Should Drivers Accept Added Stop Requests?

Added stop requests tend to be the bane of drivers’ existence when passengers tack them on mid-ride, or just ask “can we stop X” while you’re en route to their input destination. RSG contributor Tyler Philbrook outlines for you the best way to react to these requests, and when—or when not—to oblige them. 

On one of my first rides, the passenger asked me to go to Walmart for them to grab something “real quick.”

Even though I considered it many, many times, I didn’t finish the ride and leave, and ended up waiting over an hour for the passenger to finish their shopping.

After that, we finally finished the ride, but they were locked out of their house and sat in the back of my car for another 45 minutes waiting for someone to let them in, all while I had already finished the ride.

It was a bad experience for me, but one that taught me a lot. One of the things it taught me was that you don’t make money sitting while people do their shopping, or at least not enough money to make it worthwhile to sit there.

Even though I don’t stop all the time, there are times I will make stops not included in the trip. Here’s what you can do when you get a request for added stops.

Quick Summary: 

  • Many riders might casually ask to stop somewhere while en route to their destination. 
  • The driver has control over making an added stop or not. 
  • Pick and choose the situations you’re willing to accept an added stop and go with your gut.

When a Customer Verbally Requests

This is the most common added stop that I get. Rather than seeing a request or notification come in from the app itself, the passenger simply asks me to stop.

Depending on where they request to stop is how I decide if I’m going to do it or not.

If they want to stop at a gas station, convenience store, or fast food restaurant to get a drink, something to eat, or anything else, I’ll typically be ok with that. I’ll make less money, but a lot of times, they’ll offer to get me a drink or throw me a few dollars in tips for stopping.

Though most people are nice about it and appreciative, some aren’t and just expect you to stop no matter what. 

If the passenger asks to go to a large store such as a grocery store, department store, or even a mall—yes, I’ve had people request this—I tell them I’m not able to. 

As an independent contractor, you can make that decision on your own at any time, you are not required to make any additional stops. No matter what the rider expects of you. 

I like to be open with my passengers and tell them that I can stop at a store like that, but I have to finish the ride after 8 minutes of them being out of the car, and then they’ll have to request another ride. Most of the time, the passenger will say no thank you and have me just take them to the original destination.

When The Stops Are Added Through The App

While driving down the road, the passenger can, without even speaking to you, add a stop or even change the destination within the app.

When they do, you don’t have a choice of not doing the stop or going to the new destination—for the most part.

If the destination is too far away—for instance, in a different city or state, as people have done in the past—you can explain that you can’t go that far and offer to drop them off somewhere that they can request another driver who can.

If it is a store or stop, another option you can do is, once the passenger is out of the vehicle, simply end the ride. Again, I try to communicate with the passenger and give them at least some time to get back to the car, but at the end of the day, I make literal pennies while waiting, so I can’t do that for long and justify it.

How To Avoid Being Forced Into Added Stops

For years, when I know that the ride I’m taking will be my last of the day, I have always hit the button to stop requests. This way a new request doesn’t come in that I then have to decline, or worse yet tempt me into staying on longer.

What I was unaware of until recently, though, was that that button is actually magic when it comes to not getting additional stops added while already in a ride.

Once you hit that button, your passengers cannot add any additional stops, even when in the car. On the passenger’s end, it will say something along the lines of “The driver is not taking additional requests at this time.”

If the passenger says something, you can explain to them that this is your last ride and you aren’t doing any additional stops, or you could tell them you aren’t sure what’s going on and to contact Uber support but that you have to take them to the destination you already have.

Do What’s Best For You

Whether you agree to take them when a passenger asks you to stop or not, or you disable their ability to add it or not, is all up to you. Do what you feel suits your needs best in the moment.

Some people report that they always get nice tips, sometimes more than the ride itself for “being nice” and making the stop. For me, and others, it’s almost always not worth the time or lack of money.

Driver Takeaways

Each situation is going to be different. You can choose to decline every single added ride request sent your way, or you can play it by ear. Some passengers might fight back, but the worst they can really do is rate you poorly or make a false accusation against you. 

There is a chance that you could earn a decent amount in tips from your passenger, but that’s never a guarantee. Don’t rely on tips to make this decision. Remember what you’re making per minute on these stops and adjust your willingness. 

What is your worst added stop request story? Share in the comments!

-Tyler @ RSG