8 Things I Learned From Being A Rideshare Driver for Uber/Lyft

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In the 21st century, we have witnessed a significant transformation in the job market with the emergence of the gig economy, particularly revolutionizing transportation. Gone are the days of waiting for a taxicab or struggling to find transportation in areas beyond city limits. With just a smartphone, access to transportation through services like Uber and Lyft has become seamless. With these modern rideshare services, a new occupation has emerged for many, like myself, that don’t always fit into a traditional 9-to-5 job. To get started, all that’s needed is a vehicle, a cell phone, rideshare car insurance and of course a bank account to deposit your earnings. So, Chadwick thought to himself, why not drive for Uber/Lyft. It all seemed so easy at first…

1. The Money Is Just Okay

When I first started driving for Uber/Lyft, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was averaging about $25 to $40 an hour, but that wasn’t how much I was actually making after deducting expenses for fuel, rideshare insurance — which you MUST HAVE to drive for Uber/Lyft — and wear and tear on my vehicle. Both the Uber and Lyft apps will help you get small discounts on gas and food while you’re out driving, which helps a little if you use them, but once you deduct your operating expenses from you profits, you’re looking at a take home pay of roughly around 14 to 22 dollars an hour; which isn’t horrible but not that great either.

After taking advantage of the discounts for fuel and food, the main way to make money as an Uber/Lyft driver is to be willing to say NO to rides where the pickup is too far away OR in a dangerous area (more on this later…). The rule of thumb I follow is to decline rides where the passenger pickup is over 10 miles away, unless it’s in an area where I want to go, like areas with wealthier riders. The important thing to remember with these rideshare apps is that they only pay you (the driver) when riders are inside your vehicle, or when you’re waiting for the rider to come to your vehicle. But that’s it, that’s when you’re on the clock for the base pay (before tips). What’s critical for all drivers to understand: Uber and Lyft do not pay you for driving to the pickup destination.

2. Better Social Skills Equal More Tips

Since both Lyft and Uber—especially Uber—take a significant portion of the rider fee, the only way to make decent money driving for these platforms is to earn tips from riders. The base pay you receive from driving, without tips, is barely enough to break even after accounting for your operating expenses. In other words, to actually make more than minimum wage—approximately $8 an hour after expenses—you must earn tips.

What I’ve learned is that you need to provide riders with the rideshare experience they desire. If they want to have a conversation, be a conversationalist and engage with them. If they prefer silence, respect that and do not initiate conversation. Knowing when to talk and when to stay quiet is a fundamental social skill, and mastering it will help you earn more tips. It requires a bit of empathy (putting yourself in their shoes) and some facial recognition skills (interpreting their expressions and moods). Being an Uber/Lyft driver will teach you how to quickly read people and discern whether they want to talk or not, which is a crucial social skill to develop and refine.

It’s worth mentioning here that many rideshare drivers screw this up. I’ve often heard from my riders about how rude and inconsiderate other Uber/Lyft drivers are. Other drivers often blast crazy music, or they’ll talk to riders about random personal issues and controversial political subjects out of nowhere. Don’t be that guy, don’t be that kind of driver. If you already know to tread carefully with strangers, the same applies with riders, especially because money is involved.

3. You Don’t Realize How True Stereotypes Are Until You Drive For Uber/Lyft

There’s just nothing like first hand experience, which I already had regarding certain stereotypes before I started driving for Uber and Lyft. But sometimes, just when you think you know it all, real life experience reminds you that stereotypes are more real than you previously remembered; particularly stereotypes regarding race and class. As a rideshare driver, you’re constantly interacting with a wide variety of people, one minute you could be picking up a priest or a business person, the next, a prostitute or a drug dealer.

Although driving for Uber and Lyft hasn’t taught me anything new regarding race, it has quadruple-reconfirmed everything I already knew. For example, people that are well dressed or at least normal looking are typically more pleasant than people that dress like they rolled out of the ghetto or some trailer park. If you pick up a rider that looks like a wannabe rapper, they’re more likely to also be high and reek of marijuana. You quickly learn that you can accurately judge 95% of people by how they look and their whole vibe. Always trust your gut.

4. Race Matters, And The Races Are Not Equal

I know, what you’re thinking: “duh.” If you come into this rideshare business from the perspective that all the races are equal, and that you shouldn’t judge people too quickly, you are in for a very rude awaking. In fact, if any race-blind person expresses interest in driving for Uber or Lyft, I would advise them against it, unless I didn’t like them of course. However, if you already have first hand experience with diversity, it should be easier for you to survive and thrive in the rideshare game, because you’ll basically know what to expect on day one as a driver.

Black riders are typically much less intelligent, more ghetto and more zoned out. They’re often so absorbed in whatever hiphop music they’re listening, or some loud phone conversation they’re having, that they’ll barely bother to acknowledge you and say “hello” like a normal human being as they step into the vehicle. Of course, this can vary with different varieties of blacks; for example, much older blacks and more high class blacks are more reasonable, polite and friendly. These, however are the exceptions, and the exceptions are always just exceptions: most blacks live up to all the negative stereotypes, even when they’re cordial with you as their driver.

One real life example from my own experience involved a black male rider that I could best describe as polite yet very sketchy. To make a long story short, he turned out to be some sort of drug dealer, and what appeared to be one of his junky clients was following us on the road. I stopped the vehicle because he wanted to get out. He exited my vehicle to confront the junkie that was following us in her van — a fat black woman with a latex glove on one hand — and a physical altercation ensued. He punched her in the face at one point, and I filmed it all on my dash cam. It sounds extreme, but it was just another day of driving in a black area for Uber/Lyft.

driving for uber/lyft is a smorgasbord of anthropological research
A picture from video recorded on my dashcam while driving a drug dealer for Uber/Lyft in “da hood.”

Another thing I’ve noticed is that it’s rare to have a conversation with black riders unless it relates to something from their hood culture, and that’s if you can even understand them. I vaguely recall one black rider speaking in his very rough ebonics about how he became an important figure in his hood because he was employed at footlocker. Another black rider I recall having driven, a 50+ year old black man, went on an incoherent ramble about how “them kidz today ain’t right,” as he tried to describe all the ways in which “youths” were getting into trouble and killing each other over trivial matters; then he proceeded to tell me about how he lost his driver’s license and owed the state a substantial amount of money due to his reckless driving habits and then running away from the scene of all the accidents he had been in.

However, from my experience, when black riders are talkative, they’re usually just on their phone. They never seem to care that I, anyone else, can hear them talking on their cellphone, or that my car has a dash camera recording their embarrassing/incriminating phone conversations. I can’t remember how many times I’ve had black riders shouting at someone else over the phone, either threatening to kill them, kill someone else, talking about an STD they got, or some domestic violence issue they’re involved in. Domestic violence especially seems to be a huge part of black culture to a much greater extent than anyone realizes, because White western standards like monogamy and stable nuclear families are not natural to the evolutionary psychology of the black race.

If after reading this you still think I’m being some bigoted, racist, stereotyping meanie that just hates black people because of their skin tone, please… I drive for one color: money-green. If you think I’m full of shit, go ahead and drive for Uber/Lyft in a city full of blacks and let me know in the comments below how it goes for you.

5. Situational Awareness And Self-defense Are Paramount

driving for uber/lyft can be dangerous

I’ve always highly valued situational awareness and self-defense, but you just can’t comprehend how important those things are until you’re actually in a dangerous environment, driving potentially dangerous and unpredictable people that have a reputation for committing heinous acts of violence just for amusement — yes, I’m talking about negroes again. If you decide to drive for Uber or Lyft, you’ll more than likely find yourself in the hood, ferrying hoodrats and dindus around. Even if you know every area like the back of your hand and can avoid picking up riders in black areas, you’ll still be picking up dindu-hoodlums, because some of them work/shop/loot in nicer area. And It doesn’t help that the Uber app doesn’t tell you the drop off location of a ride until you’ve picked up the rider. The point is this: the rideshare apps will never give you all the information you need about every ride to avoid driving “kangs” and “kweens” in the hood.

This is why if you drive for Uber/Lyft, you must carry weapons regardless of Uber or Lyft’s policies. Personally, I always keep a bottle of pepper spray tucked in between my legs (easier to access than my pocket) and a handgun holstered in front of the left side of my stomach in a “belly band” holster, just in case lethal force is necessary for self-defense. I can’t remember how many times I’ve driven with one hand on a weapon, because my rider gave off bad vibes, and/or tI had to wait for my rider in the hood. Many people don’t realize how easy it would be for a rider to shoot or stab a driver from behind; riders will typically sit in the back passenger seat diagonal to the driver, but sometimes they’ll sit directly behind the driver, and it’s up to the driver to tell the rider to sit further away, behind the front passenger seat instead of right behind within throat slitting distance.

Pro-Tip: Often you can tell the race of a rider by their name. Don’t pick up people with names like Tyrone, Marcus, JayJay or Deontavious.

6. You Must Have A Dashcam

Continuing with the topic of security, dashcams are a great segue. There’s three reasons why you need a dashcam:
1. It potentially deters melanated-miscreants from misbehaving or trying to rob you. Deterrence is one of those factors that you just can’t easily measure, but you know it’s one of the most important.

2. If something does happen, you have it on video — you have evidence. This is why it’s critically important to get a dashcam that includes a cabin cam to record the inside of your vehicle, in case you have a bad situation. One scenario I often imagine is a self-defense shooting while driving for Uber/Lyft, where I have to shoot someone because I’m in fear for my life; that would be a situation where having dashcam video would help me prove it was justified self-defense, and thereby avoiding prison.

3. People will tip you more if you have a dashcam. When riders see a dashcam inside of your vehicle, it has some weird psychological effect on them: it makes the experience for the rider feel more legitimate, and thus it makes them feel that the driver is more deserving of a tip.

6. Whites Usually Tip, Blacks Almost Never Tip

driving for uber/lyft is all about the tips

Returning to the subject of race: once you start driving, it’ll be hard to ignore that blacks rarely ever tip. If you’ve ever worked in the service industry and were dependent on tips, you’ll know what I’m talking about here. I’m not going to say that blacks never ever tip, but unlike with Whites or other races, tipping just isn’t a part of black culture. 95% of blacks you encounter as a rideshare driver won’t feel obligated to tip you unless they REALLY REALLY like you, and even if they do tip you, it’ll likely be some token amount — probably one dollar. I’ve gotten larger tips from black riders, but it’s even more rare. This is another huge reason why, as a Lyft/Uber driver, it’s just a good business practice to avoid the groid.

In stark contrast to blacks, Whites seem tip the most and the most often. As an Uber/Lyft driver with one year under my belt, I’m certain that 98% of all of my tips have come from White riders, even though over 50% of my riders have been black. Even the nearly-homeless White meth addicts and broke wiggers that I’ve driven for Uber/Lyft have been better tippers on average when compared to the typical negro; and even Indian (dot not feather) riders have been better about tipping than blacks on average. Blacks are just the worst tippers, period.

7. White People Love A Good Conversation

Engaging in good conversations with your riders can make your experience as a driver easier and more pleasant. In contrast, riders who don’t talk or only discuss lowbrow topics may leave you questioning your choice of job. A useful way to think about riders is in terms of “vibration.” Some riders have a high vibration, while others have a low vibration. Although I don’t literally believe in the concept of vibrations—it’s more new-age hippie nonsense—it serves as a helpful metaphor to describe the conversational capacity, intelligence and friendliness of riders, allowing you to compare them on a spectrum. Higher vibration people tend to be more sophisticated, while lower vibration people are less so.

I would describe White riders as usually having the highest vibration. Whites will typically greet you as they enter your vehicle, and out of genuine curiosity, they ask you, the driver, how your day is going. They also often inquire about what it’s like to be an Uber/Lyft driver; they’ll also show interest in current events, international news, history, art and politics (which you have to be careful about, more on that later). But generally, overall, they’re genuinely interested in you as a person, not just their driver, and you’ll enjoy almost every conversation with a White rider. If all of my riders were White people, I would almost consider being an Uber/Lyft driver for the rest of my life.

Negro riders however are more of a mixed bag, and they’re typically much lower vibration. As state previously, they’re usually not friendly, not polite and not interested in you, the driver. If they do show a willingness to talk to you, it’ll most likely be about something relevant to “da hood” or complaining about the opposite sex — that’s usually it. Occasionally you’ll pick up a reasonable, average-intelligence/average-vibration black person that doesn’t speak in ebonics (black hood speech), but that’s rare. So with black riders, don’t expect to be picking up individuals anywhere near the level of class, intelligence or “vibration” as Candace Owens or Bill Cosby, those are absolute unicorns among the black population.

Other races of riders, like Chinese or Latino people, are somewhere in the middle as far as their “vibration” goes, but I’d say they are much closer to White people than blacks as far as friendliness and having a conversation during an Uber/Lyft ride goes; but this also depends on their skill level with the English language.

Class is also a factor, but from my experience I’ve found race to be the biggest factor determining a rider’s “vibration.”

8. Don’t Ever Be Afraid To Say No

As a driver, you don’t have to accept every ride that the Lyft and Uber app throws at you. Since you’re not officially an employee on an hourly for Uber/Lyft, you can ignore any incoming rides you wish, you can also cancel rides you accept — although I wouldn’t recommend canceling on too many rides all at once. There are many times you should ignore incoming rides, like if the pickup is in a black neighborhood, or if it’s too far away to be worth the effort. As far as cancelling on riders goes, I have a story for you. Not long ago I accepted a pickup from the hood — a mistake I made, I know, but I still drive dindus around when rides aren’t as available in the nicer White areas — I knew my rider was a black guy, but when I drove up to the corner where he was to be picked up, I saw three black teenagers standing there, in full ghetto attire, just staring at my car. I knew I wasn’t going to give them all a ride, for my own safety, so I immediately cancelled the ride as I drove right by them, and the look on their faces was priceless. Their jaws dropped, and I knew what they were thinking” “whoa, you racist muthafuckah blah blah bix nood…!”

As a driver, you have to always put your safety FIRST. That means declining rides when your gut says “NO.” LISTEN TO YOUR GUT!

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I drove for jewber and gryft for several years. Fortunately my town has a relatively small black population so I wasn’t as ‘enriched’ with the vibrant divershitty.

I was always armed with a subcompact .380 pistol appendix carry and pepper spray. Dashcam recorded the road and cabin. Advice in the article is spot on.

I only had a couple of incidents where physical safety was in question. One was a music festival where the drunk passengers got unruly when I refused to break the law. They wanted me to disobey the officer directing gridlock traffic and make an illegal u-turn to take another route the. When I said no, they started shouting at me. I ended the ride and they got slamming my doors as hard as they could and kicking the car. I sent the video to jewbur but I’m not sure if they even got banned from the platform.

The other was a late night hood pickup where three obviously gang member latino youfs piled in. The ride was uneventful but I was on defcon 5 waiting for any sign of attack. It’s a different mindgame when you’re armed and can handle yourself. Most potential attackers can pick up on this because they’re adept at picking out weak prey.

Important pro tip not mentioned: Cold temperatures suppress nausea and the urge to vomit. If you have any question passengers that drank to much (the pukers are 90% women btw) crank the AC on as cold as it cat get. The people that did puke I was fortunately able to pull over, so no one hurled in my car.

Last edited 23 days ago by Sarge

Two more things

1) When I drove, the way you made the most money was finding way to put as many miles as possible under your wheels at high speed on the freeway. Airport runs were a good way to do this. Avoid short barhopping rides in night life areas at all costs.

2) Hands down, the most obnoxious and despicable riders I had in my car were the college hoebag party sluts, especially the non-white ones. They were as rude and entitled as it gets and *always* had the *shittiest* taste in music. If you were foolish or green enough to offer them a connection to your car stereo, they would not think twice about commandeering the controls like they own the car and cranking it up to ear-splitting levels. If a speaker blew, well (shrug!) that was just too bad. NEVER let them connect their phones so they can blast their whore music. Better yet, never pick them up if you can avoid it.

Last edited 23 days ago by Sarge

Sarge, you seem to be an experienced Jewber/Gryft driver. Would you like to write a followup to Chadwick’s piece? Use the follow-up form if you’re up for it.

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