Uber and Lyft drivers hate you for requesting rides to fast food drive-thrus
It’s 2 AM, you’re piss-drunk leaving the bar, and you’d give your left leg for a cheesy gordita crunch. You slur a plea to your Uber driver to take you to Taco Bell, and he politely obliges. But behind his eager-to-please eyes is a deep-seated loathing and a curse on your unborn children.
The customers and corporate bigwigs at Uber and Lyft see eating and ride-sharing as compatible services, but it seems no one cared to ask their drivers if they agree. Both companies are cashing in on fast-food partnerships — Lyft has the newly-announced “Taco Mode,” which allows riders a trip through the Taco Bell drive-thru, and Uber boasts nation-wide McDonalds delivery with “UberEATS.”
But drivers who despise these features are beginning an online uprising. On the community message-boards of UberPeople.net, drivers share cautionary tales of cheesy beefy greasy back seats, McDouble the throw-up, sickening stink, and money lost while trapped in drive-thru limbo.
It’s the financial losses that upset them most, drivers say. Michael Peters, a driver in the Atlanta metropolitan area, contends that stops at the drive-thru are among the most wasteful uses of a driver’s time. “There are different rates per minute and per mile, and because we get paid way more per mile, we want to spend as much time possible moving around,” Peters tells us.
In Peters’ region, Uber drivers earn $0.12 per min and $0.81 per mile, before Uber’s 20 percent cut. If Peters spends 15 minutes taking riders through a drive-thru, he only earns $1.44 for his time, an hourly rate well below the minimum wage.
Beyond the money, it’s also the mess that’s driving drivers up the wall. Drunken passengers armed with Taco Bell tacos can unleash a storm of shredded lettuce, tiny cheese slivers, and slimy taco meat in the back seat. And the overwhelming smell of low-cost Mexican cuisine doesn’t make things better.
But because drivers live in continual fear of low ratings, they often feel they have no choice but to accommodate drive-thru requests. A one-star rating is like a kiss of death for an Uber or Lyft driver — if they dip below a threshold of 3 to 4 stars (depending on the region), their account is deactivated and their job goes down the pooper.
Drivers can opt out of the Taco Mode and UberEATS features, but can hardly avoid riders who will still beg for a McChicken. Of course, requesting a food stop doesn’t have to end with your driver stabbing pins in your voodoo doll. Passengers who offer a tip for the trouble, or even to buy their driver dinner, can avoid a ride full of unspoken animosity.
So next time, consider the cost, mess, and stink you’re inflicting on your driver, and determine if the Taco Bell trip is worth inflicting that kind of suffering. After all, tacos taste best when they’re not sprinkled with the tears of your Uber driver.