How to Treat Cab Drivers, According to Cab Drivers
Illustration: Brandon Celi.


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How to Treat Cab Drivers, According to Cab Drivers

Try not to have sex or eat in the back of the car, for starters.

Uber, Lyft, and taxi drivers wear a lot of different hats. On any given shift, they can be therapists, confidants, or even boxing-match referees. Often they see us at our most stressed or vulnerable. Or, um, drunk. In short, the job is much more than just carting people from point A to point B. They're meeting several demands from several passengers several times a day.

What do they want in return? We rounded up a few and asked them.


Don't Keep Us Waiting

It takes a lot for me to give riders a low rating, but having me wait outside your house for more than five minutes is one way to do get one. I could pick up multiple people in that time, especially if I'm using Pool. Waiting five minutes can mean missing out on one or two other passengers, and if there's another Pool rider in the car waiting for you too, that makes their ride longer! Be ready when I get there. —Jalil Mcgee, 27, Uber driver for a year and a half

Stop. Slamming. Our. Doors.

I bought a nice car for Uber, and I want to keep it nice! But no matter what I'm driving, people always are slamming doors. I don't understand how people don't seem to realize that this is not good for the car. I never yell at anyone or downrate them for it, but it does really bother me when you slam my car doors. Just close them gently! It's not that hard! —Alex L., 38, has been driving taxis and limos for five years, and Uber for two.

This has always been a pet peeve of mine, even outside of the job. I don't know what it is, maybe they were raised in a barn, but I hate it when passengers slam my doors. They're like animals! Sometimes they slam the door so hard the entire car shakes, and I'm afraid the windshield is going to shatter. —Jalil

We See a Lot of Weird Sex Shit

On a late night ride, I glanced into the backseat to see these two girls straight up fingering each other in my car. I turned around real quick and they were like, "Don't mind us! Just having a little fun before we get home!" I was like, "Hey man, do your thing, just don't make a mess back there." Jalil

I had a drunk couple ask me if I could pull over so they could fuck without falling around when I made turns. I asked if they really couldn't wait, and the dude handed me a $50 bill. So I did it. I put in my headphones until they were done. Every time I hear Drake, I get flashbacks to those five long minutes. It was an easy $50, though! —Joana Hayworth, 32, Lyft and Uber driver for two years


Please Acknowledge Me as a Human Being

I hate when people get in my car and don't say a word to me, which happens more than you'd imagine. I get it, not everyone wants to talk, but you can't even say hi? You could be getting into a random car that's not your Uber. Just check in with me. Say, "Hi, how are you?" Then tell me your name. Then you can stop talking! —Danielle Bender, 26, Uber driver for six months

Don't Leave Shit in My Car on Purpose

This has actually happened to me more than once. I'll drop a guy off, then 20 minutes later I'll get a notification from Uber that he left something in my car. Usually it's something dumb like a water bottle, and when he comes out to get it, he will try and ask me out. The joys of being a female Uber driver! Hate to break it to you, boys, but I'm married! —Joana

We Lowkey Love Listening to Your Ridiculous Arguments

I won't say don't get into fights in my backseat, because that is honestly really entertaining. I had a couple get in a fight about ghosts once. I picked them up, and the woman was mad at the guy because he had liked his friend's engagement status on Facebook. Through the course of their argument, I came to learn that his friend had been previously engaged, and that his old fiancée had died. The woman thought it was too soon for the guy to be getting engaged again, and the man agreed but kept repeating, "He's my best friend, and I'm happy for him." The fight escalated until the woman was screaming at him, "What do you think her ghost would say if she was here to watch all this!?!" That was a fun ride for me. —Will Quam, 25, Uber driver for one year

Don't Downrate Me for Something I Can't Control

Uber's navigation system is buggy. Sometimes it will put you in a different location than where you are. Usually people are cool about this, but I've had people yell at me when I arrive because I'm a block away from where they are, and then rate me lower than five stars because of this. Traffic is another thing that is not my fault! Sometimes the roads are clogged, and I can't get around it. Screaming in my ear and threatening to downrate isn't going to magically clear up the highway. I'm sorry you're late, but if you're getting into my car at rush hour, you should know what to expect. Joana

Eat When You Get Home, You Animals

I take pride in my car and hate it when people eat things in my backseat. Sometimes they even leave their trash and takeout containers, and I won't notice until I get home at the end of the night. That makes me look bad to other customers, so please be respectful and take your trash with you! Alex

I once had a guy eating soup in my car. Soup! I told him to put it away, and he was real lippy about it. Dude, soup is not a car-suitable food. Eat when you get home! —Joana


No One Ever Tips Us (Though We'd Love It if They Did)

I think I've been tipped twice the entire time I've been an Uber driver. Lyft lets you tip in the app but Uber doesn't. In the Uber driver-training video, we are instructed that if people try to tip us with cash, we have to first refuse. If they continue to offer us cash, we are to inform them they don't have to tip. If they offer a third time, we are then able to accept. But I always accept the first time, because it literally never happens. I did have a very drunk man try to give me all the money out of his wallet once, but for the sake of karma, I refused. —Will

No Life Advice, Please

Riders think they can say anything to their drivers. They figure they'll never see this person again, so they might as well tell them everything! So I get people who tell me every issue they ever had in their lives, but I also get people telling me how I should live my life or how the world should be, and those people were the worst. People tell me I need to stop driving and go get a full-time, corporate job or something. —Will

We Hate Your Shitty Music

I like to play music I think everyone will enjoy. Oldies, general ambiance music, you know. So it really bugs me when someone gets into my car and immediately asks for the aux cord, and then puts on some dumb shit I can't stand, especially in a Pool. It's pretty much guaranteed other riders aren't gonna like it either, and then I look like an asshole. —Jalil

Oh, You Know a Better Route?

I get a lot of people telling me how to get to places I know how to get to. I just let them tell me, honestly. It usually takes way longer their way, but especially if I'm driving my limo, I'm making a lot of money off that extra time. In general, your driver probably knows how to get to where you're going faster than you do, but we won't argue with you if you want us to change directions. —Alex

This Is Not a Clown Car

If you're trying to fit more people in my car than I have seats to fill, I'll just tell you to piss off. It happens a lot. Someone will request three seats, and I'll pull up and see five people waiting on the curb. "Can we just squeeze?" No! You need to call another car. I don't play that shit. It's already annoying enough to be driving on a Saturday night. You don't think I'd rather be out there partying? Then to have people try and get one over on you. I really don't need that extra bullshit. —Jalil

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All illustrations by Brandon Celi