Uber & Lyft Drivers – What You Should & Shouldn’t Allow in Your Car

As drivers, we can control who and what we allow in our vehicles. If we run into something that we don’t accept, we can cancel the ride and move on. But what should your criteria be for rider behavior?

Joe from The Rideshare Guy recorded a great video all about what we should or shouldn’t allow in our cars. Take a look at his video, and scroll to read the transcript to see the points he covers.

Common situations drivers face with passengers

Here are a few examples of problem situations that you may encounter. A passenger may approach your vehicle. They’ve got an open container, a beer can, and they’re expecting to enter your vehicle. Maybe they’re smoking a cigarette and they’re approaching your vehicle and they’re expecting to bring that cigarette in. Or, let’s say you’ve arrived at your passenger’s pickup location and they’re a party of five or six, and they’re expecting to get into your vehicle, which you can only seat up to four extra passengers. How do you handle these situations?

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Three options you have when you encounter a situation

As far as what you shouldn’t allow in your vehicle, first, we’ll go over the three options that you have when encountering a problem situation. You can beg out, you can ditch, or you can end the ride.

Option 1: Begging out

As far as the first option, begging out, which begging out is you’re basically being polite in the situation. You’re going to tell the passenger, “You know, I’d love to give you a ride,” doing whatever banned thing they’re trying to do whether it’s bring a drink into your car, a cigarette, whatever, but you could say, “You know, I’m really not comfortable with it,” even though you know full well that it’s not allowed. It’s against the terms of service. It may be against the law, but you’re being polite in the situation.

You’re trying to not escalate the situation and, if the person is reasonable, they will just leave whatever they’re trying to bring into your vehicle outside. If they’re not and if they get upset about the situation, then you can move on to option number two, which is ditching.

Option 2: Ditch. Driving off without canceling

Ditching is when you drive off without canceling the ride. You may drive just a few blocks, but you’re not canceling the ride. You’ve already arrived at the passenger’s pickup location, so the countdown clock is ticking. You’re five minutes until you can get the cancellation fee. This will ensure that you will receive a cancellation fee.

The passenger may try to contact you. They may contact support, but you have reason to say why you’re not picking this passenger up. They were negative towards you. They tried to do something against the terms of service, something illegal, bring it into your vehicle, so you just ditch them instead of dealing with that passenger, having to stay there, you left. It’s well within your rights, and you will receive a cancellation fee, whether the passenger cancels the ride or whether those five minutes lapse and then you say, ‘passenger no-show’ or ‘other reason’.

Option 3: End the ride and report the passenger

The third option and, hopefully, you don’t have to deal with this too often is when you have to end the ride. Say you’ve started the ride too soon, you started the ride and the passenger is already being belligerent in your car or they’ve already brought something in your vehicle. You’re calm. You’re trying to say, “I can’t do this ride.” Ask them to politely leave the vehicle, and you’re basically going to end the ride right there and then.

In both situations, whether you’re ditching or ending a ride, you should immediately report those passengers to Uber or Lyft. Let them know. Uber and Lyft should be made aware of that. These passengers were trying to do an illegal activity or something against the terms of service. They need to be aware of what their passengers are doing so that this doesn’t continually happen. Again, you can beg out, you can ditch, or you can end the ride.

Related: How and when to cancel a ride request

Drivers should not allow these things in their vehicle

Let’s go over things that you shouldn’t allow in your vehicle. The first thing is an open container, and the main thing you want to do is try and spot that open container before the passenger enters your vehicle. As they’re approaching your vehicle, if you spot it, what you’re going to do is you want to keep your doors locked. You’ll roll your window down and politely ask them if they can either consume the drink or pour it out before getting into your vehicle. If they comply, fantastic, great! You can give them a ride. If they don’t, you’re well within your rights to just ditch.

Zero tolerance for drugs

The next thing you shouldn’t allow in your vehicle is illegal drugs. We are not an illegal drug transportation service and should not be treated as one so, if you suspect that someone is transporting illegal drugs, you are well within your rights to end the ride. Another thing that we shouldn’t allow is smoking. Now, while smoking is legal, it is prohibited by both Uber and Lyft so, if a passenger is approaching your vehicle with a cigarette or if they ask you to smoke in your vehicle, just politely ask them to refrain.

No unaccompanied minors!

Next, you should not allow an unaccompanied minor or a parent with a young child and no car seat in your vehicle. Passengers must be 18 years of age or older in order to ride with us so. I’ve had this happen many times where a parent will request a ride for their young child, their junior high child, their elementary child. We are not allowed to transport these minors without the parent being present. You’ll just tell these children, “Unfortunately, I can’t give you a ride without your parent. Either your parent needs to accompany you or we’re just going to have to cancel the ride.”

They’ll have to cancel the ride and find another mode of transportation. If they refuse, if you talk to the parent and they refuse, you can just drive a short distance, wait out the five minutes, cancel the ride, and collect your cancellation fee. The same goes for parents with a young child and no car seat. Those parents need to provide a car seat for their child in order to get a ride with you. If they don’t, you can politely ask them to cancel and find another mode of transportation or, if they’re combative, you can just ditch. You can drive a little distance away, cancel the ride, and collect your cancellation fee.

Related: How to handle unaccompanied minors 

Never allow more passengers than seatbelts

The next thing you shouldn’t allow is more passengers than seatbelts in your vehicle. Passengers need to request the right vehicle type, and there are larger vehicle types for just that purpose. If it’s a group of five, a group of six, they need to be requesting a larger vehicle type. They should not be requesting a base Lyft or Uber.

Report your passengers for this behavior

Lastly, this kind of goes without saying, but you should not allow sex, violence, or abusive yelling. In all of these situations, you’re well within your rights to end the ride and report these passengers immediately to Uber or Lyft.

What you should allow in your vehicle

Remember, it is your vehicle. You are well within your rights to allow whatever you want in your vehicle or disallow whatever you want in your vehicle.

One thing you could allow is eating or drinking in your car. I, personally will allow eating and drinking in my vehicle. I just want the passenger to be polite. In a lot of those situations, too, the passenger will ask me, “Is it okay if I drink this? Is it okay if I eat this?” That’s respect, and I feel like passengers should ask that. Sometimes, I’ll have passengers that will just eat or drink, no big deal, but if a passenger does spill something in my vehicle, I will absolutely report them and, if it’s dirty enough, you report them for a cleaning fee. You also have the option to not allow drinking or eating in your vehicle. Again, it’s your vehicle, and you have complete say as to what goes on inside of it.

Related: How drivers can protect themselves with the cleaning fee

Another thing that you could allow in your vehicle is vaping. I allow vaping in my car. I’ll ask them to open a window or something. It’s not smoke, it’s just vapor, but it does have a smell so, if you don’t want that smell in your vehicle, you could disallow. You could not allow vaping in your car. You’re well within your rights to not allow it.

Pets: Be careful about service animals

Another thing that you could allow in your vehicle are pets. I will personally allow pets in my car, but I have had situations where I’ve had a person bring a dog in my care and get fur on my seats, which is … I’ll report those passengers, for sure. They need to be cleaning up after their pets. It’s also nice. You’ll have passengers that will bring carriers for their pets, but you’re also well within your rights to deny a passenger that wants to bring a pet in your vehicle, especially if you think it’s going to leave a mess.

If you do allow pets in your vehicle, you can ask the passenger if they can be vigilant, if they can be aware of the pet and make sure that they don’t leave any fur or anything like that, clean up after their pet. Again, if they don’t, you’re well within your rights to give them a low rating and report them about the pet fur.

One thing you must allow in your vehicle are service animals. Both Lyft and Uber require drivers to accept passengers with service animals. If you choose that you don’t want to accept these rides, you’re well within your rights not to accept them but you face deactivation if you deny a passenger with a service animal.

In both cases, it’s just a good idea to have a lint roller in your vehicle. I have one in mine in case that pet does leave a bit of a mess, some fur in your car, then you can clean it up.

What types of situations have you encountered and how did you handle it? Thanks again for watching, and drive safe. Thanks.


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