Should You Double Park for Passenger Pickups and Dropoffs?

Whenever I tell people that I have a blog for Uber and Lyft drivers that helps them maximize their profits, I always get questions like, “How hard could it be to drive Uber?” I think that being an Uber or a Lyft driver isn’t rocket science, but it’s a little more difficult than it looks.

It’s easy to drive down the middle of the street on the freeway. Anyone can do that, but pickups and drop offs are one of the times where it gets a little difficult.

Take a look at my video on tricky passenger drop-offs, and check out the video transcript below.

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Drop-offs can be complicated

On drop-offs, you often have to navigate a few different things: Where the passenger wants to be dropped off, where it’s legal to drop off, traffic, policemen, buses, bikers, pedestrians, right, etc! The list goes on and on, and it could honestly almost be a pretty good video game, now that I think about it. If you’re going to drop off in a residential neighborhood, that’s pretty easy.

But what about at 2:00 a.m. when the bars let out, and you see a bunch of cops on their little motorcycles just waiting to give you a ticket right here in downtown LA, which always happens to me. We’ve all been in that situation before, so what’s the best way to handle it? The easiest way is to just double park, and let your passenger out wherever is most convenient for them. But, that also puts you at the most risk.

Police are cracking down on double-parked Uber drivers

In a lot of big cities right now, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, all over the place, the cops are really cracking down. They’re starting to realize that Uber and Lyft could be causing a lot of this increased traffic, and increased congestion that cities are seeing. A lot of that could be from double parking, from letting these passengers off in bad places, and holding up traffic. One car stuck in the middle of the street could have a pretty big impact, and then you multiply that by the tens of thousands of cars that are driving, and it definitely makes a difference.

Be proactive about parking

For the most part, here’s what I would recommend. You really want to proactively assess the situation. 90% of Uber drivers are actually gonna wait until they arrive at the final destination before they realize they have a problem. Let’s say you’re a mile or two away at a stoplight, you can look at the destination on the map and see where the drop off point is.

One of the things I like about Google Maps, is that they actually shade business streets. If you’re not a street with a bunch of businesses or bars, it’s actually shaded a little bit on the map, so you can see that. It’s a little darker on the map, you have to look closely, but that way you can know if you’re dropping off on a business street or not.

Communicate with your passenger to set expectations

The other thing you want to focus on i to communicate with your passenger. If you have a passenger in the backseat, they probably know where they’re going. They’ve probably been to this place before, so if you drive by their destination and don’t say anything, they’re probably gonna be thinking to themselves, what the hell? And that has happened to me a bunch of times as an Uber passenger.

Let passengers know what you’re doing. Tell them, “Hey, I’m gonna go ahead and pull up just past the restaurant, so I can let you off in a legal zone.” If you do it proactively like that, what are these passengers gonna say? “No, I don’t want you to do that, drop me off where it’s illegal.” Some might, but for the most part, you probably won’t get that from a passenger. As opposed to you driving by, and they’re gonna ask, “Hey, can you drop me off right there in front,” and then you have to be the one to say no, right? Now, you’re the bad guy, as opposed to you telling them what’s gonna happen.

My best advice is to be firm, but gentle; If you give a rider an inch, they’re gonna take mile. The passenger does not care about you getting a ticket. They’re not gonna pay for any ticket that you get. It’s important, be firm, but kind. Use phrases like, “Would you mind if I dropped you off just past the corner?” Explain why you need to do those things. I think for drop-offs and pickups, a lot of these same tactics are gonna apply, but just really don’t be afraid to communicate and call your passenger in that situation. Stay in communication with them, use landmarks to identify where you are, what you’re driving, et cetera.

Hopefully, all of these tips are gonna lead you to reduced stress during pickups and drop offs. Because, I know for me, and for many other drivers, that’s definitely one of the most challenging parts of picking and dropping off passengers. Like I said, it’s not rocket science, but it does take a little practice. You do need to think about these things, be proactive, communicate, and I think you guys will do just fine, help your ratings, make more money, we’ll all be happy.

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