A lot of new Uber drivers and people who are thinking about becoming a driver wonder if they can have a friend or family member ride along with them while they drive. I recorded a video answer to this question, so check it out below to see my answer.
The short answer is no. You can’t ride with someone else while you drive for Uber and Lyft, and doing so can get you deactivated from both platforms. However, you can drive with a companion if you’re driving for UberEATS, other delivery services like Postmates and DoorDash, and some other on-demand jobs.
You might be thinking this is a silly question, but a lot of new drivers ask me this!
I find that a lot of Uber and Lyft drivers getting started have someone else ride with them when they shouldn’t be. You could end up facing consequences from Uber and Lyft if you get reported by passengers. Getting deactivated is a pretty big consequences so I definitely thought it would be good to give a clear answer on this issue.
Why some drivers want someone to ride along for company, or safety
I normally get this question from females who say, “I don’t feel safe driving at night, can my boyfriend or can my husband ride with me either for the first few rides, get used to things?”
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I’m a big 6′ 3″ male so I rarely have those types of fears, but I can imagine the perspective of a woman who is coming on to the platform or even people in general. When you’re new, it’s perfectly normal to think, “Hey I’m picking up these strangers, I’m a little nervous. Can I have someone ride with me to kind of ease into things?”
You will be deactivated if a passenger reports you for driving with a companion
Neither Uber or Lyft allows you to drive with someone you know as a non-paying passenger. If passengers complain or if Uber/Lyft finds out, you will be deactivated and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be reactivated.
There are a few reasons why Uber and Lyft don’t allow you to drive with a companion. Most importantly is the safety and comfort of the passenger. All drivers have to go through a background check to give passengers a standard of safety. If you’re riding with a companion that hasn’t undergone a background check, Uber and your passenger have no idea who they are or what their background is. Imagine hopping into an Uber and seeing a stranger in the passenger seat. Wouldn’t you be a bit uncomfortable and surprised?
The other reason you can’t drive with a companion is that Uber requires a minimum number of seats for each ride type, so if you have a companion with you, you won’t be able to fit the required number of passengers. It’s not a great experience for a group of 4 when their UberX doesn’t have enough seats for them.
Some drivers still do it, and I know one of my friends that was an Uber driver, he actually signed up his wife and he did the first few rides with her just so she could get the ropes. They both told other passengers, “Hey, this is a new driver, I’m going to be riding with her just to make sure. Is that cool with you?” They made sure that they’re okay with it. You do risk getting in warned or even deactivated, so I really don’t recommend it.
Related reading on deactivations
- What happens if you get deactivated from Uber?
- Can you get deactivated for cancelling too many rides?
Worried about safety? Some recommendations to get comfortable and stay safe
Let’s say you’re a brand new driver and you’re going to go out Saturday night and you’re worried about safety issues. It’s probably not the best idea to start on a Saturday night. Instead, start on a weekday afternoon when request volume is going to be very low. You’ll feel a lot safer in broad daylight.
I think that’s the smartest move is to ease into the job when you feel safest. The clientele is very different from nighttime to daytime, and you do hear about nighttime incidents from time to time. They’re very rare, but often alcohol is involved. I can’t imagine too many people are going to be wasted on a Tuesday afternoon at 3 P.M!
I don’t think it’s a good idea to have someone come in with you on those first few rides. Instead, look for other times that are going to make you more comfortable.
My friend had his wife ride along while he drove for Uber, here’s what happened
I can tell you a quick story about my buddy. He signed up to drive last year in San Diego, and on his first weekend he drove Comic-Con, a huge convention. He actually had his wife in the front seat for every single ride. He didn’t even realize that was against the rules, and he ended up making a total killing.
It was fun for him to have his wife in the front seat, and he was picking up a ton of interesting people at Comic-Con, because everyone’s dressed up in costumes.
I asked him, “What would happen if you ever get four passengers?” He said, “On one request I got four passengers and just made them all squeeze in the back.” He ended the weekend with a 4.9 rating.
Riding with someone else can definitely can be done, but I think my friend got lucky. I get e-mails from drivers who say, “Hey, I was riding with my kid or I had my boyfriend or my girlfriend. I had to drop them off while I was driving for Uber!”
In that situation, just don’t drive. Don’t accepted a passenger while you’re taking care of your business. A lot of drivers get busted not by passengers who report them, but by Uber employees who are taking rides as passengers. If you get an Uber employee as a passenger and you have your wife sitting in the front seat you can pretty much guarantee yourself a deactivation.
Another example from my podcast: A husband/wife driving duo gets deactivated by Uber
Awhile back I recorded an interesting couple for and episode of The Rideshare Guy podcast, where I interviewed a member of a husband and wife driving team that did over 600 trips on Uber together. You can listen to the podcast and read a summary here, but I’ll summarize it below too.
Karen, the Uber driver I interviewed, decided to drive with her husband in her car because she was having trouble navigating, and she felt safer driving with her husband in bad areas late at night. Karen drove a Chrysler Town and Country minivan with seats for 6 passengers, so she figured it wouldn’t deprive her riders if one of those seats was taken by her husband. She was UberXL eligible, but she found that almost no groups ever needed all 6 of her passenger seats, so she thought she was ok.
Even though Karen had a 4.89 rating after 600 rides, she was eventually deactivated because she was driving with her husband. She wasn’t aware of the policy and she felt that the deactivation ignored all of the great driving work she had done, but in the end the decision was final and Karen lost her ability to drive with Uber. The lesson from Karen is that even if you think you have good reason to drive with a companion, it’s still not allowed.
Can you drive for Uber with your dog in the car?
This was another interesting questions I covered in the podcast. Some drivers ask if they can drive with their dog as a companion. Uber and Lyft will not allow you to drive with a dog in the car unless it’s a service dog.
You can ride with someone else in your car on UberEATS and delivery apps
There are options out there for you if you want to drive as a duo, . There are no current policies fobidding that you drive with a companion UberEATS, Postmates, and DoorDash. In fact I’ve personally seen and gotten feedback from delivery drivers who occasionally drive with a companion. The way that usually works is that one person drives and stays with the car while the other runs the food up to the customer.
Based on my research, it’s not prohibited by those apps. So if you’re out doing a delivery-only shift, you can ride with a companion.
For UberEATS, be careful about your Trip Preferences settings in the Uber driver app. If you have it setup to allow both regular Uber requests and EATS request, you can’t drive with a companion. If you have it set up to only allow delivery requests, you can go ahead and drive with the companion.
You can be a Bird charger with a companion
Another on-demand type job that allows you to work with a companion is Bird, the electric scooter rental company. As a Bird Charger, you pick up Bird scooters, charge them in your home, then return them to the street. Read more about what it’s like to be a Bird charger.
That’s my advice, and if you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail if you need anything else!
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