By Garret Heinrich

They say stats lie, but I disagree. For me, numbers clarify and remove subjectivity. When you are discussing the overall caliber of a person, and a friend says “Well, so and so is a ‘good guy'”, that does nothing for me. Your good guy might not be my good guy.

But if we all had a numerical score that was the end result of various criteria, a Sagarin Rating for “caliber of people” if you will, how much easier would life be? “Hey you’d like this guy, he has a 115.43 HBQR (Human Being Quality Rating)!!” In the absence of a real HBQR, though, we are left with the only true numerical measuring stick of a person’s worth as a human being — their Uber passenger rating.

This topic bubbled to the surface on my Twitter timeline yesterday when my friend Garret the Web Guy lamented his (admittedly pathetic) Uber passenger score…

Make no mistake, Garret is right. A 4.70 is kind of embarrassing. Basically, you have to almost try to be an a-hole to score under a 4.80. Full disclosure — my score is a 4.82, and I rack my brain daily trying to figure out which drivers I pissed off. I take my Uber score very personally. While a 4.82 is not exactly Ivy League Uber Passenger material, I think I do know what makes some of these drivers tick. In short, I am in a position to advise you on how to be BETTER than me. AND WAY BETTER THAN GARRET THE WEB GUY!!

[Editor’s Note: Garret doesn’t get to travel the world like Sean to rack up a high volume of Uber rides, thus one bad ride has murdered his score.  While the score is pathetic, it’s a small sample size. Garret also writes editor’s notes in the third person and he’s sorry about this.]

So without further ado, here are ten easy ways to maximize your Uber passenger score (and thus, maximize your worth as a human):

  1. Show personal interest in the driver

Most human beings love talking about one thing — THEMSELVES. Questions about how long they’ve been doing Uber, how it’s gone for them, what else it is they do when not doing Uber — these all provide opportunities for you to either compliment them on how persistent and amazing they are, OR lament with them about how this tattered economy has capable people making ends meet by humping drunk folks around town at pennies on the taxi-dollar with no implied gratuities.

  1. But don’t exacerbate him/her feeling worse about their plight

Unless they ask, don’t bring up how amazing your night has been, and if you do bring it up, stop at one sentence. Don’t gush! And don’t bring up how other Uber drivers did things better than they are doing. People are thin skinned, and short of them causing an actual accident with you in the car, it’s not your place to criticize.

  1. Suggest SUCCESSFUL shorter routes

While it might feel like you’ve made a new friend in your Uber driver, let’s be very clear — it’s the driver’s goal to get you the hell out of their car and move onto the next revenue generating ride. If you can somehow shorten the ride, go for it! The GPS is not infallible (especially near Highway 290 and 610, where construction has turned that interchange into GPS kryptonite, like the IQ of the GPS drops 60 points there).

  1. No shouting cell phone conversations 

This is a societal rule that translates over to Uber. Seriously, why do we all scream on the phone? We suck sometimes.

  1. Compliment their music choices

This is an underrated source of stress for most drivers. You can tell a lot about what a driver thinks of you by what station they choose. (I have had an inordinate number of my drivers choose ABBA for some reason. It’s weird.) A little compliment to the driver on the musical choice, even if it sucks, will go a long way.

  1. Don’t actually drink the bottled water (if provided)

Good drivers will have bottled water in the cup holder and maybe even candy! Ironically, the less of these things you actually consume, the happier the driver will be, since they aren’t free to them. Bonus points if you tell them how thoughtful it is that they actually have those things!

  1. Don’t ask for a charger, but use one if available

Asking if you can use the driver’s charger is not a hanging offense, but it is slightly annoying, a little forward, and not entirely safe having to hand phones back and forth from back to front. Good drivers should have a charger in the back seat (right next to the bottled water!).

  1. Tread lightly on vulgarity

Do not swear unless a) the driver swears first or b) swearing is absolutely necessary for whatever joke or story you’re telling to be hilarious.

  1. Don’t fart

Do I need to explain this one?

  1. Don’t puke

See number 9.


You’re not required to tip an Uber driver, but everybody has a price.

So there you go. Make yourself a better person (better than Garret, at least). Follow these rules.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on “The Triple Threat” from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. weekdays and follow him on Twitter @SeanTPendergast. 

  1. Laffed a lot about passenger ratings. I will give you a 5 unless you puke or leave food on my car seat. Cuss all you want, yell on the cell phone, i dont care. I have to rate the passenger at the drop off. The passenger has 3 days to rate me. They can give me a low rating out of spite, not because I did anything wrong. I

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