New Years Eve is almost here and many of you will be enjoying a night on the town to ring in 2015. And as ridesharing spreads in availability to more cities, many of you will be using Uber to get to and from your celebrations safely.
Your Uber drivers will have one of their busiest nights of the year, with highest volumes predicted between midnight and 3 am. Drivers have a goal of getting you to your location quickly and safely as moving passengers efficiently will help keep prices from surging.
As a driver, I often see a different side of the Uber experience, particularly where those inefficiencies spring up that cause demand to outstrip supply. Based on my observations, here are the top ten things you can do to have a hassle-free Uber on New Years Eve!
Designate one Uber person for your group
Fewer people opening Uber’s app at the same time means less chance of artificially spiking demand and creating a surge. Also, Uber assigns the car closest to you at the time of the request, so requesting more than one car to see which one arrives first – yes, people actually do this! – defeats the purpose of efficiently allocating cars to riders. (Read more about how YOU might be contributing to a surge.) If you really don’t want to pay surge pricing, plan to ride BEFORE midnight or AFTER 3 am – that three hour window is projected by Uber to be the highest demand period of the year!
Check your location
It’s tempting to just drop a pin but don’t! Drivers can get more efficient navigation instructions if enter an actual address into the app. If you are in a public location (bar, restaurant, hotel), you can enter the name of your location in the app which will then download the address for the driver. This in turn will relay the address to the driver accurately. Or if you are at a private home, check with the host for a street address and use that to navigate. Pin drops, on the other hand, can sometimes register the wrong address (particularly if you are inside when you request your ride).
Use a promo code
If you’ve never requested an Uber before, you can get your first ride free (or at least the first $20 of it!) Set your app now with this promo code – UBERJETSETS – or enter it any time before your first ride ends. Don’t worry – your driver still gets paid as normal, but you still save! (Disclosure: This is the Jetsetter’s Homestead promo code – we get a free ride later for referring you.)
Request the right vehicle
Know the types of Uber vehicles available in your market. UberX and Uber Black are guaranteed to accommodate up to four passengers. If you have more than four, you may be able to request an UberXL or UberSUV in some markets which can accommodate up to six passengers. If you have more than the capacity for the vehicle type available, you need to request a second car. Prices vary for vehicle types – the nicer the vehicle, the higher the base fare and per minute/per mile charges.
Keep the party at the party
Just because you aren’t driving doesn’t mean that the law doesn’t follow you into the car. Open container laws mean that you and your driver are still at risk if you bring your beverages with you so finish your drinks before you step into the car. Or if you are bringing your own bottle, keep it sealed until you arrive. It’s important to respect the cars of your driver too – these aren’t taxi cabs we rent for the night but our own private vehicles so extinguish your cigarette and leave the party favors (um… drugs!) at home. And save the after party for your own bedroom – we don’t like to watch. (True story, one of my driver friends actually had a couple decide to have a moment in his backseat this past weekend – and they refused to leave until they were done. No… just NO!)
Be ready to get in the proper vehicle
If you are leaving the party at the height of the rush, chances are you aren’t the only one calling Uber. Be sure you are getting in the right vehicle with the right driver. As well, drivers should be checking their passengers but ask your driver’s name and check the car’s make/model and license number to be sure you getting in the right car. Why is this important? Well, if someone else gets YOUR Uber, it’s being charged to YOUR credit card!
Communicate an accurate destination
Your fun night should be relaxing and that includes getting from point A to point B without hassle. The best way to do that is to input your final destination address when you request your ride (which gives you the bonus of also being able to estimate your fare). If you only have the name of the location, try inputting that instead. Trust your driver to navigate the best way to get in and out of crowded nightlife and downtown areas. Also keep in mind that in some areas, we can be ticketed if we do not follow proper drop off and/or pick up instructions. If your driver asks you to walk to a specific spot at a crowded, he is probably receiving instructions from event staff and/or police officers.
Enjoy a safe ride and leave no damage
Remember that your driver’s number one goal is to get you home safely and quickly. Sit back and leave the driving to us. We’ll be worried about following traffic laws and finding the shortest efficient route home. Be sure to wear your seatbelt (it’s the law and you can still be ticketed if your driver is pulled over in a random traffic stop, something that frequently happens on New Years Eve). If you have someone in your group who is at risk of being sick, you may be better waiting that out before getting in a vehicle. If damage occurs in the Uber (I’m looking at you, green looking overserved guy), your credit card will be automatically charged for the clean-up fees when your driver submits a report to the local Uber office (typically $100-$500). You will also put your driver out of commission until the car can be cleaned – so you are messing with someone’s income. So in short… DON’T BE THAT PERSON!!!
Take all your belongings with you
New Years Eve is busy and will take your driver all over your metro area. If you leave something behind in the car, we will not be able to drive back immediately to return it to a rider so do a double check before exiting to be sure you have your coat, wallet, phone, etc. If you do lose something, your best bet is to contact Uber about that specific ride. To do that, open your app, click ‘view account’, and then click ‘trip history’. Click ‘Need help?’ and you can report your lost item. You can also use this method to report any other issues with your ride.
Don’t forget to leave good feedback
If you had a great ride, don’t forget to give your driver five stars (those ratings are important). Remember that your driver has no control over surge pricing, traffic patterns, or whether you had fun at your party… those ratings determine whether individual drivers get to stay on the road, not whether or not you like Uber in general, so be fair!
While we can’t guarantee a midnight kiss or no hangover the next day, we can get you a safe ride from point A to B if you follow these simple tips.
Don’t forget to tune into Jetsetter’s Homestead tomorrow night and on New Years Day… we’ll be semi-live blogging the New Years Eve/New Years Day madness so you can see what the night (and next morning Cotton Bowl traffic) was like from a driver perspective!