Rideshare diaries: The Uber passenger who wants to run GPS – and then wants to be thanked?

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Giving rideshare rides certainly gets me to meet all kinds of people.

Some are nice. Some want to blab. Some get kicked out due to behavior. Yes, I can do that. Some have all kinds of special requests but will “make it worth my while” which is usually code that they won’t tip. And might even leave a bad review to thank you.

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I don’t have all streets memorized so GPS is a must. I usually just leave the GPS audio up so they (and I) can hear it. Yes, she’s saying to turn right. No, the directions aren’t based on how your family has driven home for decades. It’s based on what’s the fastest as calculated by the machines!

One person once said they didn’t like the GPS voice’s tone.

Now, don’t get me wrong. GPS can be wrong. It might not know of a road closure. It once gave me a ride 4 minutes away, which I would usually accept.

But to get there in 4 minutes I had to take the interstate, which had two entrances nearby but both were closed due to construction. 4 minutes turned into 12 which was too far.

I had to cancel. Cancelling by the way was a thing Uber used to keep in front of drivers with a cancellation rate. Things reported matter. But the new app no longer shows it so maybe it’s now okay to cancel when necessary. We can define necessary later.

Lyft puts drivers on 29-minute suspensions for too many cancellations. Please sit over there in timeout.

OK, but back to directions. Usually it looks like this in Cedar Rapids:

Similar ETAs all around.

The Google Maps version of a different route:

Wow. A minute quicker or slower or whatever.

My point here is that directing over directions is usually silly and a waste of time. In Iowa, at least.

Interestingly, the best customers don’t argue but say things like: “Which way is it taking us?” And then offer ideas or something based on knowledge not in the app.

“Yes, that’s usually the quickest way, but that road is closed. Does it say that?”


Or: “Our neighbors usually go that way but we don’t. Maybe it is the better route?”

See, Uber drivers might be the hired help, but that doesn’t mean anyone needs to be bossy bossy. And really: The best bosses aren’t even bossy bossy. #leadership

People are so passionate about directions that I started asking if they have a favorite route.

If they say yes, we’ll go that route. If it’s longer or takes longer I get paid more you know.

If they say no I’ll say that I will follow the GPS app and if they disagree to just let me know.

Very customer-focused, yes?

Read next: Even people without smartphones use smartphones for GPS

I didn’t realize how passionate people are about directions, but now I know. And it’s good to remember for me as a rideshare customer how to approach the topic when I’m traveling.

I usually wouldn’t even bring it up but I sometimes do check other GPS apps to see if it agrees with the Uber ETA.