Obsessed with your Uber rating? Here's what you need to know this Festive Season

Ah, the festive season is here and it is time to be responsible with our driving habits - especially when trekking through new lands.

So get ready to buff out and polish your thumbs to hitch and hail rides wherever and whenever you're safely able.

One popular ride hailing service that caters to many popular destinations is Uber and since the introduction of mutual reviews and rating trying to find your perfect Uber match to maintain a solid rating of at least 4 stars seems nearly impossible.

But fret not, dear Ubees, we have some pro tips to ensure you and your Uber get along like 'ol chums on your next ride.

READ: Uber scooter? Getting around on bike (and even on boat) with the taxi app when travelling abroad 

Some suggestions given straight to us from Uber HQ include:

  • Avoid parking problems - Nothing can dampen a trip faster than having to heave up a wad of foreign or local funds to cover pricey parking rates - especially after having to hunt down a parking spot that's actually five blocks down from where you wanted to be. Uber promises to help you beat this pesky problem. However, it is vital that you don't let your eager driver feel like just an afterthought to save cash as they bust out their carefully crafted playlist and all the dry jokes they can muster. And try not to let regret reflect as the local driver asks about your travel plans repeatedly to and from the airport. 
  • Schedule your ride in advance - We all know how much last-minute rushing and stress can drain a spirit - so saving yourself and your driver that stress can really foster a lovely in-car environment. You can schedule rides up to 30 days in advance and reschedule, should any flight delays arise, up to 15 minutes in advance. Now you can use that generous extra time to practice your just-friendly-enough smile in the mirror and ways to politely let your driver know you prefer a quiet ride. 
  • Budget, budget, budget - Always check the pricing in advance as you would for booking a flight, hotel or hostel - and be sure to check for any seasonal pricing changes. Know how much your trip will cost before having an awkward face-to-face with your driver as you scrounge around collecting petty cash coins from your threadbare money bag to make up the difference and watch as your Uber rating drops along with the expression on their face.

  • Call them for any problem or query - Uber has a new dedicated phone support line in place that is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to cater to any support or professional queries. It's also just a tap away in the app through the 'Help' option in the app's main menu. However, avoid calling for any non-Uber related queries. They cannot assist with your missing pet, partner or motivation unless your pet or partner actually went missing in an Uber - unfortunately, they are still not liable for stealing your motivation. So, be sure your query or issue is Uber related before making the call to keep your rating higher than your incurable motivation. 
  • Don't get hangry - Be sure not to let the hanger get the better of you as your driver force feeds you more awkward jokes, banter and personal playlists and organise yourself a meal before your trip - either homemade or with Uber Eats if you need to munch in a crunch.
  • Know your ride - Familiarise yourself with Uber's safety features in the app and be sure to study the ride picking you up. Quadruple check the license plate, vehicle colour, driver photo and name to be sure you don't mistake your Uber for one of the other white VW or Toyota Avanza cars in the vicinity.

  • Make your connections easier - Start your trip off on the right foot by setting the tone with your drive through some light chat banter via the app's chat feature. You can use this to convene with your driver beforehand and keep them and yourself updated on any delays or changes along the way and it can also help you locate them easier at the meeting point. The feature also allows you to select up to five trusted friends and family members to form a list of your Trusted Contacts on the app - you can then tap through to share your trip details with them during your rides - for extra safety. However, avoid using it to hound your driver on being five seconds late due to congestion or unforeseen traffic - instead kindly let them know in advance to keep you updated on any delays 
  • Drinking? Then Uber - Tis the season many get crunk and drunk and also, unfortunately, the season that sees a spike in road accidents as consequence. Drink responsibly and opt for an Uber instead - even if you don't feel tipsy and are positive you're walking along both of the street lines you see ahead of you. However, try to hold back on any immediate urges to purge while in you are in your Uber, barfing up the foamy remnants of the ghosts of your day's foodie past won't bode well to boost your Uber rating.

  • Use common sense - You should know that there is never any need to share your personal information with your driver or vice versa. If something feels sketchy, it probably is and be sure to call the police (10 111 in SA) or use the app's in-app emergency button. So avoid disclosing your banking, residential or other case sensitive information to your driver or asking this from your driver as it is a security risk for both of you. As for other personal stories and information, ask yourself: is the backstory of the way your cat / dog / turtle fell asleep really going to boost your Uber rating? Or will the tale about the time you switched up your sleeping habits for self-care cause your driver to doze off instead? Keep the convo light and friendly and avoid risking your safety and the safety of your star-graded rating.

SEE: Speed through your travel with these unusual rides for hire 

  • Split your fare and add multiple destinations - What better way to make yourself seem like the approachable, friendly, open and kind Ubee than by opting to share an Uber with other Ubees? Not only will this add brownie points to your Uber rating, but can also end up saving you some extra coin by splitting the Uber fare with your fellow riders. You can also check out the Multiple Destinations feature, which allows you to enter at most three stops - including your final destination. 

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