Uber drivers on all the annoying things you do when you’re drunk

‘People think I’m their agony aunt’

Uber drivers are the unsung heroes of any night out. They help us get from A-B and have to deal with a lot of bullshit from drunken revellers. They have seen it all. We got in contact with some Uber drivers to hear about their best and worst experiences.

Viktor Nyics, Uber driver in London 

Tell me a little about yourself

I was originally a radio presenter in Hungary. For the past year I have had a startup business called Vixt, which is a text to video service . My business actually came about because of Uber. I speak to a lot of people everyday and I pitched the idea to a customer, he said it was brilliant. Others had also said it was a good idea so I went to canary wharf and got funding.  I have been driving for 2 and a half years, I use Uber as a side job to help make extra money.

What is your biggest pet peeve with customers?

First and foremost, I joined Uber with the mentality that I was a friend giving a lift as Uber was a nicer form of taxi service. So for me, attitude is a big thing. I believe people who use Uber should think of the service as more of a friend giving you a lift rather than you are a customer.

People may not know this, but Uber promote customers to put music on themselves, they provide aux cables for customers. Please don’t blare out your music as we drive.

Attitude is a huge thing, so no cigarette rolling in the back of the car. Again, think of the Uber as your friends car and treat it with some respect.

Uber drivers have names, its nicer to call us by our names rather than boss, pal, mate etc.

Have you had any horror stories of being a Uber driver?

Yesterday, I had three guys (big rugby types) who happened to be working in the city. They were asking me if I had any drugs or knew anyone who had some.

The bloke in the front was trying to turn around and shout to his friends he kept bumping into the wheel because he was so big and I was trying not to crash.  I overheard them saying they wanted to steal my car.

They were the type of blokes who are big party animals and think that they are in Ibiza. I had to go to the petrol station to get fuel, they then decided that the petrol station would be where they would have their big night out. They started shouting, partying, they tried to light cigarettes in the petrol station (which is obviously a bad thing). They then were trying to steal my car.

Some users may not know that they can be rated by drivers, what makes you give them a 5* rating?

On default, I would give 5*. But I work backward, I always give 5* unless you give me a reason not to. Again it goes back to attitude, if you respect me and don’t make the journey awkward you can always get 5*.

James White, Uber Driver in Newcastle

Tell me a bit about yourself

I have been with Uber about a year, I joined last June. Previously I was working for the NHS, before that I was in the armed forces and then I started working with Uber.

What is your biggest pet peeve with customers?

When people come into the car with a alcoholic drink and try to hide it.  When someone gets into your car and chucks a rucksack in the back seat. I drive a Mercedes and throwing your rucksack into the backseat can scuff up the seats.

People who speak to you without a humanistic approach and speak to you like you are not a human being. It doesn’t cost much to treat someone like a human being.

Have you had any horror stories of being a Uber driver?

Someone tried to get in my car with a live chicken in Newcastle. I told him are you taking the piss and they basically laughed at me.  They kind of knew that I wouldn’t let them in but I guess they tried anyway.

I had a kid come into the car once and he just said ‘follow the app’ he was being quite shirty.

What has been the weirdest thing you have overheard?

The weirdest thing I heard was a bird who I picked up with this guy. I overheard that she only knew the guy for two weeks. She then offered me a threesome and to go back to hers. I am married, so I didn’t take her up on it.

Some users may not know that they can be rated by drivers, what makes you give them a 5* rating?

Be polite, with me I rate people 5* if they don’t piss me off. If they are a arsehole I give them 2*. I will always give 5* to those who support Man United, I have had so many good conversations with customers about football.

Chris Woolridge, Uber driver in Edinburgh

Tell me a bit about yourself

I am 67 and I worked for almost 40 years running my own business. I was retired for seven years and then read a Uber article in the Scotsman newspaper which was last October announcing Uber would be operating in Edinburgh. I started to think about joining and thought about it for around three months. I applied for a private hire license from the council and then joined around April.

When my granddaughter realised I was doing a Uber driver job, she asked for a favour to keep a track of every nationality of those who come in my car for a project she was doing. In four weeks, 64 nations were represented in my car. I really love the social interaction of the job.

What is your biggest pet peeve with customers?

I don’t really have one. When driving, It is like stepping off the planet for the duration of the ride. I am here to provide a service and a comfortable journey, a little bit of social interaction never goes a miss. I see people as carrying a rucksack that has burdens in it so I have respect for everyone because they always have a story to tell.

I maybe have a strange attitude to this work, I suppose the most irritating thing I experienced is that some of the black cabs are hostile to you since I work on for Uber. There is a space for everyone, Uber and black cab alike. There are evident things from the black cab community when their business is being invaded by others such as their mannerisms towards you.

Have you had any horror stories of being a Uber driver?

Saturday afternoon a few weeks back, I stopped outside a popular pub, and waited for the ride to appear. One guy came who was relatively sober but he was followed a few minutes later by mates who were very drunk. They got in the car without my consent to try and catch a plane to Poland they were already late for.

Whilst driving to the airport, there was a two-mile jam which meant they were late and made the journey horrendously worse. We got there with three minutes to spare. They had friends that arrived before them who were doing everything to try and hold up plane.

What has been the weirdest thing you have overheard?

Two young American guys got in the car and requested a trip across Edinburgh. We did it, they said that they had a great time and that Uber was great and I was a good driver. At the end, they asked if we could all hold hands and partake in prayer. It took me back, I sometimes go to church but it was very brave of them to do that with me.

Some users may not know that they can be rated by drivers, what makes you give them a 5* rating?

Respect for all, both driver and passenger. They are walking this planet the same as me and my family. I always provide sweets, water, maps, as a free service just to provide this service to my customer. It doesn’t take much to bring a smile to their faces. If they respond in a positive way then I would always 5*. Civility does not cost anything.

Mark Williams, Uber driver in Liverpool

Tell me about yourself

I have only been here for three months. I used to work for Delta which is a mini cab company in Liverpool. I have seen a massive difference between that and Uber. The customers (with Uber) are much higher quality, more savvy, and intelligent. I just got fed up with some of the people I picked up at Delta, only twice have I ever given 1* to people I pick up with Uber. I worked in international packaging for 20 years, I worked as a estate agent, I am a trained chef, and I am intending to start up a business. I can do Uber in conjunction with starting my business which is really good.

What is your biggest pet peeve with customers?

The most annoying thing is when riders are too lazy to put in the address and just put ‘drive to the pin’. It makes my life a lot more difficult. It is also ridiculous when people stand in the middle of a roundabout or the middle of a junction and think that is a good place to get picked up.

Have you had any horror stories of being a Uber driver?

One guy was unbelievably rude the other day. He was one of the only people I gave 1* to. I picked up a guy at the station and I asked if he was having a good day. He responded that he was up until this point and then went on to say that Liverpool was full of peasants. I mean, this is my city!

I’ve had people who are drunk and they always put the wrong address. When we get to the destination, I have to wake them up and then they realise that they put the wrong address in. Sometimes they are nice and make the changes but sometimes they just leave and accept their fate.

Yesterday I had two students who literally loaded up the car with all their stuff from their home, I think they were moving house and so used my car as transport. Three more students hired me out so they could play Pokemon go around the city.

Some users may not know that they can be rated by drivers, what makes you give them a 5* rating?

Almost everyone gets 5* with me. I don’t like when people make racist comments and I will give 1* straight away , ignorance is the worst thing.

I am a very chatty person and I like to make conversation. Just be a bit respectful, don’t eat in the car and don’t leave crumbs. You’re getting into a car which is my work area, would you go into a random office and fiddle with things in a workstation?

Virginia Halstead, Uber driver in Sheffield

Tell me about yourself

I joined Uber in the end of August 2015, I have driving a taxi for 17 years and at one point I had my own firm. I worked at city taxi’s in Sheffield before I joined Uber. In June last year I was robbed at knife point whilst I was working there. I asked the operator if the customer had come to the business before and they said many times which made me feel very unsafe. This was the reason I left.

I was very interested in Uber but I was quite loyal to the city taxi firm, since the situation in June I decided it was necessary for a change. Customers are lovely with Uber I have found that the people I pick up they are very happy with the service. If it wasn’t for Uber I wouldn’t actually go back to driving a taxi. I really enjoy working for Uber and I have felt so many people sing its praises. The deregulation act means that I can work at any Uber in the country apart from London or Plymouth. I can drop off friends in Manchester and then work there over night. You can always pick up fares whenever you want.

What is your biggest pet peeve with customers?

I don’t really have any, I’m quite laid back and never think that there is anything specific that can annoy me.

Have you had any horror stories of being an Uber driver?

I picked up a group of people and it was quite clear they were picking up and selling drugs. I immediately cancelled the job and reported it.

People have got quite amorous in the back, I mean how far can I let it go? I have to say things like ‘Whoa wait guys we’ll be home soon’. I have also noticed things about people that their wives/husbands would be very angry about. I picked up a Thai woman up outside a regular who was married. It gets really awkward, I never say anything as I don’t feel it is my place to.

Whats the weirdest thing you have overheard in your car?

I have found people come to me because I am a woman and tell me things that they really shouldn’t tell me. I end up turning into a agony aunt from seeing these people often. I have been told everything from bedroom problems, I have had old people tell me bank details so I can get money out for them and I tell them they really shouldn’t be telling people this sort of stuff.

Sometimes a couple I pick up could be arguing, I have had to tell people to stop shouting as it distracts me.

Some users may not know that they can be rated by drivers, what makes you give them a 5* rating?

If you look at my record, I have only rated 3 below 5*. I gave a lower rating because people used other people accounts. When people use other people account and don’t put in the destination on the app, I cannot pick up another job. It becomes quite fluid as I can drop people off and then pick people up from there, I can’t when the destination hasn’t been put in.

I have also had someone grill me about how much money I have in the car and so alarm bells rang and I rated them lower.