Have you ever used a ridesharing app and had a less-than-pleasant experience? If so, you are probably wondering why you can’t request a specific driver to avoid another uncomfortable ride.
Why can’t you request a specific Uber or Lyft driver? Uber and Lyft drivers are assigned to you by an algorithm that factors in the following three things:
- The driver’s proximity to you.
- The driver’s waiting time.
- The type of ride requested.
In this article, you will learn why you cannot request specific drivers when using Uber and Lyft, as well as additional information that is useful for all Uber and Lyft patrons.
Why You Cannot Request a Specific Uber or Lyft Driver
If you are someone that uses Uber or Lyft regularly, you may have found a driver that you felt safe with and enjoyed. If you tried to request that same driver for another ride later, you were probably disappointed when you found out you couldn’t.
Uber and Lyft’s apps use an algorithm to pair drivers up with people requesting rides. This algorithm is a helpful tool for preventing unnecessary discrimination, and it is also a way to keep things fair among drivers.
Don’t be too sad about not being able to request your favorite driver again, though. While you can’t request a specific driver, you could very well see the same driver again. If you are taking the same route daily with a rideshare app and the driver covers the same area each day, you may end up getting the same driver from time to time.
How Ridesharing Apps Match Riders and Drivers
Both Uber and Lyft are run by applications that use an algorithm that monitors proximity, driver waiting time, and the types of rides that are requested.
The apps select the driver closest to the potential rider. Selecting the nearest driver avoids long wait times and, in return, makes for happier drivers and passengers.
Driver Waiting Time
Another key factor that can determine which driver will pick you up is the driver’s waiting time. For instance, if you are at the airport looking for someone to take you to your hotel or home, many drivers will be waiting in the airport queue. In these cases, the apps will assign the driver who was waiting for the longest.
Lyft and Uber both have a few different types of rides that the rider can select. Depending on your location, some options may not be available to you. Services provided are determined on a city by city basis.
The types of Lyft and Uber rides include:
- Lyft or UberX – This is a standard ride in a four-passenger vehicle.
- Lyft XL or Uber XL – This service will hold up to six passengers and costs more than the standard option.
- Lyft Lux or Uber Select – If you are looking for a standard ride but would like a high-end car, this is the choice for you.
- Lyft Lux Black or Uber Black – This option offers a top-rated driver and the highest-end car you can get in the service.
- Lyft Lux Black XL or Uber Black SUV– This choice offers the same ride as Lyft Lux and Uber Select, but it provides an SUV that can hold up to six passengers.
- Lyft Shared or Uber POOL – If you don’t mind sharing your ride with a stranger and need to save some money, this is a great option. The driver will pick up multiple riders at different locations along the route. In return, it saves you money and helps the driver get more people to their destinations faster.
The Differences Between Uber and Lyft
Both Uber and Lyft offer the same type of services. However, there are some differences that you may notice, depending on where you live or where you are visiting.
The most significant difference between the two companies is where they operate. Lyft is strictly a service offered in the U.S. while Uber operates in many different countries. If you are traveling overseas, you can still use the Uber service to get rides, depending on if Uber is available in the city you are visiting.
Uber has more drivers than Lyft because their coverage areas are larger inside of the U.S. Having more drivers means that you will usually wait less time for your driver to arrive with Uber.
While both companies require an extensive background check and a clean driving record, Uber requires the driver’s vehicle to have four doors. The car also must be in good condition and have no more than ten years of driving history. Lyft requires its drivers to be 21 or older.
Both companies allow for scheduled rides reservations. However, Lyft only offers scheduled rides reservations up to seven days prior, while Uber provides for these reservations up to 30 days in advance.
When it comes to rush hour and using a rideshare service, you can expect price surges. Uber will automatically add a predetermined surge rate to your charge, which can double the standard rate. Lyft uses a percentage-based formula for calculating its surge charge.
Tips for Keeping Yourself Safe While Using a Rideshare Service
It’s always a good idea to be cautious when you are using a service like Lyft or Uber. If you are concerned about your safety while using ridesharing services, remember the following tips from Emily Ferron’s article “Uber and Lyft Safety Tips that You Haven’t Already Heard,” and, hopefully, they will ease your worry.
- Always wait for your driver in a safe place.
- Verify that the car and the driver match the information in the app.
- Ask the driver to confirm your name and destination.
- Share the ride with a friend, so you aren’t alone.
- If you are riding alone, allow someone you trust to track where you are.
- Call someone while you are in the car and tell them you are using a ridesharing service.
- Never share personal information with the driver.
- Always trust your instincts. If something feels off, get out of the situation as fast as possible.
Uber and Lyft FAQs
Q. Can you choose the gender of your driver?
A. In today’s world, sexual harassment is an issue. It can happen anywhere, and the last place you want to worry about it is in a ridesharing vehicle. Unfortunately, at this time, you cannot request a specific gender while setting up your ride.
Q. Can you block a specific driver?
A. Yes, both Lyft and Uber have a way to block a specific driver from being paired with a rider. Both riders and drivers can use this feature to block someone that they do not wish to do business with in the future. If you give each other a low rating, the apps will automatically place a block on the other person.
Q. Can you contact the driver after a ride?
A. The apps allow riders and drivers to communicate via a messenger system. You can contact them directly in the apps to avoid giving out your phone number to someone you don’t know.
Uber and Lyft are a great way to get where you need to go when you don’t have access to your vehicle or if you are visiting a city and you don’t know your way around. However, as of right now, you cannot request a specific driver with either service.