Uber is phenomenal. I just moved to LA (that’s industry lingo for Los Angeles), and I made the trendy (poverty-stricken) decision not to get a car. Not having a car in LA used to be a blasphemous choice reserved solely for people with too many DUI’s, and the poor. But times, they are a-changing! Don’t take my word for it, the NY Times just wrote a whole piece about how Uber is changing the nightlife landscape out here for the better. If you don’t know what the NY Times is, it’s basically BroBible, but for old people.
Whenever I have somewhere to go, which happens roughly once every couple weeks, I use Uber. So, I use Uber a lot, and therefore feel like I’m qualified to dole out some advice to the company about what they can do to improve. They seem like they’re doing okay right now, but with apps like Lyft and Sidecar trying to sneak in and steal a piece of the pie, they need to be firing on all cylinders to make sure they don’t lose any of their customers.
Here’s my unsolicited advice for how they can improve their service:
1. Drivers Are Only Allowed To Speak When Spoken To – The best thing about NYC cab drivers is that they’re almost angry at your presence. Sure, they’re a cab driver, and it’s literally their job to have strangers in their car, but they’re never happy about it. They begrudge you. God, do I miss that. These Uber drivers out here are too happy. They haven’t had the soul sucked out of them quite yet. They want to hear about your day. What kinda bullshit is that? I don’t even want to hear about my day. Less talky, more drivey.
2. Allow You To Cancel The Guy Once He Shows Up – I’m gonna take it a step further. I find that once a car arrives, I can peer into the window and know immediately, “Oh, Christ, this guy is gonna ask me about things.” Uber needs to create a “This Guy Can Just Fuck Off” button, in which, as soon as the driver shows up and you can tell he’s gonna be annoying, you can just cancel him at no penalty.
3. Hire Only Deaf Drivers – I’m gonna take it ever further now. Hire only deaf drivers. This will not only make your company seem altruistic for employing a disabled population that might otherwise have trouble securing steady work, but it will be a relief to your riders. I actually had a deaf driver once. As soon as I got in, he held up a sign that read “I Am Deaf :)” and I wanted to immediately high-five him and give him five stars. We sat in the most comfortable silence I’ve ever experienced.
4. In Addition To Water, Supply Passengers With Booze – The best thing about using an Uber is that you’re free to drink without worrying about having to drive. That means that every moment of the day is an opportunity to be drinking alcohol. The bottles of water in the car are a nice touch, but if you really wanna go the extra mile, a top shelf open bar really says “this is luxury.” In fact, if you really want to wow, just make the drivers functioning drug dealers. Obviously, the passengers would have to pay for their own drugs, this isn’t a free for all, but it would be nice to at least have the option.
5. Make All The Drivers Hot Chicks Instead of Sullen Armenian Men – I know what you’re gonna say, “this is in direct contrast with your earlier tips.” Okay, listen, shut up. It’s one thing to get your ear talked off by some gross fat dude, it’s another thing if it’s a hot chick. I haven’t had a single hot Uber driver since I’ve been here. I guess that’s because hot chicks don’t need money, they can just get through their entire life by being hot, and then die. But imagine how many more users Uber would have if all of a sudden everyone was talking about how hot their driver was. This would be a cash cow.
6. Just Make Uber Tinder, Basically – Once you institute the hot chick drivers, you’ll want to give users a way to sift through them, so that they can choose one that appeals to them. We all have different tastes. Introduce a feature that allows you to swipe drivers left or right once you view their profile picture. It won’t matter that it could take an hour for them to get to you. This isn’t about efficiency, it’s about enabling riders to stare at a hot chick while she drives.
7. Aux Chords – I know it’s technically “their car,” but when I’m in an Uber, I want to feel like I’m a goddamn prince, and this asshole in the front seat is my private driver who will go so far as to help me dispose of a dead body if it should come to that. It kinda kills that vibe when the guy in the front seat is blasting techno or, even worse, JAZZ. They should have an AUX chord ready to go when I enter the car, so that I can pop on T. Swift’s 1989 and vibe out all the way to my destination.
8. Don’t Come Down So Hard On Guys Who Take Riders On Police Chases – The media loves to make a big deal whenever there’s a story like this one, in which a DC Uber driver took his riders on a police chase because he didn’t want to get a ticket. That rider was clearly a loser narc who wouldn’t appreciate something like that, but doesn’t mean the rest of us wouldn’t. Uber had to respond by suspending the driver’s account and making a big stink about how safe their service is. Okay, great, I don’t want to die, but if I had the opportunity to be a passenger in a police chase and suffer absolutely no negative consequences afterward, and then have an amazing police chase story for the rest of my life, hell yes, I would take that opportunity. Uber needs to a) stop penalizing drivers for things like this, and b) potentially recruit drivers who are recently paroled for felonies.
9. Shit Seats – I’ve loved being dependent on Uber since I’ve been in LA, but the only time I say to myself, “I wish I were driving right now,” is when I’ve urgently had to take a shit. If I’m driving, I can either pull into the bathroom of choice for the homeless (Starbucks), or step on the gas a little bit to get me to my destination quicker. I don’t feel comfortable yelling to my driver, “hey, buddy, I got a real hot load coming on here, so let’s make this snappy.” A way to rectify this situation would be to insist that all Uber drivers install a Shit Seat. Take one of the seats in the back row, hollow it out, throw a bucket in it, and you’ve got yourself a Shit Seat. If I could discretely pinch one off in a bucket and then leave it for the driver to deal with, I’d be a happy man.
10. If At Any Point The Driver Starts Talking About The New Play They’re Writing, The Ride Is Free – This goes for screenplay, novel, memoir, comic book, anime, Game of Thrones fan fiction, whatever. If it any point they mention a creative endeavor they are “really stoked about,” Uber comps the ride, no questions asked.