A Note to Drivers: How to Get a 5 Star Uber/Lyft Rating from Me

Update April 19th, 2017: Regarding point #2 below… A few readers have informed me that drivers don’t find out where the destination is until they pick you up. So they actually can’t use the app to determine my destination until I’m in the car. That said, I still don’t approve of drivers calling and asking where I’m going, because 9/10 times they do so to determine if they should cancel the ride or not, leaving me to request a new ride.

I took 227 rides with Uber/Lyft in 2016.

With a few taps from our smartphone, a car is outside waiting for us. This has become a normal part of our lives.

Millions of rides are taken across the world with Lyft and Uber every day. We no longer have to worry about hailing a taxi, or needing to rent a car when we travel to a new city. Ride-sharing apps have made it incredibly easy and affordable for us to get from point A to point B.

Nearly every major city has Uber or Lyft, and it’s reported that Uber adds 50,000 drivers to their platform every month. 50 thousand.

A Quality Problem

While ride-sharing has changed the way we commute for the better, it’s not always a positive experience. In fact, I’ve had a handful of negative and uncomfortable experiences lately.

Before I go into that, let me clarify one thing. This is not a post about how “bad” Uber and Lyft are. I took over 200 rides last year — I am a fan. This post is about some of the things I personally consider when rating a driver after my ride. And hopefully, maybe some drivers will read this and get some value out of it.

Drivers come in all flavors, and we always hope we get a “good” driver. But it’s only a matter of time before you hop in the car and get that Uber/Lyft ride from hell.

From cancelling last minute, to getting really lost, to playing horrible music and cranking the heat to 95 degrees, to an incompetent driver pulling off to the side of a busy highway to figure out how to work the application, to Nascar Joe weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds. I’ve had my fair share of bad ride-sharing experiences.

Most of these experiences led to me leaving a bad rating, and ultimately led to me writing this post.

So, let’s get to it.

Here are 5 things every driver should do (or not do) to get a 5-star rating from me.

1. Don’t hold your phone in your hand.

If I get in your car and you’re fumbling with your phone, trying to balance it on the dashboard or some other trick… my confidence in your ability to get my to my destination safely goes out the window. In fact, I think holding your phone while driving is now illegal in most states. Invest in a cell phone mount. There are plenty of cheap options out there. Here’s one for $5.

2. Don’t ask me where I’m going.

I’m not saying I don’t want to talk to you. I love talking to strangers, and I engage most drivers in a conversation. But if I get in the car and the first thing you ask is where I’m going, as if you really have no clue, I’m going to be annoyed. You should already know where I’m going, it’s in the app. I literally entered my exact drop-off location.

Even worse, I’ve had drivers call me after I order the ride and ask “Where are you headed?”. I’m always perplexed by these situations — don’t you see the address in the app? You don’t need to call me to ask me where I’m going — just use the app.

3. Be familiar with the general area.

If you’re picking me up from the airport and you don’t have any idea how to get downtown, or how far away downtown is, I’m going to be concerned. This has happened to me. I got in the car, and the driver asked, “where are you going?” (ugh). “I’m heading downtown,” I responded. The driver asked , “How far away is that and which highway should I take?”.


I don’t expect you to be able to navigate blindfolded, but the airport and downtown are two of the most common places for commuting. People are counting on you to know these things. Take a few minutes and study a map before you start giving rides. At the very least, know where downtown is, and know where the airport is.

4. Don’t drive like (or be) an asshole.

I once had to ask a driver to stop the car because I didn’t feel safe the way he was driving. He was driving way too fast, and very erratically. So I demanded he stop the car, and I got out and ordered a new ride.

By getting in your car, we’re trusting that you’ll do your best to get us to our destination safely. I love getting their quickly, but not at the expense of danger. Don’t drive like an asshole.

In another ride, the driver stopped, rolled down his window and started cussing out a pedestrian for jay-walking. Amazing! Here I am, sitting in the back seat of this stranger’s car, paying him to take me somewhere, and he’s losing his cool over someone jaywalking, to the point where he stops the car and verbally assaults a pedestrian. Please, leave the road rage at home.

5. Understand how to use the app.

This one. Ahhh! I’ve notice a lot of drivers are incompetent in the app. Many don’t understand the idea of Uber ‘Pool’ or Lyft ‘Line’. These are the types of rides where I (the rider) share rides with other riders.

Driver: when you accept this type of ride, it is your obligation to pick up the other person that gets added to the ride. If you don’t, the navigation is going to keep pointing you to that person’s location, and if you don’t know where you’re going you’re going to follow that navigation and we’re all just going to get frustrated.

Please, take some time and learn the app, and follow protocol.

But for all the bad, I’ve had a lot of good rides too.

In fact, the majority of my rides are great. There was the guy in Chicago driving a mini van who had cold water, snacks, and Chappelle Show playing on the DVD player — you’re awesome.

And the old lady in Seattle who asked me which type of music I wanted to listen to and told me all about the neighborhood I was going to — thank you.

And the guy in Denver who gave me a CD of his band — it wasn’t very good, but thank you too.

My idea of the perfect ride:

  1. Order the ride.
  2. Driver shows up within 10/15 minutes, no phone call to me asking where I’m going.
  3. Hop in the car, maybe share a casual conversation with the driver. Maybe they ask if it’s too hot in the car, or if I want to change the music. (Not a big deal though).
  4. After a safe, yet efficient ride, I’m dropped off .

Boom. 5-star rating. Simple as that.

Dear drivers,
I love it when you take your job seriously. I love it when you focus on the customer experience through respect, safety, and a solid understanding of the technology you’re using.
I don’t even own a car, so I commend you for the job you do. Letting us get in your car, slam your doors, demand you change the radio station, puke in your car — it has to take a lot of patience to deal with us needy riders.
Thank you to all of the drivers who’ve gotten me from Point A to Point B safely. And for those Drivers I’ve had bad experiences with, I hope you consider some of the things above so other riders can have a great experience with you at the wheel.
— a rideshare customer