Uber Express Pool Etiquette
I ride Uber because it’s fast and accessible, however it isn’t the cheapest option for daily commuting. Recently I started using the express pool option, a cheaper pool variant which advocates for riders to share an Uber with the caveat that riders walk to nearby pickup stops in order to supplement route optimization. These pickup stops are no further than a block or two from the current location, with the benefit of a 50% off price differential as compared to UberX.
The advent of express pool has positioned Uber as my central daily commute driver, however, I believe a doctrine revolving around the etiquette of express pooling is to be had.
When ride share pooling, you’re inevitably going to be sharing a tight space with strangers. There are a set of scenario’s that occur when riding pool, and I’ve formalized what I believe to be rational needs and wants regarding the matter.
Empty car solo rider,
When the car is empty, the possibilities are endless wherein the solo rider holds all decision making power. They can be a Talkative Terry and sit shotgun, engaging the driver in conversation; all while providing adequate space between bodies, and the next few riders to join enroute via backseats.
Alternatively, I can be an Overbearing Oscar and occupy one of the backseats which forces the next rider to either sit shotgun with the social obligation of conversing with the driver, or sit beside me. I suppose sitting beside me isn’t so bad, however, what if the next rider is a duo … yes this exists! Imagine, you’ve chosen to express pool with a friend, and you see one person sitting in the backseats, what a bummer, now you can’t talk with your compadre. This might sound insignificant, but it is such a duo buzzkill, all for the nominal benefit of the initial solo rider avoiding short term social anxiety.
TLDR; If sitting anywhere isn’t a big deal to you as a solo rider, sit shotgun where it’s easier for the next rider to identify occupied seats, and allow for future duo’s to sit together.
If you have some benign reason for sitting in the back, the least you can do is sit back driver side to make it easier for future riders to enter the vehicle as most riders are picked up on the right side of the road. This also prevents riders from opening the door on the traffic side of the vehicle, which is undoubtedly dangerous.
Empty car duo rider,
Unless the two of you hate one another (in which case I don’t know why you’re pooling together), sit together in the backseat. This leaves the shotgun open for the next solo rider, which is on the right side of the vehicle allowing for easy entry and occupancy identification.
One occupied spot solo rider,
If you’re the occupied spot rider, I hope you took the shotgun seat as per the first scenario. As for the embarking rider, please be a Lefty Lauren as opposed to a Righty Rita and sit back driver side. Why? Because it makes it easier for future riders to enter the vehicle as most riders are picked up on the right side of the road.
Two occupied spot solo rider,
Follow empty car duo rider.
Avoid being an Overbearing Oscar and Righty Rita. These are my personal opinions and are in no way shape or form cemented law. This philosophy is rooted in respecting peoples personal space, encouraging safety, and providing as many seating options for incoming ride sharers.