“So, how long have you been driving for Uber?” A question asked of pretty much every Uber driver since the car service launched. If you’ve ever taken Uber and struggled to strike up a conversation with your driver, you’ve probably used that as your go-to question.
It’s an icebreaker, I guess. As a passenger, you’ve undoubtedly had the “Where you from?” question. The only thing you think to respond with to reciprocate the feigned interest is, “So, how long have you been driving for Uber?”
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the conversation. It is much different than the overpriced taxi rides I take at home. The driver is on a call, talking into his headset, though at first you don’t realize that and wonder if his mumbles are directed at you.
The experiences that I’ve had with ride-share companies have been pleasant. The drivers are more personable and genuinely seem to like what they do. Granted, I haven’t met every driver everywhere but when the service is, well, driven based on user feedback, they must be pleasant if they want more business and positive reviews.
When it comes to a taxi company, the drivers aren’t individually reviewed and a passenger doesn’t know about the person picking them up. For ride-share drivers, they’re banking on a good reputation to earn them good tips.
What do I get from the taxi drivers at home? Impersonal service and, depending on how well I tip, they might just pop the trunk and let me get my bag myself while staying seated in the car. If I give them a generous tip for doing their job, they might get the suitcase for me and even open my door. (Opening my door is pushing it but it has happened.)
The great thing about Uber and related apps is I can determine after the fact if I want to tip. I’m not expected to hand over cash right away like I am in a taxi. And for the most part, I‘m tipping a taxi driver because it’s expected of me. I don’t want to look like an asshole by not tipping but at the same time, why wasn’t the driver concerned about giving me personal service if he expects a tip?
Never in a taxi have I been offered a bottle of water, candy or the opportunity to charge my phone. Ride-share drivers attempt to make me comfortable so they should be rewarded.
It seems like ride-sharing is debunking the line, “Customer service ain’t what it used to be.” I feel special when I’m in a ride-share vehicle.