— You've arrived: You're making good money driving for ride-hailing leaders Lyft and Uber, and are in the market for a ride-share-friendly car. Selecting a car that's fuel-efficient and reliable is essential, but you should also be aware of what features — from in-car Wi-Fi to cupholders — can help ride-share drivers score those all-important five-star ratings from their passengers.
With both Uber and Lyft, drivers and passengers rate each other within the app after each ride. The ratings system — on a scale of one to five for both companies — helps ensure safe, comfortable experiences for passengers and drivers alike.
An Uber driver's overall rating is the average of the last 500 ratings received, whereas with Lyft, it's the last 100 ratings that are averaged. If a driver's overall rating falls below a certain value, they risk being deactivated. That value is often the minimum rating in the driver's area and can be as high as 4.6 — which means that ratings are competitive and matter a lot to drivers.
Passengers expect drivers to be polite and get them to their destination quickly, but the appearance and comfort of the car can also influence how a passenger rates the ride. The devil's in the details, so if you're shopping for a ride-share-friendly car, consider these features:
Letting passengers charge their phones while travelling is essential, especially with the weekend/evening crowd. Drivers can also impress riders by providing iPhone and Android charging chords in the vehicle.
Heated Rear Seats, Luxurious-Feeling Interior
These things can go a long way toward making a passenger happy. And for extra luxury points — even if it's not a luxury car — ask if it comes in black.
Especially if you're driving the airport beat, a trunk with plenty of room for luggage is necessary. If passengers have to hold their bags on their laps, they're more likely to knock points off for lack of comfort.
According to Scott Van Maldegiam, a seasoned ride-share driver and blogger at The Rideshare Guy, bad navigation is the single biggest reason for bad ratings. Nothing puts a passenger on edge like a driver who doesn't know where they're going, so a reliable navigation system is a must.
Using navigation and music apps with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or another in-display mobile connectivity system is a plus. If a driver uses a smartphone for navigation, The Rideshare Guy recommends mounting it on the dash so that passengers can see the route, too.
Sometimes your passengers are in the mood to chat, and sometimes they're not. Either way, asking a passenger's input on music — and having an impressive range of options — is an easy way to score a favorable rating.
This allows a passenger to get work done or browse the internet while they travel, which is a crowd-pleaser. Some 16 brands offer in-car mobile hot spots in newer models that allow riders to connect multiple devices.
Lane Departure, Crash Avoidance Technology
Such advanced safety features help passengers feel safe in your car, especially while you navigate bustling city traffic. Passengers' feelings of safety are extremely influential when they go to rate their experience.
Rear Cupholders, Et Al.
Somewhere to put one's fruit-infuser water bottle or open can of LaCroix while scrolling through Instagram, along with comfortable backseats and plenty of legroom, are virtually essential for a high rating. After all, there's no one crankier than a cramped-legged passenger with lower back pain who just spilled a drink in their lap.