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Product review: Bestrix Universal CD Slot Car Mount Phone Holder

A first for me: I will attempt to do a product review of something I bought from Amazon to help me with my Uber-ing career, and maybe in doing so help out other drivers.

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I’ve been driving a while now. As part of that, obviously I needed to have a holder for my phone; a lot of people including law enforcement tend to frown on either holding the phone while you drive or having it in your lap, and for good reason too. Unfortunately the holder I was using – a magnetic one – failed on me a little while ago, during a ride in fact. The magnet was fine, but the glue that held it to the back of the phone couldn’t hold against the magnet. After it worked so well previously, I got a replacement magnet for the same system. Initially it was OK, but I suspect the residual glue left behind from the old magnet stopped the new magnet from sticking properly, and so the pull from the auxiliary cable used was enough to pull the phone off the magnet.

So I went shopping. I thought I’d found the replacement made by the same company: another vent-mounted holder that held the phone around its waist rather than via a magnet on its back. Unfortunately the rubber grip was not quite grippy enough to hold the phone permanently. It was good enough as a temporary measure, especially using the volume know for the radio as a rest for the bottom of the phone, but it I knew it was going to annoy the ever-living you-know-what out of me to always be adjusting it to make sure it didn’t fall out. So I went shopping again.

(I’m purposefully not naming the mounts that didn’t work or the company that makes them. The first one did the job it was supposed to for a long time, and if I’d not needed a quick fix I probably wouldn’t have got the second one in the first place. The company makes good stuff, and I’m actually using some of it to put this post up. Though it caused me some grief, I’m not going to name and shame them. At least, not this time.)

I went looking on Amazon for car phone mounts. Because of the issues I’d had, I wanted to avoid a magnetic mount or one that otherwise stuck to the back of the phone. I wanted a cradle, and not just around the sides of the phone but along the bottom. With my car, a mount attached to the windshield won’t work because the phone would be too far away from the audio connection and cigarette lighter port to charge the phone. Also, it would be too far away from my hands to be able to actually use, let alone be plugged into anything. I knew from previous attempts that trying to mount anything to the dash itself would be problematic. The only things I’d seen that would work would be a mount attaching to one of the vents, which is what I’d been using up until then.

Bestrix Phone Holder in situ
The Bestrix Universal CD Slot Car Mount Phone Holder holding my phone in my car, with both an aux and a lightning cable attached

Which is when I saw this: the Bestrix Universal CD Slot Car Mount Holder. I know I don’t use the CD player in my car and I suspect that there aren’t too many others out there that do either, so using that slot in the dash for something else is not a problem. It’s basically a somewhat semi-circular base that sticks out from the CD slot, with an elbow-like tube that sticks up and out (or down and out depending on the orientation) to where the cradle itself is mounted. The cradle is mounted on a ball joint, so the phone can be rotated through 360° and the angle of display can be adjusted as needed. It hooks into the CD slot via three flat prongs, the middle of which is at the end of a switch to push it down (or up) to hold the whole thing in place. In case you can’t tell from my optional explanations in parentheses, this can be mounted facing either “up” or “down”, with the phone either above or below the base.

The cradle itself holds the phone on both sides and at the bottom. (This assumes you’re using the phone in its portrait orientation, otherwise it would be top, bottom and either left or right as is your preference.) The bottom claw can be adjusted up or down from the rest of the cradle, and stays in place until the bottom button behind the cradle is held down. You squeeze the side claws in towards the phone when its in the cradle, ensuring it stays securely mounted until you press and hold the release button at the top of the backside of the cradle. If you’re used to a magnetic holder, changing to this will be just the tiniest bit frustrating to get used to, because you won’t be able to instantly attach or detach the phone from the mount. However the flip side of that means that the phone won’t move around or slip out of its place accidentally – in my mind, its well worth the trade off, especially when this one becomes what I’m used to.

I can’t speak for other models of phones, but my iPhone 6s fits nicely even with cables plugged into both the lightning and aux ports. The two prongs for the bottom claw sit either side of the lighting cable, with a little bit of clearance either side to limit the ability of the phone to wiggle even if you have the side claws loose. If for some reason you want to switch from portrait to landscape mode, the screw holding the ball joint can be tightened to just the right amount to allow you to spin the phone around to the new orientation, but manage to hold it still once its been repositioned. And as a special note to Uber drivers: the base of the mount and the positioning of the phone can help to stop front seat passengers from fiddling with your radio without asking because it will probably block the display and controls.

Installation is a breeze. The only issue I had was attaching the cradle to the plate it sits on, and even that was a minor one where I was concerned I was going to break something trying to snap it into place. To be fair, its the sort of fear I tend to get most of the time when I’m assembling things. It came with instructions in the box, and a guide was emailed to me within a day of ordering it from Amazon. (I didn’t use them myself, but I assume they would’ve been helpful if needed.) It comes with three pads of varying thicknesses that are able to be attached to the middle prong used to hold the mount in the CD slot. I didn’t need to use mine, but if I had a wider opening for the CD player I might’ve needed to attach one of them to keep it in place.

If you’re looking to replace an existing mount, or need to install one for your car – and have a CD slot that’s not being used – then this mount is a great choice. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, installs easily and does the job exactly as its supposed to.

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Disclaimer: This isn’t a paid review, I bought the mount with my own money, with the only benefit of doing so being the tax deduction of any business purchase. That being said, if you follow any of the links to Amazon on this page and make a purchase while on the site, I’ll get a small percentage of the sale. It won’t cost you anything extra, and you can purchase anything you like from the site; it doesn’t have to be the mount I’m reviewing, or any other mount, just follow a link, search for anything your wanting to get and buy it the same way you would any other time on Amazon. Making Amazon purchases through one of these links is a great way of supporting the blog without having to donate, subscribe or otherwise pay extra money, and helps to ensure I’ve got time to write these posts. Thank you for your support, and if you’re in Sydney, I might just see you on the road!

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Pick Up Points: Helping the driver find you

Some of the do’s and don’ts to help speed up the process of your Uber driver finding you and be on your way.

When you’ve got your account set up, it seems like it should be really easy to get an Uber to go somewhere. Generally that is the case. You open the app, it works out where you are, you tell it where you want to go, and confirm the request. But there seems to be a few things that people don’t always take into account that can mess it up.

Whether they’re minor inconveniences or real pains in the mikta (Stargate SG-1 fans know what I’m talking about), and whether they’re problems for the passenger, the driver, the surrounding people or some combination of all three, avoiding them will help you be on your way faster, help keep your driver from being annoyed with you and help everyone else around you keep going about their day.

It probably should go without saying, but every Uber driver is a little bit different. What one driver absolutely can’t stand, another may not even notice. Even with the same driver something can be more or less of an issue depending on how the day has been going, and how many times they’ve had this same problem recently. Having said that, these are still things to keep in mind. If you don’t follow these guidelines already, there’s a good chance your rating – and in some cases your bank balance – will thank you for getting on board with them.

Be Ready To Go

Cnr Harris & John Sts, Pyrmont
Its not so much the overgrown and derelict nature of the building, as the complete lack of people that makes me think this ride isn’t going to happen.

If you’re in a rush, it can be frustrating to request an Uber, only to see that its going to take more time than you thought it would for the driver to arrive. Perfectly understandable and reasonable, especially if you’re running late for wherever you need to be. Now reverse the roles: the driver arrives at the pickup location but there’s no sign of the passenger. “Am I at the right place?” “Did they actually mean to make the request?” “Maybe they’re not coming.” “Should I cancel this one, because its busy at the moment and I could get a good fare.” These are all things I’ve thought when I’ve arrived to an absence of passengers.

When we arrive at a pickup point, the Uber driver app starts a timer automatically, counting down from two minutes. If we don’t start the trip before that timer runs out, you as the passenger start being charged for the time we’re waiting on you. Technically you’ll only be charged if the ride actually starts, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. If the passenger cancels the ride at this point, they’re charged the cancellation fee. (At the moment that’s $10 in Sydney.)

The second thing to be aware of is that when the first timer runs out a new one starts counting from zero up to three minutes. This is showing the driver how much waiting time the passenger will be charged for. When this gets to three minutes, it stops counting and alerts the driver that they can cancel the ride and they’ll get a cancellation fee. And though it doesn’t work out exactly, what the driver is paid of the cancellation fee is roughly the same as what they’d be paid for a minimum fare plus three minutes of waiting time.

All of that means that to wait longer than a total of five minutes after arriving at the pickup location, a driver is gambling on the length of the ride. If its been five minutes and I’ve not seen any sign the passenger is coming, then I don’t really have a reason to stick around. Especially if its a busy time of day, more so if there’s surge pricing in the area.

So don’t request the ride until you’re ready to go. You don’t necessarily have to be standing at the kerb before you hit “Request UberX”, but you probably should be ready to step out the door. You’re much less likely to have to pay for the driver’s waiting time, which helps keep the trip a little bit cheaper.

And if you realise you’ve forgotten something and have to go back inside – especially if going inside involves potentially waiting for a lift up and back down, or traversing several flights of stairs – let your driver know what’s happening. Send them a message or call them and tell them you forgot to lock the back door, or left your other bag in your room, or whatever it is you’ve got to sort out. Your driver’s much more likely to stick around if they know you actually want to take the ride and are on your way.

Be Locatable

syd to per diff
Remember how I was booked for a pickup from Sydney Airport instead of Perth Airport? Sometimes GPS isn’t 100% accurate.

A lot of the time, GPS is great. You can see exactly where you are, and how to get to where you want to go. Sometimes though you might be in a spot where the GPS signal is a little spotty. The worst I’ve seen it is in and around the city, but you can run into black spots just about anywhere if the conditions are just right.

Its a good idea to double-check your pickup location once you’ve requested the ride. (This is easier to do if you’re already ready to be picked up when you make the request. That’s why I made it the first tip!) If the GPS was off, or if you’ve typed the pickup location to “make sure it was accurate” but made a typo, then obviously this gives you a chance to notice the problem and fix it before the driver has to change direction to get to you.

It also means that if for some reason you see that the app is directing to driver to the wrong spot, you can move the pickup location to correct for this. It seems that at least some of the time, when you drop the pin in the Uber app, it ignores the street in the address and instead finds the nearest bit of road to the pin and directs the driver there. This won’t always be a problem, but it can mean that the driver is sent around the nearby corner or to the lane way at the back of the house to make the pick up. In trying to get to you quickly, we don’t always notice this discrepancy.

If there’s something unusual about where you’re getting picked up from or perhaps it doesn’t translate well onto the map, you might need to get in touch with the driver to let them know. Sometimes new roads are built as part of new development areas, or roads are moved, blocked off, opened up or changed between one- and two-way, and they aren’t always updated in mapping apps as quick as you might like. Ongoing roadworks can also make an otherwise easy and direct drive into one that needs to take the long way round. *cough* George Street light rail works! *cough*

Be Recognisable

003329-crowded-bus-stop[1]
Yeah, I’ve got no idea which of these people requested the Uber.
Once the driver gets to the vicinity, then they’ve got to try and find you. Again, for them to be able to do this you’ve got to be ready and waiting somewhere in view from the street, if not on the street. If there’s no one or at least very few people around, then just standing on the footpath somewhere that’s visible from the road is probably going to do the trick.

If there’s a lot of people around – especially if they’re looking at their phones and giving false “The Look“s – or you’re in a common area for people to be picked up from like a train station, concert site, airport, etc, its definitely a good idea to give your driver an extra advantage in finding you.

Either call or text your driver through the app, and tell them how to find you. Once you’re in contact with each other, it doesn’t take a lot for the driver to find you. Try to think about what would be easy for the driver to spot, and then pass that information on to them. Actual signposts can work well for this, though not necessarily parking signs because generally where this sort of clarification might be needed, there’s probably going to be a bunch of parking signs nearby.

If you’re in a fairly nondescript or uniform-looking area, then describing your appearance will probably help. Should the driver be looking for one person or a group? Do you have other things with you, like suitcases, an esky, or a large musical instrument? Are you wearing something distinctive, or at least some combination of things?

I’ll put it all together for you for a location I’ve done a few pickups from: Westfield Miranda. Now that’s a pretty big location, with a lot of potential pick up points. Depending on the time of day, regardless of which point you decide on, there could be a lot of people around, let alone people waiting to be picked up by someone else. Here’s an example text message that would work great for the bus stop near the big tree: (If you don’t know it, this is the Google StreetView for the spot. The big tree is behind/to the left when you open it up): “Look for the woman standing next to the bench. I’m wearing a white hat, sunglasses and a blue top.”

In Summary

I was literally writing out a bullet point summary of what’s above, when I kept ending each point with “let the driver know”. If in doubt about something, you’re not sure the driver will be able to get to you easily, or spot you when they arrive, get in touch with them. There have been times when I’ve arrived and the passenger couldn’t find me, when I’ve been able to spot them because they were on the phone to me at the time and I could see them walking around, holding a phone to their ear and were clearly looking for someone.

The driver either has gone or is going to the effort of reaching the pick up location. They don’t want it to be for nothing, and you don’t want to wear a cancellation charge and/or have to wait for another driver to show up, so help them and yourself out. Follow these tips and you’ll save time, money and hassle, and you improve your chances of a 5-star rating from your driver.

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

I can see it in your eyes, I can see it in your smile, You’re the reason I’m pulling up at the kerb and putting my hazard lights on, hoping not to get booked for stopping in a No Stopping zone.

looking-e1423852565370-1024x683[1]
The map says I’m coming from the exact opposite direction you’re looking, but I’m sure you’ll spot me soon enough…
I’ve spoken about “The Look” before. It’s something we drivers learn to recognise to help give us a chance in picking out who our passenger is for the next ride we’re about to go on. It usually involves someone standing on the footpath, holding their phone and looking between it and up the road towards the cars coming towards them. It’s easier when there’s luggage on the ground next to them (as well as a clue that we’re likely heading to the airport) and a source of frustration (and temptation to cancel) when their smoking a cigarette, doubly so when they spot you and immediately go to put the cigarette out.

A quick personal observation is that it often seems these people are looking in the wrong direction in that glance up from their phone. That’s despite having just seen which direction their driver is coming from, courtesy of the map in the app on their phone. Yes, they could be looking at something other than the Uber app, such as emails, Twitter, an extremely well written blog that hasn’t been updated in a while, hoping to see a new entry to brighten their day. And yes, I could be remembering the ones who look the wrong way more so than the ones who look in the right direction. Even so, there’s more that look the other way than you might think.

Anyway, where was I? Right; the Look. One of the reasons why we pick up on the cues passengers give is that we often don’t have much else to go on. As a passenger, you get to see the name of the driver, but also a photo of their face, the make and model of the car they’re driving as well as its number plate. Also, if you’re tracking the car and are outside by the road ready for it to arrive, you get to match it up with the timing of its arrival and the direction its coming from. To be fair the last one can be off if the GPS is spotty where you are getting picked up from, but you should still be able to get an idea from all of that combined.

On the other side of that equation, drivers get the name of the passenger and the location to pick them up from. Now let’s ignore the possibility that the person who made the ride request might not be the person actually getting in the car. I’ve had numerous rides where a spouse or partner has booked the ride for their significant other. Parents have booked rides for their child or vice versa. Sometimes friends have booked for friends. In one case, an assistant or similarly professionally-related person booked the ride for a former presenter on a children’s ABC TV show. (Hint: that week we went through the round window to my childhood.)

Even assuming the person who booked the ride is the person, or at least one of the people going on the ride, its still tricky for the driver. Though the name can be a clue to help the driver know who to look out for, sometimes they can be useless. To be fair, most of the time they at least give some indication of gender. “John” is a pretty strong clue that I should be looking for a man, “Amy” is likewise a pretty good indicator to keep an eye out for a woman. On the rare occasion that the name shown is a series of non-English characters generally indicate that I’m looking for someone of Asian heritage, or on a couple of occasions someone from the Middle East. On the flip side of this is when I see a name like “Sam”, “Alex” or “Chris”, or ones that I’ve not heard before or otherwise don’t recognise. There I don’t know the gender or ethnicity, so it could be anyone.

Also the location for the pickup isn’t always a helpful indicator either. Sometimes its that the pickup is actually from number 26 instead of 28 as it says in the app. Perhaps its a building that’s on the corner of an intersection, and neither side is obviously “the front” or the likely candidate for someone to wait for a car. Other times its the combination of the app deciding to not indicate which side of the road the pickup is set for, and not being able to see which side of the street has the even or odd numbers. (For the record, if you’re wondering why your Uber driver doesn’t come down your long driveway for the pickup, this is probably why. If its an issue, call them when they’re on their way!) And then there are the times where there’s nowhere legal, or at least out of other people’s way, to stop making it difficult to wait for someone who may or may not be waiting in view for me.

Most of the time its not an issue. I show up, and either the passenger is there waiting for me at the right spot and gets in straight away, or I find the spot and the passenger comes to me. On occasion though it doesn’t work out. There are times where I will never know what went wrong, because I waited the minimum five minutes with no sign of anyone even looking my way let alone coming to the car, and no contact from the passenger through the app, so I cancelled the trip and moved on. Other times they cancel on me, with or without notice, and possibly before or after I arrive at the location. Then there are the weird ones where someone else gets in the car. There’s been four times in several thousand trips I’ve accepted where someone has gotten in my car and not been my allocated passenger.

I don’t really understand how that’s possible, especially given how often I’ll see my eventual passenger double- and triple-check the number plate of my car against what’s on their phone, followed up by a tap on the passenger window while mouthing “Uber” at me, and then followed by opening the door and asking “Are you <name>?”

At the end of the day, no matter how sure we might be that you are our passenger, we never know it until you actually get in. Sometimes not even then. So please help us out. Pay attention to what’s happening around you, and look for your driver and their car. You’re more likely to identify us definitively than we are you.

Movember is here!

Movember isn’t just about growing moustaches and being a bit silly. It’s about raising money to support men’s health in a number of ways. Here’s why its important to me, and hopefully why you should help.

To donate to Movember follow this link and help me to raise $500 this month.
If you need to speak with someone immediately, in Australia call:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14, or
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

Movember comes around once every year. For a lot of people its just a bit of fun: guys grow moustaches – or in some cases try to grow them – girls maybe pretend to grow them by wearing or painting on fake moustaches, and everyone has an excuse to add just a little bit of silliness to their lives. There is nothing wrong with any of that. I think most people could do with a healthy dose of silly every now and again, if only to help alleviate the drudgery that can sometimes be life.

But Movember is about more than that. Its actually about men’s health, specifically in the areas of prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention. They are all big issues, important issues, and the work done and money raised goes to saving lives. One of the reasons for focusing on men’s health is the idea that men tend to tough things out, not letting others know about issues they might be facing for fear of not being “manly”. And because of that we don’t get the help we need when we need it, only to hurt ourselves in the long run, as well as those around us.

As you can probably guess, I’m participating in Movember this year. It’ll be the fourth time I’ve actively tried to raise money. Last year, thanks to friends and family but also through my initial efforts through social media I was able to raise over $400, more than I had raised in the previous three attempts combined. My initial goal this year is to crack $500, but hopefully you can help me to do much more.

The big reason why I’m doing this is around the mental health aspect. Three quarters of all suicides are men, which on average results in a male suicide every minute around the world. That means that by the time you finish reading this post, a handful of men or more will no longer be with us. There is no way that that is something we should be living with without at least trying to fix it.

I’ve never been diagnosed with or suspect myself of having Depression. I’ve certainly never contemplated taking my own life. But there have been times when I couldn’t see a way out of whatever problems and obstacles I was facing, I couldn’t work out how to get clear, and just wanted it to be over. Even to myself I never clarified what “it” I was thinking about. Not being an expert in psychology, I look back at those times and wonder how close I might’ve come to starting down a path I couldn’t have left without some outside help, and whether I would’ve sought out that help.

It wouldn’t surprise me if there are friends and family members who’ll read this and be surprised about what I’ve just written. Many of them will have known about the events that triggered those thoughts and feelings, but I suspect I managed to hide at least the extent of them. Its a cliche, but how often do you hear about a person who commits suicide and for those who were closest to be completely shocked and surprised by it? Even if they knew about some of the things going on, the depth of the situation is often unknown.

There were periods in high school where I dreaded going, for reasons as minor to having not done the homework for a subject with a teacher I didn’t like, to needing to avoid groups of other students who were going through a bullying phase with me as seemingly the target. There was a period of time at work where I team I was assigned to had very different ideas about the work and how to do it, leaving me feeling isolated and desperately counting down the minutes and seconds before I could get out.

I’ve been able to come out the other side of those situations, but not everyone can and not everyone did. One of the students from my year group at high school took their own life, as did one of my colleagues from a previous job. Obviously I don’t know what went through their heads in the lead up to those events, but I can guess at least part of it and have at least some small understanding of how they might’ve felt.

Please help me to prevent this sort of thing from happening to others. You can donate to the Movember Foundation here, and of course every donation is greatly appreciated. I also understand that not everyone is in a position to contribute financially to the cause, so I ask that having read this article, that if you’re not able to donate then please share this page with everyone you can. With your help, the Movember Foundation is aiming to reduce the rate of male suicides by 25% by 2030.

From Zero To “C**t” In Nothing Flat

Sometimes you do something that annoys someone, and though it wasn’t intentional you realise you were in the wrong. Then there are times where you’re acting normally, and someone goes bats**t crazy at you for it. This is one of the latter times.

Let me start this with a disclaimer: I know I’m not innocent. Though I think that the majority of times I’ve annoyed someone have been accidental – or at least meant in jest but perhaps taken past the point of humour – there have been times where I’ve purposely set out to irritate someone. Sometimes its been out in the open, sometimes its been a stealth attempt, with varying levels of success. But this was something completely out of the blue.

I was just minding my own business – which I know sounds like I’m telling a story sarcastically but I promise I’m not – and topping up the tank in my car. I was taking advantage before the prices spiked before the long weekend. While I was there I wanted to squeegee the windscreens; with all the driving I do, dust and gunk build up a lot more on the car than they did before I Uber-ed, and getting the car washed (or doing it myself) every time it gets to be too much would be a little too expensive for my tastes.

It was time for me to take a break, so I was listening to a podcast while filling the tank. Between the headphones and the mundanity of what I was doing, I wasn’t very aware of what was happening around me. As I finished with the petrol bowser, I was half-aware that a van had pulled up behind my car. Not really paying attention to it, I went to the squeegee. Partway through doing the rear windscreen, I realised that there was some kind of alarm coming from the van. The driver was in the front seat with the door open. I figured it was a “hey your door’s open and the key’s in” kind of alarm, and just ignored it.

I finished up with the rear windscreen, re-dipped the squeegee and moved round to the front of the car. It was at this point that things got really weird for me, because as I was just starting to move the sponge part across the windscreen, I heard from the guy in the van, now leaning out the window and shouting at me, muffled by the headphones “*mumble mumble* c**t, aren’t you?”

I assumed I’d misheard him. I’d not heard the first part of what he said clearly, and the first word I thought I’d recognised was the one that caught me well and truly by surprise. When I looked up he seemed to be looking at me as he was getting out of his van, but maybe he hadn’t been talking to me. Maybe it was anger at the van itself, having some issue with it, perhaps even related to the alarm that had been going off just a few moments before. It would be made clear where he had directed the comment and the nature there of very quickly, by the next things out of his mouth.

“You inconsiderate little c**t, just take your f**king time cleaning your windshield.” I might’ve been wrong, but I was fairly confident that he was talking to me.

As far as I know I was doing something fairly normal. Not everyone cleans their windshields every time they fill up with petrol, but this certainly wasn’t the first time I’d seen someone do it. And in looking around to see if I was alone in my surprise at the sudden escalation of things, I realised that there were actually a pair of bowsers completely free and available. Even if I’d set out to delay this guy for some reason – which wasn’t the case but was becoming a more tempting option by the moment – the most I could expect would be to force him to back up and change direction to go to another bowser. Hardly the cunning and devious plan of a master villain.

Now the course of action I took at this point probably isn’t recommended by too many sane and sober experts in conflict resolution, but it did take me back to my days as parking ranger, having to deal with angry people and having to essentially stand there and cop it or risk punishment from the bosses if a complaint was made about my behaviour, however justified and non-physical/non-expletive-laden it might have been. It also took me back to being bullied in school and the combination of fear and “don’t respond” advice that got me standing like a statue when it happened in the past. So don’t take this as a recommendation to follow my lead if you get in a similar situation. With a lot of experience with these types of situations I made a read of the guy and assessed I would be ok to do what I did. But if I’d gotten it wrong the consequences could have been severe. You’ve been warned.

Now with all of that it might seem like I decided to emulate the greats of the WWE, maybe a Stone Cold Stunner or a Rock Bottom sandwiched between some trash talk. Well there wasn’t any violence. I did however, stop and walk over to him and ask what his problem was. Without wanting to repeat everything (mostly because I don’t want to wear out the <shift> and <8> keys on my keyboard from censoring out his swearing) it seemed I was supposed to intuit that he was in a hurry and move out of his way at the first opportunity, rather than do what I needed to do in a way that was convenient and expedient for me. Again I’ll point out that there was at least one bowser completely empty – no one using either side of it – available at the time.

Despite the seemingly doubly appropriate nature of applying an Attitude Adjustment, I continued to not use physicality. (It should be pointed out that I have minimal physical co-ordination, and zero experience in actual fights, so the WWE comments here are more boasting now than actual options I considered at the time.) I did decide that I was going to be as unhelpful as possible. So I slowly walked back to the front of my car, turning my back on him. I hadn’t taken the headphones off but I had paused the podcast so I could hear what he was saying, and if he tried to come up behind me. I went back to cleaning my windshield, and suggested to him that “Calling me names and using foul language straight off the bat probably isn’t a great way to convince me to help you out, is it.”

He went back to mostly incomprehensible gibberish peppered with expletives, and I went back to my now-much-more-thorough cleaning of my windshield. Somewhere between that point and me going inside to pay for the petrol, the antagonist of the story (hopefully you are all agreeing with me that that refers to the the sweary old guy rather than me) made a few more presumably rude and unnecessary but ultimately useless and not-clearly-heard comments, and actually moved to one of the other bowsers, one closer to the store.

Now we get to the point where my warning up above really applies. As I came out of the store, I spotted the old guy filling up his van, facing away from me, and saw I had an opportunity. I walked up behind him, but in no way trying to sneak up on him. He spotted me and turned around just as I got to about a metre away from him, or the normal distance between two people who aren’t familiar with each other.

But that wasn’t where I stopped; I got as close to him as I could while definitely not touching him. It pleased me immensely when he leaned back away from me. I essentially dared him: “Say something else to me. Say one more word to me.” I didn’t shout, I didn’t even raise my voice. I lowered my voice both in tone and volume. After saying that I had a pause and broke eye contact to look over his face, then came back to look him dead in the eyes again, waited a beat, and leaned in a little bit more and said even quieter “I didn’t think so.” Another beat, and then I turned around and slowly walked away.

I’d love to be able to say I had a plan for all of that. In reality, I got lucky to have managed something as cohesive as I did. Normally, without having a chance to rehearse what I’d say beforehand I’d be stumbling all over my words, and that’s definitely not the effect I was after. I got to my car and drove away, but had a thought as I was waiting for the traffic to clear leaving the petrol station. So I pulled out, drove around the block, and managed to snap this photo:

Be careful when you next fill up: doing every day normal things in the usual way could trigger a massive overreaction from the guy behind you. Be prepared for crazy!

Timing [your Uber trip request] is everything

Drivers love it when you are ready to get in to their car as soon as they arrive. But that’s not always the case. How long can they wait before time runs out?

Occasionally I’ve received trip requests from people who wanted me to arrive at a certain time, despite the fact that they’d requested a driver to come straight away. I know this because I’ve received messages from them as I’m on the way to the pickup location or after I’ve arrived saying they want the ride at a particular time, or in half an hour, or something else along those lines. I chalk these up to either people not being familiar with the system, or to the mercurial nature of the scheduled ride option in the Uber app. Sometimes the button’s there, sometimes its not, and I’ve not been able to work out any reasons for the shifting state of its visibility.

The vast majority of the trip requests I get though are immediate. The passenger wants to go somewhere now, makes the request which gets fed to me, and I show up as quickly as I can. And most of the time the person making the request is ready to go when I arrive; they’re standing at the side of the road in front of the building set in the request, or they’re on the road between the parked cars leaning out looking for my arrival, or they come out of the house within moments of me getting there.

More often than not it takes me at least a couple of minutes to get to the pickup after accepting the ride. I think most people factor this in when they make a request, and get caught a little by surprise when I show up almost instantaneously. (Its rare, but it does happen sometimes.) That’s fair enough: as much as its generally expected that passengers should only request a ride when they’re ready to be picked up, I think it makes sense for people to use the time between request and arrival for last checks on anything they’re taking with them, or for them to check the estimate for when a driver might arrive, see that its going to be a little while and request it to ensure they’ll get where they’re going in time.

Even when it makes sense to give the person a bit of extra time to get to the car, it still doesn’t feel good as a driver, waiting for the passenger to show up. Until we actually start the ride, we don’t make any money. And we can’t start the ride until the passenger actually starts getting in the car. So if you’ve ordered an Uber, the car arrives and then you start saying your goodbyes to your friends for the next minute or two before actually getting in the car, that’s wasted time for the driver.

Now obviously every driver has different standards for what will make them rate a passenger less than 5 stars, and what issues are worth taking off how many stars. I’ve talked about how I feel when I can taste the cigarette smoke in the air when someone gets in my car, but that’s just me and not a flat thing across the board for all drivers. Making a driver at the pickup location for you to be ready is another one of those things that might get you a lower rating than you would like. The longer you make them wait, the more likely they are to rate you down, or rate you down by more.

Cancellation Fees

time-is-moneyMaybe not everyone knows this, but I’d be willing to bet that every Uber driver does: with Uber, once the driver has waited at the pickup location for at least five minutes, if the ride is cancelled then a cancellation fee is charged to the rider. Now the fee might be different in every city, but the principle is the same.

When I first started driving, I was worried about being too harsh or strict with that rule. At the same time, I didn’t want to wait all day for what might have been an accidental trip request – or for that matter a request that was a prank or some sort of malicious effort to mess with my day. For a long time I would pull up at the pickup location and wait. I’d look around and see if anyone was paying any attention my way, or had The Look but hadn’t spotted me yet. I’d give it a bit of time for something to happen, with the actual amount of time being fairly random, and more based on my mood than anything concrete, at which point I’d start a five minute timer. Once the timer was up, I’d have another look around to make sure no one was headed towards me, and then cancel the ride as a “Rider No Show”. I’d be on my way, and a few moments later I’d have my cancellation fee show up on my record for the day.

That always seemed fairly reasonable to me. It meant that I was giving people a reasonable amount of time to get to me, while making sure that if I did wind up cancelling I wasn’t going to have been waiting there for absolutely nothing. It felt like people got a chance, especially because if I was starting the timer I’d be sending the passenger a message to let them know I was there, in case they’d missed the notification of my arrival from the app itself.

Recently there’s been a lot of changes to the Uber app, some big, some small, and at least one that’s quite relevant to this topic. This particular change isn’t something you’d see as a passenger, because its actually a change in how the driver app works. Now when I arrive at the pickup location for a ride, the app starts counting down from five minutes. It happens automatically, based on the GPS tracking my location. Not only that, but if the counter reaches zero, it replaces the timer with a highlighted message that the request is now eligible for a cancellation fee, if it wasn’t already visible it shows the cancellation button, and has the button pulsing to draw attention to it. It may not be explicit, but its definitely encouraging us drivers to cancel the ride at that point.

It also means that every driver can see exactly how long it takes for you the passengers to get to the car from when they arrive at the spot. Rather than guessing about whether the passenger was quick and prompt or lazily took their time, we have the time right in front of us. I know a couple of drivers who’ve started to use that timer not only to cancel rides as quickly as they can to get the cancellation fees, but have also used it as a factor in rating the passengers who do get in the car, limiting how high a passenger can be rated based on how long the driver waited for them.

Again, not every driver will do this. But its more likely now that you’ll cop a cancellation fee if you aren’t prompt in getting to the Uber when it arrives to pick you up, or that you’ll be rated lower for making the driver wait for you. Bottom line, to avoid paying a cancellation fee or getting a low rating:

  • Request the Uber when you’re ready to get in, not in advance of you being ready.
  • Be visible at the pickup location if you can, and pay attention to the app and/or the road so you can see when your Uber arrives.
  • Get in the car – or at least acknowledge the driver – as quickly as you can.
  • If you’ve realised there’s a problem that means the driver’s going to have to wait for you, let them know as quickly as possible.

Bad Luck With Car Troubles II: Wrath of Knock

Previously on Uber-Man: The Driver

Who knows, maybe I’ll get some material out of it…

For some reason, I can’t help but think of the advice ‘careful what you wish for’.

As I talked about last week I rented a car while my usual ride was off the road. That side of things has been fairly reasonable. The biggest issues I’ve had with it have been about differences between the two cars that you don’t think about until you experience it. Little things like having a handbrake instead of a footbrake, a mechanical gear stick that’s got some resistance to it instead of an electronic one that can change settings by tapping it.

 

Thankfully that was all the issues I had with it. Given the running around – or to put it more correctly, Uber-ing around as a passenger instead of a driver as usual – to get the rental, getting my car to and from mechanics, I’m not sure I could’ve maintained my tenuous hold on sanity otherwise.

Anyway, I was able to get around the city, make money with rides and get on with personal errands. Given the alternative I was originally facing of just not having a car at all, it was reasonably good all things considered. It was tricky on Friday getting my car to Toyota, but only the normal tricky of driving somewhere and not being able to drive back. Sure enough, a few hours after getting back home I got a message from Toyota saying my car was ready to go. After getting back I got my next disappointment, though on the scale of one to the cancellation of Firefly, it was a three.

All the recall issues were dealt with, and being recalls were sorted out for free. And they were able to identify what was causing the knock sound. Apparently it would cost about $500 to fix, replacing the steering column. Initially I agreed to go ahead with the repairs which would take another week or so to get the parts and get them installed, as it was necessary to get my car up to snuff to be registered.

Except it wasn’t! It was just a bit of gunk that had built up and was causing a sound that might be annoying. Absolutely no safety issue at all, in no way impeding the process of passing the rego safety check. Of course, when I got there it was just when the mechanics who could do the safety check had gone to lunch. Given I’d be back in the neighbourhood to drop off the rental car on Monday, I organised to do the safety check then. Also, I cancelled the order for the steering column fix.

After that it all worked out reasonably well. I returned the rental car on Monday morning, after dropping off my car for the safety check. There was a little bit of a hold up as apparently they’d not processed too many Uber rentals and there was some special process or option or thingy-ma-jig that took a little extra time to sort out. Nothing too horrendous, the staff were nice about it and I wasn’t in a rush. (Tip to people when in the role of ‘customer’: generally speaking shouting and screaming at staff to hurry up or to do their jobs properly or other similar orders don’t actually help speed the process up.)

I got back to Toyota, where my car was almost ready to pick up. While I was waiting, I checked to see if they’d uploaded the details to the RMS. They had, so while I waited for my car I paid my rego, which was almost the trigger for my car to be announced as ready. Even though I’d driven the car to its appointments over the last couple of weeks, it felt like it was the first time I’d had it since taking it to the smash repairers. I finally had my car back, and was ready to go.

Star Trek Adventures logoAs a bonus, when I got back home my copy of the core rulebook for the Star Trek Adventures role-playing game! If this is the first post you’ve read on this site, fair enough, but otherwise you’ve got no excuse for not realising ahead of time that I’m a nerd. If you too are a nerd, like RPGs, Star Trek, both, or are curious about any of the above, Modiphius have published this new game. You can buy your own copy of the book or any of the other paraphernalia for the game from their site here.

Also this post’s title probably makes a bit more sense now.

Marriage Equality: Random Thoughts #2

Taking a step away (again) form Uber-related things for a moment, to talk about an important topic, particularly in Australia at the moment: Marriage Equality

This week, the forms for the Marriage Equality Postal Survey go out all around Australia. After some to-ing and fro-ing on the subject, I decided that even though its not really related to being an Uber driver, its still important enough that I should get my thoughts out there. Just for the record, I’m a cis-gendered, heterosexual male, raised Catholic but currently agnostic, I’ve got no particular knowledge or experience in politics, the law (except perhaps as it related to the road rules in NSW), theology, philosophy, history, or any other area that might make me even remotely considered an “expert” for the topic, and apart from this blog I have debatable skills when it comes to putting my thoughts into words for other people’s consumption.

With that in mind, I’m going to try and put out several posts relating to the topic and my thoughts on it. I humbly ask that you share them as far and wide as possible, and that if you want to engage in debate with me, I’m happy to as long as its civil; I’ll ignore anything that I deem to be intentionally hostile, insulting, degrading or otherwise inappropriate. At the same time, if I say something that offends you (on either side, as I may unknowingly use incorrect terminology) then I apologise as that is not my intent. Please let me know if I do, so I can make any appropriate corrections as quickly as possible.

Whenever the possibility of same-sex marriage has been brought up, or for that matter any potential changes to laws regarding the rights of the LGBTQI community such as allowing adoption of children, people raise religious-based objections. I absolutely don’t have a problem with someone deciding that they can’t do a certain thing or can’t do it in a certain way or at certain times because of their religion. As it applies to marriage equality, most of the religious objections I’ve been aware of have seemed to come from Christians. Again I’m no expert, but I’ve got some past experience with Catholicism, so…

There are a number of requirements that Catholics are supposed to meet to continue to be “true Catholics”. (Just to be clear that’s my term, not an official term I’ve ever heard used by a priest, bishop or other official of the Church.) Growing up, I was expected to go to church every Sunday, though technically we more often than not went on the Saturday night to the Vigil service, but apparently that counted as being on the Sunday. We weren’t supposed to eat within an hour of taking Holy Communion, which at some point I remember equating to not going swimming after eating. We also had to go to church on the special holidays like Christmas and the three days of Easter.

Speaking of Easter, as a symbol of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert, going without food and water and being tempted by Satan, as kids we were supposed to give up something for the 40 days of Lent. As we got older we became aware of the rule against eating meat on Fridays and Ash Wednesday. (That’s the first day of Lent. The day before Ash Wednesday is called Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, referring to the fattier, richer foods you would eat before the fasting of Lent. Also by the way, Fat Tuesday in French translates to “Mardi Gras”.) Lent used to be stricter, and may still be for some Catholics, with varying levels of self-denial, such as not eating meat at all during Lent, not eating anything on the Fridays.

The point I’m making about all these rules is that they affect the believer, not those around them. If your beliefs require that you wear certain clothing, groom yourself in certain ways, are selective about the foods that you can and cannot eat, then there is absolutely no issue with you choosing to follow those rules and beliefs. But to expect everyone around you, even the non-believers to also follow those rules is problematic. And there is no reason why, even in Western culture where the legal systems are influenced and to a certain extent based on Judeo-Christian morals, that those beliefs must be reflected in law.

The Bible does suggest that homosexuality is sinful. I’ve seen various people attempt to examine the specific verses that refer to it, with some analyses that confirm that homosexuality is a sin, and others that suggest the interpretations of those passages had become too broad from what was intended, conflating homosexuality in general with other concepts such as rape, and it is those other things that are sinful. I’m not going to pretend to know which is the correct intent of the Bible authors, let alone of God. I will however point out that there are a great many things, particularly in the Old Testament, that are considered sinful outside of what might be considered the obvious such as the content of the Ten Commandments. I don’t have the eloquence with words that Aaron Sorkin does, so I’ll just point you to this clip from The West Wing, season 2 episode 3, “The Midterms”…

If we’re going to look to the Christian beliefs for guidance on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry under Australia’s secular legal system, perhaps we should look to something Jesus himself said: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” That’s from the Gospel according to John, chapter 13 verse 34. By the way, none of the following verses have any exemptions, let alone ones based on gender or sexuality.

Marriage Equality: Random Thoughts

Taking a step away form Uber-related things for a moment, to talk about an important topic, particularly in Australia at the moment: Marriage Equality

This week, the forms for the Marriage Equality Postal Survey go out all around Australia. After some to-ing and fro-ing on the subject, I decided that even though its not really related to being an Uber driver, its still important enough that I should get my thoughts out there. Just for the record, I’m a cis-gendered, heterosexual male, raised Catholic but currently agnostic, I’ve got no particular knowledge or experience in politics, the law (except perhaps as it related to the road rules in NSW), theology, philosophy, history, or any other area that might make me even remotely considered an “expert” for the topic, and apart from this blog I have debatable skills when it comes to putting my thoughts into words for other people’s consumption.

With that in mind, I’m going to try and put out several posts relating to the topic and my thoughts on it. I humbly ask that you share them as far and wide as possible, and that if you want to engage in debate with me, I’m happy to as long as its civil; I’ll ignore anything that I deem to be intentionally hostile, insulting, degrading or otherwise inappropriate. At the same time, if I say something that offends you (on either side, as I may unknowingly use incorrect terminology) then I apologise as that is not my intent. Please let me know if I do, so I can make any appropriate corrections as quickly as possible.

Apparently there are people out there that believe sexuality is a choice. Being the non-expert I am, I’m guessing that sexuality is influenced by a whole host of factors, with a different mix for every individual. It wouldn’t surprise me if genetics played a part, perhaps even the major part, but I suspect that it can be influenced by how we are raised and various experiences along the way. That’s different to it being a choice though.

For those of you who might think that people only ever choose to be gay, think of it this way. Take a group of straight men and a group of straight women. Tell each group to individually rank the other group from most to least attractive. Then compare the lists. Its just about guaranteed that there will be differences between them. Even if there are some commonalities where some people tend to be higher or lower on everyone’s lists, you won’t get all of the lists matching up exactly.

That’s because being attractive is subjective. There’s no truly objective way to work that out about someone. There are qualities that are more likely to be found attractive by large groups of people, but nothing that is truly universal, at least not to the point of everyone agreeing that a particular person is the most attractive. So if even when you take gender out of consideration, we can’t agree on what makes someone attractive or not, why is surprising to find that gender can be a point of disagreement as well?

To single out anyone based on an arbitrary factor is discrimination. We’ve already worked out that it shouldn’t matter whether a person is a man or woman, they should have the same rights and opportunities as each other. (I know that’s not the case in actuality, but we at least acknowledge that it should be, and that the ways it isn’t at the moment should be fixed.) If the gender of Random Person A doesn’t matter, and they should have all the rights as every other person, then the gender of Random Person B doesn’t matter either. Therefore Random Person A and Random Person B should be able to get married to each other if they so choose, and the genders of those people still don’t matter.

Bad Luck With Car Troubles

I don’t know about you, but it never seems to be simple with car problems. And they don’t seem to happen one at a time. Your car can be fine for ages, then suddenly it seems easier to list what works than what doesn’t.

It seems I can’t catch a trick at the moment. Way back in the dim dark times of May when this site was barely online, I wrote about the issues I had when I got a flat tyre and what happened while trying to get it fixed. Well now I’ve got a new sequence of events to complain about. (I’m really starting to understand the comedian mindset where something bad happens in your life, and your response becomes “That will give me some good material.” In my case it may only “material” at this stage, but I’m hoping to work my way up to “good material”.)

A couple of months ago I was in a minor accident. No one was hurt, and only bumpers were dented. You may have seen me tweet about it at the time:

Anyway, I made my insurance claim, and took my car off to Buraneer Smash Repairs for them to inspect it. I was told it could take up to four days to fix, which left me scratching my head a little bit. I’d had a similar accident with someone running up my backside but with the same sort of damage to my rear bumper, and the previous repairers had been able to sort it out in one day. (This is after getting the replacement bumper in. They didn’t fix it the day of the inspection, but told me that’s all it would be.)

It seemed a little off to me that it’d take that long, but I figured they were covering their bases in case there was more damage underneath that they couldn’t see with the casual inspection. The more I thought about it, the more I was sure that once we set up the appointment to actually do the work that they’d call me later that day or perhaps the next day rather than four days later to tell me they were done. So I booked in for the repairs, and went about my life for a few weeks.

steering wheel missing
“Well there’s your problem!” (Please note: not the actual condition of my car, my steering wheel is attached and working.)
Two weeks ago I took the car back to them, where they again said it would be up to four days, and obviously they’d get in touch when it was ready. I headed home, and something reminded me off what was said the first time versus what wasn’t said this time around. These guys had just given a time frame for the work, and tried to book me in for the earliest window they had. That may seem normal on the face of it, but the previous repairers had told me what needed to be done, advised how quickly they’d be able to get the parts in (in this case, a rear bumper) and booked me in at a time on that basis. Once again I started to have some doubts about how this would work.

Once at home, I pottered around for a bit. I watched some TV. I did some cleaning. I even got caught up on the blog and did some writing, getting a few posts together to be ready in advance. All the while I made sure my phone was with me and charged up, waiting to hear back from the repairers that they’d finished. Though I’d had some concerns, I kept hoping they were Star Trek fans, and following the example of a miracle-worker engineer by the name of Montgomery “Scotty” Scott that they were padding the estimate to look like they did the work faster than normal.

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. After four days they got in touch and let me know it was ready. To satisfy my own curiosity, when I got there and I’d waited another 10 minutes for someone to find my car, I asked what had been done. They confirmed that all they’d done was replace the bumper. Until that point I’d been calm, ready to accept that there’d been unexpected difficulties with an otherwise simple job. Even a dodgy-sounding excuse along the lines of there being signs of potential further damage which had to be checked but turned out to be nothing would have been OK. But trying to tell me that four days is just how long it takes activated my often dormant self-assertiveness.

I’m not a car guy. They could have given me a story and it would’ve been like seeing a movie: as long as it makes sense on the surface at the time I’ll buy it, even if afterwards looking back you see the plot holes. But they told me the one thing in this situation that I could definitively refute. I knew that it could be done in a quarter of the time they’d taken, so I asked for an explanation, while holding the slip of paper they given me to sign saying I was satisfied with the work they’d done. Between the time taken to get my car back and the obvious mental tap dancing this guy was attempting to explain that they do quality work which takes time, needless to say I was not satisfied.

I took the car home, reloaded all my Uber gear and got back on the road. I needed to make up for some lost time, but I also needed to try and build up something extra to cover another car issue that was coming up. My rego was coming due, and I needed to get a safety check before it’d go through. So I took it to my local Ultra Tune. They were fine, but unfortunately I needed three new tyres (Can you guess which one didn’t need replacing?) and a headlight. Not only that, but they noticed a ‘knock’ in the steering that I wasn’t aware of. Turning the steering wheel back to centre made the noise, which was all I could hear after it was pointed out to me.

Unfortunately after consulting with Toyota, apparently only they could sort it out, and the earliest they could look at it is this coming Friday. Not only that but it turns out that my car is also on the list for a few recalls that I didn’t know about until now. Needless to say but even if my rego wasn’t expired now, it’d be a bit foolish to keep driving around Sydney with the car in its current state, especially with paying passengers.

In the mean time I’ve gotten a rental car, and will probably be writing about that experience soon, particularly as is relates to using it on Uber. There’s maybe a story to tell there, but as I’m writing this there’s not much there yet.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get some material out of it…

Multi-Stop Trips: How to Uber all over town in one go

Picking up another passenger on the way? Dropping someone off before the final destination? Got a series of stops to make before the ride’s over? Some thoughts on how to handle a multi-stop Uber trip.

When I first came up with the idea to write about this topic, I’d had a few a trips in a row where people wanted to stop at several points rather than the standard point A to point B trips that are so much more common. Each time I had one there were variations on how the passengers had initially requested their ride and how they presented the situation to me when they got in. In the lead up to posting this I was thinking through what I felt would be the best way to handle this sort of situation. The other day I even had two trips in a row from the one passenger, the first ride being straight forward and the second having three different stops. It helped to remind me that I should post about this soon.

And then I saw an update in the app and I thought “Well there goes that blog post…“:

We're making multiple stops smoother
For the uninitiated, this is usually how Uber announces things to drivers.

So instead of talking about my detailed theories about the best way to manipulate the Uber system to handle a trip with several stops and be as simple for both you the passenger and for your driver to handle, I figured this would be about how to do it with the system.

How It Works

Its pretty darn simple really, particularly if you’ve ever plotted out a multi-stop trip in Google Maps.

Tap on the “Where to?” box same as always, but whereas before you’d start typing straight away, tap the “+” symbol that comes up next to where you’d type in your destination. You’ll see the screen change a little, including the “Where to?” box change to “Add a stop”. Once you’ve done that, enter the details for the first stop on the journey as you would normally. Once that’s done you’ll see another “Add a stop” box below where the first one was. Keep repeating the process, adding the next stop, then the next, and so on until the full journey has been entered.

Once set, hit “Save” and the app will show you the path for the full journey as it does normally. Don’t be surprised if the path doesn’t look particularly straight, as it will go from point to point to point. After that it works the same way as a normal trip. If you’ve left out a stop, made a mistake, or just want to check that you’ve set it all up correctly, tap on either the beginning or end point of the trip to bring up the list of stops again, and make any changes you need to.

Please Be Nice

This is a new feature. Obviously that means that there may be some changes along the way to how its implemented and how its used. Uber don’t intentionally make things hard to use, so if my instructions here are out of date, either they likely won’t be too far off or it will be relatively easy to work out.

Another element to this being new is that drivers won’t necessarily be familiar with it. I’m a full-time driver and I haven’t seen it in action yet. If you get a part-time driver, its even less likely that they’ll know what’s happening automatically if you’re booking a multi-stop trip.

My point here is it’d be mighty appreciated by your driver just to mention that there’s going to be multiple stops. Besides just being polite, it lets the driver know what to expect when you get to the first stop. If either there’s been a problem with the booking or you’ve made a mistake without realising it, it also means the driver can adjust to the situation and hopefully make the whole ride experience as smooth as possible.