Driving professionally is an acquired skill. With rideshare industry breakouts like Uber and Lyft, it is now easier than ever to get started. Gone is the need for a CDL or in-depth driver training. Owning a new-enough vehicle affords you the chance to earn a living from driving. Just because it’s that easy to get started, doesn’t mean it’s as easy to do well. Anything worth doing is worth doing well; driving for a rideshare company requires some forethought in order to be great. The best rideshare drivers have some of the same shared qualities, which include the following:
They Know the Best Way Around
The best DC rideshare drivers know what roads to take and which ones are best avoided. Congestion is so bad that most of the infrastructure projects strive to make travel bearable rather than creating actual improvements. A driver’s experience living in the city gives insight into the roads that most frequently give the worst traffic headaches.
Within the city borders, the Key Bridge has the highest congestion index, with typical speeds of only about 8 miles per hour. Depending on the time of day, the Southeast Freeway could have traffic just as bad. Commuter roads like the Chain Bridge and New York Avenue tend to build up during the morning and evening rushes. Understanding when traffic will get in the way of rideshare driving and steering clear of these roads is a good strategy.
During busy travel seasons, such as the summer or during elections, it’s best to avoid I-95 when possible. The parkway almost always backs up on Friday afternoons and Monday mornings, so great drivers will steer clear especially during those times. They will consider alternate routes if they need to leave the city via I-295.
You can actually use Gridwise for up to date traffic & road conditions around Washington DC. With the easy-to-use alerts tab, you can immediately familiarize yourself with what the roads look like in your driving radius.
They Strategically Plan Ahead of Local Events
Navigating a city becomes markedly different when taking large crowds into consideration.
Redskins home games can bring in an average of about 78,000 people. Although the numbers aren’t the same across all major sports in DC, the idea here is that there are a lot of people centralized in one place. Other events with large volumes of people (although likely not all have as high attendance) include bar crawls, food/music festivals and public city events like parades.
Many of the folks who live within the DC metro area use ridesharing to go to and from stadiums and events. With so much local traffic already, great DC rideshare drivers know when to arrive at events and what the best departure strategies are. They keep up-to-date with any scheduling changes that might occur, such as game delays or overtime (see Identifying Hotspots: Knowing Where and When to Drive to learn how to use Gridwise for event tracking).
Use Gridwise to centralize all of the event information into one convenient app. That way, you won’t waste any time waiting when you could be driving! It’s highly efficient and will typically generate more money for you in the long run.
They Provide Great Customer Service
In some of these more populated and metropolitan U.S. cities, people can come across as somewhat rude to one another. It’s not as much a personality tic as it is a consequence of the fast-paced lifestyle. Everyone has somewhere to be and everyone else is in their way.
While Washington DC certainly has its fair share of rude passengers, it also has a number of happy-go-lucky riders who are easy to work with. The best drivers know how to cater to any sort of rider who comes into their vehicle. This isn’t to say that a driver must always go above and beyond to please a customer. It may be more appropriate to leave the passenger alone rather than speaking to them or trying to help. The best DC rideshare drivers read their situations well and choose what they do accordingly.
Always try to be as helpful as you can. Holding doors open, placing luggage in the trunk, and greeting passengers promptly can go a long way.
They Keep Up with Current Events
There’s always something noteworthy happening in the nation’s capital. It’s literally where the country’s politicians work. From Capitol Hill to the White House, there’s a lot of relevant news and information flying around DC. At the very least, this information is a great way to spark conversation. A great driver will interact appropriately with their passengers.
If politics are not of interest, just being knowledgeable in current media is incredibly useful. Not only does it provide information useful to your day-to-day, but it also provides avenues to be a more well-rounded driver. The more you know about what’s happening locally and in the country, the easier it is to tailor your drives to the customer’s needs.
What other traits can you think of for great rideshare drivers that aren’t already on the list? Write us a comment below.