Okay, so you are tired of the parking rates continually increasing at the airport. And you don’t like the idea of parking at one terminal when you leave, only to arrive at another terminal when you return, and then getting back to your departure terminal to pick up your car.
Or maybe the party last night lasted longer and provided more liquid refreshments than you are accustomed to. Or, you must take your car to your favorite auto serviceman for repairs and leave it for several hours.
Unfortunately, public transportation is not convenient or available and taxis are unpredictable in availability and price. It is time to contact a friend if one is available. But did you know your best rideshare friend is as close as an App on your smartphone?
Since the early 2010s, there have been several ridesharing companies created. The two most popular are Uber and Lyft. However, there are as many as 10 or more companies currently providing rides in various cities.
Though most of the information on the Internet pertaining to rideshare is directed to the drivers, my intent is to help you, the rider understands how to make it easier for the driver to locate you when you request a ride and to make your ride experience go smoother.
GETTING SIGNED UP
To sign up for rideshare, simply download and install the appropriate Uber or Lyft app. Open the application and create your account. Once the app is installed and the account is created, this account can remain open on your smartphone. Or, if you choose, you can close it, as long as you remember your password.
REQUESTING A RIDE
You can see on the Uber screenshot, the cars that are available. When you request a ride, Uber will send the closest car. Lyft operates the same way. You can have both Lyft and Uber apps downloaded, giving you the ability to compare the availability of cars and compare prices. Once your car is assigned, the app will give you the make and model of the car, the color, and the license plate number. It will also give you the name of the driver and a photo. As a matter of safety and security, when the car arrives, verify the information. Call the driver by name and give the driver your name.
Now that you have requested a ride, you want the driver to be able to find you. There are several factors that can make this seemingly simple task more difficult. Here are some issues and how to overcome them.
- When everything works as planned, the process goes like this:
You the rider submits a request for a ride through the app on your smartphone.
- A notice pops up on the nearest driver’s app. The driver can either accept or reject the request by tapping the request on the app. It is counted against the driver if he rejects too many ride requests.
- The navigation GPS appears on the driver’s app. Even though the address may be initially given on the request, it is not readily visible to the driver once the ride is accepted.
- The GPS instruction directs the driver to the location you indicated.
- The app notifies you when the car has arrived.
- Once you are in the car, the driver taps the app to start the ride. This initiates the GPS instructions to your destination.
- When you are delivered to your destination, the driver records the ride as complete by tapping the appropriate button on the app.
If there is a problem with the ride, it will usually occur at the beginning of the process. Regardless of the GPS system used, finding the rider is sometimes very difficult. Even though the GPS is extremely accurate, the maps that overlay the GPS system location may not be.
Here are some simple ways to help your driver find you:
- When requesting a ride, use your actual address. Do not use “Your Location” as the place to be picked up. Your location on an app can be several blocks from your actual location and the driver is sent on a wild goose chase.
- Leave your phone on. You can track the movement of your driver on your phone rideshare app. You can also see how many minutes before the driver’s arrival. Many drivers will call the rider once they arrive at the rider’s location.
- Make sure your address is visible on your house. Many homes have the address inscribed in stone on the front of the house. However, they are covered by bushes, shrubbery or trees. Or, there may not be a light on the address to show at night.
- It is very helpful to have your address visible somewhere near the street. If your address is on your mailbox and it is directly in front of your house or next to your driveway, that can be helpful. An address painted on the front curbing is also helpful if it is not blocked by a parked car.
- At night, leave your outdoor light on. On a dark street, the first house a driver will approach will be the one with the light on.
It is not uncommon to schedule your ride in advance. When this occurs, a 15-20-minute range of time is given. Be prepared for your ride to arrive at the beginning of that range. Your wait time begins when the car arrives. If your driver must wait for 15 minutes, you will have to pay that 15-minute wait time.
- When scheduling in advance, do not oversleep. You take the chance of your ride being canceled because you did not respond when the driver arrives at your location.
- Watch for a notice on your app of your driver’s arrival.
- If you live in a gated community with a security guard in place, be sure to advise the guard of the approximate arrival time of your rideshare. If your gated community does not have a live guard, contact your driver with the gate code.
- If you live in an apartment complex, text or call your driver when they are close to your location, so they can find your apartment. In some complexes, it is advisable for the rider to meet the driver at the leasing office.
- Finally, you can contact your driver with a message or phone call. Keep in mind, though, that the driver may not be able to respond immediately, as his concentration will be on his driving. Many drivers will phone a rider when they arrive at their pick-up location.
THE RIDE AND THE DESTINATION
When your car arrives, verify your driver. There are several checks: license number; car make, model, color; driver’s name. The driver’s profile is available on the app as soon as the ride is accepted by the driver.
The make-up of drivers is the same as the general population. Some like to converse with their rider, some do not. Some want you to ride in the front seat, some don’t. If you prefer to converse with your driver, do so. They may not respond openly to your attempt, but not everyone does. If you want to ride in the front seat, ask the driver.
Some drivers prefer the rider to sit in the front seat. That is my preference when I drive. I want to converse with my rider and at my age, it is much easier to hear them if they are to my side than when they are behind me.
The driver may be taking you to a destination you have gone to many times before and are very familiar with. On the other hand, the driver may never have been to that location. It is okay to tell the driver you can give directions the GPS may not give. Most drivers will willingly accept your directions. This is particularly true when you get closer to your destination.
These suggestions will not resolve every problem that could possibly develop in your rideshare experience, but they should go a long way to make your ride more enjoyable. If your ride is smooth and problems are eliminated, you will have more time to enjoy that cup of coffee from The Enjoyable Grind.