One Of My Biggest Uber Driver Annoyances

I take Uber on a daily basis, and really appreciate the service. While there are some horrible drivers in the system, for the most part I’ve found Uber drivers to be exceptional, and so much better than what was available in the taxi industry before.

I’ve read all kinds of stuff on the internet about “pet peeves” that drivers have about passengers, most of which seem warranted. As a passenger I have one slightly unusual annoyance that I have to get off my chest.

Let me start by saying that I do everything I can to be respectful of Uber drivers — I’m always polite, I almost never talk on my phone in a car (and when I do, I ask the driver if it’s okay and keep it very short), etc.

But what is it with some Uber drivers getting involved in passengers’ conversations? Don’t get me wrong, I can imagine that sometimes Uber drivers have to smirk or laugh at something being said, as I’m sure they hear some crazy stuff, and don’t fault them for that. But every so often I get an Uber driver who just jumps into every conversation.

For example, Ford and I are in South Beach right now, and last night called an Uber to dinner. Even though the ride was just a few minutes, the driver managed to get involved in our conversations three times, before we learned to just be quiet. Not only that, but just about everything he said was inaccurate.

I asked Ford what time our reservation was at the restaurant we were going to, and he said 7PM. The driver jumped in, “oh, I don’t know if they’ll take your reservation, I’ve heard they’re really strict if you’re late.” Our scheduled arrival time was 7:02PM — I think we’ll be fine (and we were).

Then I was reading Ford some hilarious texts from a friend who was at a fancy restaurant having a tasting menu, and the driver jumped in and said “are you talking about New Years Eve at Fontainebleau?”

“No?”

“Yeah, Justin Bieber is going to be there and tickets are a minimum of $50,000 per person.”

“Wait, really?”

“Yeah, and they sold thousands of them.”

Of course that sounded way off, so a quick Google search revealed this:

“Ticket prices start at $350 for one (1) general admission ticket, and range up to $50,000 for a stage-side private space for up to 25 guests. All packages include premium open bar from 9 PM until Midnight.”

Thousands of people supposedly paying $50,000 per person is slightly different than the most expensive tickets costing up to $2,000 per person. 😉

A moment later I was telling Ford something about a friend in Dubai, and before I could finish my sentence the Uber driver chimed in “I’ve heard Dubai is amazing.”

After that I learned my lesson, and we just didn’t say anything for the rest of the ride.

text

As I said above, I imagine some Uber drivers must get bored, and I have no issues with them occasionally chiming in on something or laughing. But to get involved in every aspect of a conversation is annoying as hell.

Has anyone else been in a similar situation, and if so, how do you handle it?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

Comments

  1. @ Ben — Kinda agree with Mitch on this one. This post doesn’t reflect well upon you My comment probably doesn’t reflect well upon me either, so no biggie. 🙂 Thank God for texting, though!

  2. I agree with Lucky. A little conversation is fine. Some drivers maybe are lonely and crave human interaction, which is why they drive. Love meeting new people and having conversations. But interjecting and interrupting your passengers’ discussion unnecessarily and then making false statements is really annoying.

  3. This is also an announce for me. A natural minimal involvement in the conversation is perfectly fine but recently in Scottsdale it was all too intruding. We were talking about a friend’s cat to which the driver interrupted with, ” you guys like animals?”
    Us: “Um.. yeah sure”
    Driver: “you see that tree over there?” (This being in the desert, there are not many trees, The tree was about 500 yards away from the highway in which we were traveling about 80mph) “there are birds that live in that tree there” …

    We didn’t talk for the rest today the ride.

  4. That’s not my biggest pet peeve. What I hate is when the app says driver arriving in 6, then 4. Then 12 and count down to 3, then 9 minutes!

  5. I sympathize but it’s minor compared to my pet peeve.

    Drivers who hold their smart phone in their hand and use it for directions. Eyes off the road every couple of minutes. Use a dash or window mounted holder for your phone so you don’t have to look down.

  6. I’ve had a driver fall asleep in the car so..could be worse! 🙂 But yeah, when you get ‘one of those’ it’s really frustrating. I usually roll with it and just leave myself satisfied that the guy is a knucklehead.

  7. Uber is smartphone technology socialism. It’s a rotten business, it should be banned worldwide. But, but, but, those really “kind” drivers will start to cry, give 1 star ratings, and cyber-bully. Waaaaa.

  8. “Uber is smartphone technology socialism”…


    Um


    That you can and do boil everything into politics means you’re a troll, or you truly are crazy.

  9. @ Beachfan — That not only drives me crazy, but also terrifies me. I have been told by drivers that uber stopped providing a mounting kit. Sounds like a class-action lawsuit waiting to happen.

  10. In markets where there is less of a history of executive travel or taxi service (Miami may fit this description, I’m not sure), you will have more casual Uber drivers who may like to get involved in the conversation. In New York, the black car drivers that do airport rides and other types of rides for firms generally are trained by dispatchers to not get involved in conversations. Taxi drivers generally follow this as well (sometimes). Uber doesn’t train its drivers to do anything, so diver behavior will be inconsistent in this regard. If the driver keeps interjecting, just be quiet or use one word answers with the driver. If it’s more of an issue, just give a low rating

  11. I hate it. But it’s not limited to uber drivers. You get a buddy or you get money, not both.

    That said, you can’t have it both ways. If you’re the type who, when alone, tries to strike up a conversation with the driver, you’re just as bad. Maybe they enjoy it. Maybe they are just being polite for a tip or five stars and wish you’d shut up. As a passenger, you get a ride not a friend. If you adhere to that, but only if you do, then you can complain about talkative drivers.

  12. +1 for this post. I genuinely do not like the overly involved driver. I’ve found the UberBlack drivers to be far more professional about jumping into conversations versus UberX. It’s not a social exchange program. You are paying a fee for a service and the service is transportation. I already get creeped out getting picked up at home for a night out, essentially advertising to the driver no one is home. While the majority of Uber drivers are great, a single exception to this rule -and there have been countless publicized cases- could be costly. I now have learned to keep my mouth shut, nor do I take calls in the Uber. I have been very lucky, however, as I often get the same
    Uber drivers who know me -and I live in LA. Miami is the worst city for Ubers, and their management in the city seems to lack. Had an Uber who didn’t know how to get to MIA -nor speak English. Despite being bilingual, I ended up at the cargo terminal – inputed the address correctly too…

  13. Well I once got a catholic guy holding a speach about how terrible Islam is and that it’s a religion only about hating… blablabla… And this for 15 min straight. I myself am not very religious but always am trying to be respecteful with ppl holding other opinions. But at some point I just gave up trying to answer all of his arguments and sat still for the rest of the drive while he was still ranting further.
    I can’t imagine how a conversation with that guy and a possible muslim guest would end.

  14. Uber rides, like everywhere in life, contain all kinds of people. The world would be a better place if we all tolerated and accepted each other more, no matter how weird or annoying a person may seem.
    As I driver, I was definitely not the type to jump into passenger convos. Even so, I experienced plenty of condescending, cynical attitudes from passengers. Unless he or she is being truly rude or inappropriate, I’d advocate for having mercy on your driver and treating them kindly.
    Sorry for the novel!

  15. “I can’t imagine how a conversation with that guy and a possible muslim guest would end.”

    The Muslim person standing on the side of the road?

  16. I had a limo pick me up in Boston and take me to NH last weekend. The driver would not shut up and was telling me the creepiest stories about how he found out his wife was cheating on him, how hung his step son was (really), and how many sexual escapades his step son got into. How many sexual acts he has seen happen in his limo, etc. It was an hour drive. The guy was like Jabba the Hut. Had a bag of Taco Bell in the front seat. The ride back to BOS was with a different driver, and much more professional. My uber drivers usually are quiet or we share stories about what countries we are from.

  17. I drive for Uber on the side and feel that it is generally my “job” to judge if someone wants to converse or not. “Butting in” to other peoples conversation is a sign of poor social skills in general. I can’t blame you for being annoyed by this.

    Finally, talk on your cell phone ALL YOU WANT. I am providing a service to you which means that you should be able to continue with your work/life while I am driving. That is one of the benefits of taking Uber.

  18. Almost same situation here!
    I was in the Uber Black LUX car @London last month.
    The driver picked me up from the Conrad St.James (after meeting with a client) then off to Mandarin Oriental (where I stayed/drop some boxes to the bellman to delivered up to my room) & off to Harrods to pick up a friends then to a restaurant nearby.
    Uber Driver: You stay at The Conrad?
    Me: No, Business meeting
    Uber Driver: What kind of Business do you do?
    Me: Hmm, Finance
    Uber Driver: Do you have a branch or office at the Conrad?
    Me: NO
    Uber: Then where do you guys have meeting?
    Me: The hotel have a meeting conference room
    Uber Driver: Your business must be good because this hotel is very expensive, your lucky man! (Mandarin Oriental)
    Me: **smile**
    Uber Driver: The person you are picking up is your girlfriend?
    Me: A big your pardon? Well YES and she doesn’t like to talk or joke with any one so if you don’t mind after when you pick her up, you don’t talk.

  19. Hahaha don’t ever get a black cab in London Lucky. I don’t think you will have a good time. (But why would you? Uber is way cheaper).

    Think the comments just show that you have a lot of introverts who follow/comment on this blog haha.

  20. So Uber and Lyft drivers are basically just regular folks on the street trying to make a living. To them it’s more like giving a friend a ride. I would expect them to be involved in most conversations at least indirectly. I also wonder if it would matter if the driver would have been correct about the comments. I assume this was just one example. Taxi or Sedan company drivers are trained differently I assume.

  21. I consider this a minor annoyance since Uber rides are relatively short and so is the problem. My annoyance with Uber are the drivers who are super impatient and obnoxious in traffic, just shy of road rage. It’s actually scary given that people are getting blown away in road rage incidents with increasing frequency.

  22. I drove for Uber for the first half of 2016. While I get this driver was annoying there are plenty of pax who want to engage in conversation and I was always happy to do so. It’s hard sometimes to read people and determine who wants to chat vs who wants a quiet ride – I’m sure at times i’ve gotten it wrong.

  23. Chatty drivers can be a pain, but my biggest bug bears are:

    1. When you check how long the Uber will take to get to you and it says 3 minutes… 15 minutes later you are still waiting with the waiting time continually changing. Even better is when they then cancel.

    2. When you order a short Uber trip (10-15 mins drive, often with luggage) and the Uber driver whines the entire time about how short the drive is and how little they’re making. I get it, but that’s what you signed up for. I would have usually tipped you for your trouble, but whining all the way is a sure fire way for me to not tip.

  24. I usually like your posts, comments and insights but think you are way off base here. The driver was just trying to be friendly.

  25. How do you feel about Uber drivers wanting to be tipped now? I hate it! They use the logic “You tip your taxi driver, so you should tip your Uber driver!” First off when I do take a taxi (rarely now that there is uber) if I’m paying cash I round up maybe tipping a few bucks. Uber is cashless and uber does not have a tipping option as part of their app so not only do I not feel obligated but I also feel like it totally defeats the purpose of not having to carry cash! I’ve read that some uber drivers will give you a bad rating if you don’t tip and I’ve recently seen signs in Uber’s saying they want a tip! This really bothers me, uber drivers are self employed and you are never obligated to tip a business owner either! Tipping has gotten way out of hand! In my opinion I like to tip and I like to tip well for certain services and for when someone goes above and beyond but this obligatory tipping really bothers me! What do the rest of you think?

  26. Melissa and Adam are correct, thank you for your comments.

    I keep my greed in check, and avoid Uber at all costs. They don’t pay taxes, they don’t pay local fees to operate (medallions), they don’t train drivers, etc etc., undercutting both the operators playing by the rules and our local government’s ability to provide other services as well as manage and set baselines for the driver operator pool.

    Plus, Uber clearly takes advantage of drivers stupidity and/or desperation. Think of it this way: the IRS allowance for DEDUCTIBLE costs of operating a car for business is 53.5 cents/mile for 2017 (not all of the costs, just the deductible ones.) So lets just use that as a rough, albeit low, estimate of what it costs to operate a vehicle. Now ask yourself – how much profit do you think drivers are clearing above 53.5 cents per mile driving for Uber? The answer is: give me a break, how about zero? Plus, you better hope you don’t have an accident. The average person’s auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial activities like Uber. You can see why they are running so much driver recruitment advertising on TV right now, the churn must be substantial.

    Why do you think Uber is so fascinated with driverless cars? Because it’s their only hope. The model doesn’t work as currently built; they are operating as essentially a “grey market” purveyor of taxi services in a fragmented industry. It may take a while but Uber won’t last in its current form – just as it couldn’t meaningfully sustain its initial service promise – black cars for cheap.

    Cool user interface, but I have a local taxi service that puts their ass on the line by paying all fees and insurance etc to compete fairly. So as mentioned, I keep my greed in check and I greatly prefer to patronize the guy currently playing by the rules, even if it costs more.

  27. Totally unrelated to your post, but while you’re in south beach prime 112 is a MUST. Hands down the best meal I’ve ever eaten

  28. I drive for Uber and Lyft. The problem with whether or not to talk with the passenger is that some think it’s rude if you do and some think it’s rude if you don’t. Someone jumping into a conversation is a different story – not an uber driver issue – this can happen in line at a store, at a restaurant or bar, at church… basically anywhere people talk. I try to gauge whether or not a lone passenger wants to talk by asking a simple question. If it’s more than one person, I let them include me in the conversation if they want to. If not, I’m happy in my own head.
    As far as taking on your phone, if you aren’t being offensive or overly loud, talk all you want. If you feel the need to drop bad language a lot or your topic is in poor taste, hold your conversation until you get to your destination – this goes for a conversation with another person in the car too.
    I’m providing a service and I don’t expect or want a personal relationship of any kind in return. As you make your comments and write your articles though, please remember that to provide you with the service you requested I have literally invited you into my own personal property. A little courtesy in both directions goes a long way.

  29. If you want a genteel, well-trained driver who speaks when spoken to, pay for that luxury.
    Perhaps the coach class quality of UberX is not for you.

  30. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to tip an Uber or Lyft driver. I would tip person driving a shuttle to the airport, a taxi driver, a limo driver, etc. I also tip food delivery people (for pizza, subs, etc.) Yes, people choose to work for these companies. But this service is saving you money and giving the driver a $2 tip isn’t going to change that – but it will make a huge difference in their hourly salary.

    And for the record, you sound very petty in your post. How dare someone below your perceived social standing socialize with you!

  31. UberX is a coach experience. When flying coach you pay to be taken to a destination, but do you get a lot of personal options? And for the most part we take what we can get when we want to go to Rome. So you put up with the fat smelly guy next to you until you land. Same with UberX. You will have to listen to my music, smell my smells and listen to my dumb ramblings. Don’t like it, spring for Uber premium and get the first class treatment you pay for.

  32. You want the driver to drive you for a loss, and still too stuck up for conversation. You wonder why English is not even a requirement on Uber……and you want manners too? Lmao

  33. An Uber driver once saved me and my girlfriend from wasting time visiting a very boring area in Singapore by breaking in to our conversation 🙂 I’m still thankful for that!

  34. You’re taking literally the cheapest means of transportation and complained about it. If it means that much, maybe you should spring for limo service. When you get into an uber, you should consider yourself as a guest, not their employer.

  35. As above, I don’t understand why this post is about Uber drivers. This can happen anywhere in the world in any taxi… it’s hardly an Uber specific thing. It’s the same with barbers or hairdressers. Often known for being chatty but some clients just don’t like that…

  36. Omg last time I took an uber the driver got lost, missed several turns, made us late, he didn’t pay attention to his GPS, so at the end I just guided him to my destination.

  37. Uber DO train their drivers, albeit online. And the rating system DOES weed out the wrong drivers, at least it does in Sydney where UBER is legal and their are many thousands of drivers. I should know, I both ride (use) UBER and drive for it. As to overly chatty drivers, rather that than the ultra annoying and rude habit of some drivers who talk to their family WHILE driving! That gets a downgrade from me, and it is rare on UBER but super common in taxis.

  38. @Alex & @Lucky
    I agree! There is a huge difference between pleasant conversation and invasive or integrating interactions with strangers! I am personally a private person and I understand that not everyone has that same personality and doesn’t understand that unwanted questioning or unprompted opinions I’m not asking for makes me uncomfortable. I am usually good about turning the conversation away from me and on to them (people love to talk about themselves) But I’m finding that hotels are becoming increasingly nosy I recently asked a check in person at a Fairmont if they were writing a book after literally feeling as if I was under a bright light being interrogated! Like what’s with people generally (Not just Uber) not understanding personal boundaries? I mean I don’t want to explain my whole life story to some nosy stranger!

  39. I am an Uber driver, but I am a lot more professional because I’ve done some limo service before. I ask 1-2 questions usually just to not be weird and not say a single word during the trip. Then it’s up to them to engage in conversation if they want.

    The high majority of riders are interested in what I do, how it works and the people I meet, so they almost always want to talk.

    Usually when there are 2 or more riders, they tend to talk to each other (and sometimes to me) and I don’t ever interrupt their conversation unless it’s specific to the trip, like further directions.

    However, as a rider, you must be respectful of the drivers time. A couple weeks ago I accepted a ride, drove 15+ mins to the pick up location, she took 7-8+ mins to finally come out the door (after I texted her) and the drive was only about 4-5 mins. How profitable was this ride?

    And for the person above that commented about a driver canceling on you, I’ve drive 15+ mins to pick someone up and then they cancel. Yeah, it goes both ways.

  40. @Ever You seem like the most ideal Uber driver! And people like you are thankfully the majority with regards to ride sharing and thats why the few uncomfortable experiences don’t stop me from using it as my preferred method of city transportation. Thanks for your insight on this, its good to have both perspectives!

  41. Let me start by saying that I do everything I can to be respectful of Uber drivers — “I’m always polite”

    One should always be polite it is good karma. The fact you have to mention that you are is a sad reflection on society, and American in particular, that you have to state this!

    Am I the only no Yank who finds service in the US generally crap? Don’t even mention US airlines!

  42. Ever
    ur correct I got one Uber diver on his first day another showed her how to use her phone .It’s people who are the asses not U guys then they put U in a dead zone @ BNA .TAXIS suck and are crooks .CHEERs

  43. Not an UBER specific behaivor, annoying nonetheless. The beauty of UBER/Lfty is you can still give the driver an excellent rating but then in the comment section mention the situtation. They’ll get the feedback and you haven’t damaged their rating.

  44. I don’t think I rude for talking on my phone. I speak softly and politely. If I need or want to talk to a friend or a colleague, I’m not going to let the fact that I’m in an Uber stop me. It’s all about mutual respect.

  45. Heaven forbid that an Uber driver wants to be friendly. Society is full of people who feel “entitled” to treat people like garbage. It’s passengers who are the problem. I always gauge the person I’m driving. If they don’t want to talk, I don’t talk, but it’s very awkward. The world is a place which was designed for people to talk to one another. If you ask me questions, I’m going to answer them, and honestly, so don’t complain about my friendliness. As for ratings, if you rate your driver any less than 5 stars, then you’re a 1st Class jerk. Unless the driver was an asshole, then try to respect that this is their business, they are trying to accomodate YOU, and they have to put up with horrible people every day. And if you don’t tip, then you are just a cheap S.O.B., period. Drivers deal with passengers who give wrong addresses, don’t answer their phones, are rude in their cars, cuss in their cars, and throw up when they’re drunk! (In their cars). Try to understand this is their own PERSONAL vehicle, don’t be rude, appreciate the awesome service you get (I even provide candy, gum, mints, and water), engage in conversation as that is what decent human beings do, and above all, don’t be an asshole.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *