UBER Facts You May Not Know – From the Bird’s Nest
UBER has become more and more popular in Lafayette over the last few months. Those who use it love the fact they're riding in a clean car as opposed to a (potentially) dirty taxi and love the convenience of not having to look for a place to park in congested areas. And, of course, they understand a $6.00 UBER ride is a lot cheaper than spending $10,000 as the result of a DUI. The convenience of not having to use cash is pretty attractive as well.
I don't have much to do this summer, so I signed up to be an UBER driver. And, I've found out quite a few things along the way:
UBER charges a base rate (it's less than a buck for UBER-X). The rest of the fee is calculated by distance to your destination and the time it takes to get there. The driver gets 75% of the fee and will not earn less than $3.00 for any ride, even if it's just down the street.
It's simple. UBER finds the driver closest to your destination and notifies that driver of your need. Drivers have the option of refusing the call for whatever reason. That doesn't happen often, however. A driver has 15 seconds to accept the ride once the notification is given. Once the driver accepts the notification, his GPS will immediately give the address of the pickup. He will not know the destination until he confirms the rider has been picked up.
With UBER, users cannot request a driver through the app. This question is asked of drivers pretty often. The person closest is going to get the notification. Sometimes a user will tell a driver they expect to be ready for a return trip at XXX time and that driver might be able to get into that area to get the call. UBER frowns upon that, however.
It's the size of the party...and the vehicle. UBER drivers are required to use a car that will seat four passengers comfortably. Users with a larger party can request a larger vehicle. All of the fees are a bit higher, but you're getting the opportunity to transport more of your friends at once. However, it should be noted UBER drivers cannot transport more people than the number of seats available. No sitting on the floor or on someone's lap. If you have more people than available seats, you'll have to summon another driver.
When demand is high, whether the bars are closing or there's a special event taking place that creates high demand, the price is going to go up. When you summon a driver, you'll be notified that you are in a high demand situation and you will be charged more. You have the right to cancel the ride and wait until demand lessens.
It's the biggest misconception about UBER. It should be noted that passengers are not required to tip. And, most of them don't. In many cases it's because the passenger isn't carrying cash (one of the things that is attractive about UBER). You're certainly not obligated to tip. But if your driver does something like provide an auxiliary cable so you can listen to your favorite music, has an extra phone charger or makes a stop on the way to your destination so you can pick up something, that's going over and above his responsibilities. (LYFT, relatively new to Lafayette, has a tip option on the app that is charged to your card, along with your ride. Expect UBER to do the same at some point.)
The person who uses the app to summon a driver is on the hook for anything that happens. If one of your friends spills a drink in the vehicle or gets sick, your driver will take photos of the mess and send it to UBER. Your credit card will be charged a cleaning fee, which could run as high as $150.00.
Your driver is required to rate the experience of the trip. Most drivers will automatically award five stars, unless something really goes wrong. Verbal abuse, making a mess in the vehicle or acting like your driver is your personal servant can lower the ratting. And if a driver rates you one star, you won't be riding with him in the future. Conversely, passengers have an option to rate a driver as well and can exercise that option. An average trip probably won't get rated. Most passengers don't use the rating but when they do, it's usually five stars...unless the driver was obnoxious, verbally abusive or just had a bad attitude.