However, that perspective would probably shift considerably once we were in the CEO’s shoes and facing an IPO for a company like Uber (with $220 million + on the table for myself).

If I had absolute power as Uber’s CEO I would immediately increase prices and rate cards between 33% – 50% and limit the number of drivers entering the platform. I would focus on making the service better by having drivers who are better trained, know the streets, with nicer cars, and stronger background checks. I’d also consider pushing or requiring new drivers (for POOL and UberX) to have hybrid/electric cars so their operations costs are realistic enough to make a living on the platform.

A lot of this would be tackling the ops costs of our drivers. No longer accepting idiots who try to do UberX or UberPOOL with a Mercedes C300 and then complain about the costs to drive! Higher pay and lower costs result in an actual profitable business. From there, I work to expand the business from a healthier footing.

This would probably be very unpopular with investors and affect the valuation of the company in a negative way, since this strategy ultimately pulls back from the goal of making transportation “flow like water” to everybody and it hurts the network effects of having an almost unlimited supply of cars and drivers on the platform.

I would combat that though with a heavy focus on Jump, a dockless pedal-assisted bikeshare company that Uber recently acquired. These bikes (and similar products) would be a the future in making transportation and mobility accessible to everyone. In the long term, the bikes would likely be a lot cheaper than drivers and offer a higher profit margin by taking the driver and their expensive car out of the equation. As a driver myself, I would be glad to pass off these short-distance, minimum fare rides to the bikes. I would also continue investing heavily in autonomous vehicles because that’s just the future.

That’s pretty simple to say online. I guess that’s why I’m not the CEO of anything 😀

Banned from charging Uber cleaning fee?

I just got a notice that I was banned from charging the cleaning fee! I have charged about 20 cleaning fees, maybe 1 every other week, as I drive in a big college town and see a lot of puke and spills. I always provide pictures and they always get approved but now all the sudden they are saying I can no longer charge the fee? Did I hit some sort of cleaning fee threshold. Just ridiculous as all my cleaning fees have been legit and obviously Uber thought so too as they were all approved. I can’t help it that I drive college kids.

– User Skipperdan

Well this one is new for me because I’ve never heard of Uber doing this for someone. Sure, I can understand banning drivers who abuse it or do it fraudulently, but the driver in this post says Uber has approved all of his cleaning fee requests. So is Uber blocking him from charging for any more puke cleaning fees?

I reached out to Uber for comment on this, and an Uber spokesperson said they review every cleaning fee request, and if a request is found to be fraudulent that they will deny it and potentially deny future requests. However, if the cleaning fee is “paid out” then the driver can continue to submit requests. That doesn’t answer this person’s question so much though. So basically, it’s still a mystery to me!

Our very own Will Preston was on the San Diego news a year ago because he “Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Puke” by basically charging over $1,100 in cleaning fees via actively seeking pukers (so he could charge the cleaning fee).

Now that I think about it though…it’s like…a lot less work to clean up puke than it is to drive for 10 hours…maybe I should start hunting for pukers too…

As a driver, have you kicked out a passenger? Ended a ride early mid-trip?

Please do share. Remember when some dude died after getting kicked off Lyft? I can’t help it to think he did something to be kicked out, you know? – User WWBlueStuff

This one was asked by a passenger.

I’ve kicked a few people out of my car over the years. I used to drive in a college town (Santa Barbara) and had to kick students out almost every night. Here’s what gets you kicked out of my car:

  1. Walk up with an open container (open alcohol).
  2. Trying to load more than four people in my car. I wait until you all awkwardly squeeze into my car though before telling you to get out because I enjoy watching everyone’s face in my mirror when I point out the obvious.
  3. If you touch me. Period.
  4. Say racist or bigoted things while thinking I’ll agree with you because you’re rating me.
  5. If your destination is too far/not possible (across the bay bridge from SF to East Bay at 7 a.m.).

#5 is no hard feelings and I feel bad, but it turns my entire shift into taking you to the East Bay for about $20. The big problem comes on the return trip. After I drop you off, I have to wait in line for 2 hours without earning anything (even with Fastrak). I lose A TON of money and my landlord doesn’t accept kindness as a form of rent payment.

If you do #1 – #4 than you can go play in traffic while blindfolded for all I care.

If drivers are really losing money with Uber then why do you keep driving for Uber?

I just don’t get it, everyone always complains that they don’t make any money with Uber but if you really were losing money then why would you keep driving….??? – User Ben Ret

Ahhhhhh I always love this question! It’s kind of like Scrooge McDuck asking “Why don’t you just stop being so poor!?”

For starters, most of us don’t lose money. On average, we probably make about minimum wage. This changes city-by-city, by car, by driver, etc.

Perhaps most importantly though, is that some people need cash TODAY. They need it for rent, for medicine, food, or perhaps a suit for a job interview. Most of the money “lost” while driving for Uber comes in the form of depreciation on our cars. So even though a driver may know they’re losing money in the long run, they also know they can prevent a calamity TODAY by driving some more and extracting the equity from their car.

Secondly, most people actually do quit driving. In fact, according to page 10 of this Uber-partnered study, 68.1% of brand new drivers will quit in just 6 months!

But again, many of us drivers are just stuck for now. We have elderly family members who need taking care of, kids, finicky diseases, etc. Some of us are sole breadwinners. So we can’t just “stop driving” and go down to the job store and pick up a six-pack of better paying jobs or we would!

I stick around because I love cars, driving, and talking to strangers when I shouldn’t. I also find this whole industry intriguing.

What is the proper etiquette with tipping an Uber and Lyft driver?

How much should I tip my Uber driver? I am sure drivers and customers have different opinions. if you can specify in your response, that’d be great. – User Flutter Shy

Here’s How Much To Tip Your Uber Driver:

A $1 – $2 dollar tip is perfect for most Uber rides and makes a big difference in the drivers earnings and day. If you take the driver into the middle of nowhere then consider a $10 – $20 tip since they will have a long unpaid drive home.

  • The ride was bad: $0
  • Standard ride: $1
  • Good ride / conversation: $2 – $3
  • Made a stop: $1/minute you held the driver up (we get paid about 15 cents a minute otherwise).
  • Aux Cord / Water / Candy: $1 per item
  • Car is VERY Clean: $2
  • Driver is Patriots Fan: $0

Bonus Questions

Can I ask the the Uber driver not to accept anymore riders on an UberPOOL? (or LyftLine)?

My Answer: Please don’t ask drivers to do this.

Scam alert?! The driver never shows up and cancels. Charges me $6.00 for no-show. Is this a thing?

My Answer: Unfortunately, this is a thing. Often though, it’s because the passenger put the pin in the wrong location or didn’t check the accuracy of their GPS.

Hit me up on the RideGuru Forum!

Feel free to reach out to me on RideGuru if you have any questions or want to participate in the discussions amongst passengers and drivers. Here’s a link to my profile.

I like forums but I truly hate Facebook. In fact, the only reason I have a Facebook account is so I can talk to drivers (who overwhelmingly use Facebook). That being said, the driver groups are often toxic and full of trolls and people who don’t even drive (but like to get a reaction out of drivers).

I’m looking for a place that’s a little more underground and a little less salty. Right now that’s on RideGuru.

New Member Prizes On RideGuru!

RideGuru is running a prize raffle for new members. There is swag to be had for those of you who create an account and enjoy the forum. Here’s the details directly from RideGuru:

  • Anyone who has more than 100 “Guru Points” (gained by getting enough upvotes) by 8/31/2018 will receive a swag bag, which consists of a bunch of RideGuru gear. It’ll include a T-shirt, drawstring backpack, koozie, sunglasses, luggage tag, non-slip pad, and maybe other stuff like phone chargers, etc. (pics of items here.)
  • To one randomly selected user, RideGuru will send an $200 Amazon Gift Card. All users need to do is to create a post or comment. Even once will get you into the drawing!

Terms and Info to Enter: Here

Drivers, have you heard of RideGuru before? Any questions? Let me know over at RideGuru.

-Christian @ RSG