Brett Helling (Ridester)

Ride Apprentice

96 Rider Driver

Brett Helling is the head of Ridester, a site that provides in-depth articles on the gig economy, with a particular focus on the rideshare industry. When he's not overseeing a team of drivers and writers, he spends as much time as possible reading, working out, or playing with his dog Baxter (insert Anchorman reference here).

A collection of the most popular Ridester content:


Posts by Ridester

Comments by Ridester

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     3 years ago in  5 Steps for Traveling in an Uber with your Dog

    No problem. Happy to help!

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     3 years ago in  How to Request Uber or Lyft Without a Smartphone

    What a time to be alive, right? You can just say aloud, while alone in your house, that you want an Uber, and one will show up. I love technology :)

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     3 years ago in  What is the difference between UberSUV and UberXL?

    Well, that depends on your preference, but UberBLACK are luxury cars that can accommodate 4 passengers, while UberSUV are luxury vehicles that can accommodate up to 6 passengers.

    All the vehicles on either service are nice, but it just depends if you want a car or SUV.

    Hope that helps clarify!

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     3 years ago in  How to Request Uber or Lyft Without a Smartphone

    We actually put together a pretty detailed guide to requesting an Uber or Lyft without a smartphone. I'll summarize the different ways you can do it in this post, but check out our full guide to learn more, including step by step tutorials: 

    Whether your smartphone is dead, or you don't own one, there are a couple different ways this can be accomplished.

    1. Online, using or simply log into the websites, enter pickup and dropoff locations, then request your ride
    2. Using Amazon's Alexa: once the Uber "skill" is added in the Alexa app, Uber riders can request a ride using voice commands

    As you can see, there are a couple different ways to request a ride without a smartphone. Obviously, they're a little more complicated then just pulling out your smartphone and pressing a few buttons, but whether your smartphone phone is dead, or you don't have one at all, you can still get a ride.

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     3 years ago in  What is the difference between UberSUV and UberXL?

    We've put together two pretty detailed guides about each of these services, so let me try to answer these.

    1. UberXL -
    2. UberSUV -

    UberXL is like UberX, but only with vehicles that can transport up to 6 people. If you need seating for 6, this is a great option without having to call a more expensive service. 

    Examples of UberXL vehicles:

    • Toyota Sienna
    • Honda Pilot
    • Dodge Journey
    • GMC Acadia
    • Toyota Highlander

    These vehicles aren't always sexy, but they'll get you where you need to go. If you're going to a casual bar around town, it'll get the job done. But if you're rolling up to the club with your friends and getting out of a minivan isn't the way you want to start your night, then check out UberSUV.

    On the other hand, UberSUV is one of the most expensive services for passengers, and provides luxury service that's handled by professional, licensed drivers. These vehicles are black, and on the high end of the spectrum in terms of price, comfort, and style. 

    Examples of UberSUV vehicles:

    • Cadillac Escalade
    • Audi Q7
    • GMC Yukon XL
    • Lincoln Navigator

    What's great about UberSUV is that you can split ride fares with all your friends. Meaning it's more expensive, but if you all go in on the ride, it's actually quite affordable.

    TLDR: UberXL is cheap, but can still hold 6 passengers. UberSUV is luxury, but more expensive. Still holds 6 passengers.

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     3 years ago in  5 Steps for Traveling in an Uber with your Dog

    I just wrote a post about this topic on my blog that comprehensively covered Uber and Lyft's pet policiesso I find this particularly interesting.

    Here's a quick rundown of Uber and Lyft's pet policies: 

    • To my knowledge, if you have a service animal drivers must be required by law to take them
    • Whether your non-service pet can ride is entirely up to the driver. Most will take them, but they aren't required to according to Uber and Lyft's Terms of Service
    • Drivers are not allowed to bring their own pets along for the ride when they're driving

    The 5 steps to traveling with your pet are very well thought out, and things I believe that all riders traveling with a pet should understand. ESPECIALLY bringing a towel and tipping well.

    While most drivers might not want to take your pet, they may feel obligated to in order to avoid an awkward situation or a bad rating. Tipping gives them the credit they're due for getting your and your pet safely to your destination.

    Just keep that in mind and be courteous and nice when traveling with your pet. Your driver will appreciate it!

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     3 years ago in  Lyft Driver Referrals is Bullsh*t

    These bonuses are actually better for drivers, in my opinion. You don't have to meet the 185 ride requirement to get that bonus. If you make 185 rides, you get $800, but if you fall short of that, you still get paid for the amount of trips you've taken. 

    In the past, drivers only got paid if they hit the ride requirement, even if they were just one short. However, now they get paid out per trip, allowing them to make extra money no matter how many trips they do or don't drive

  • This was our first survey attempt, so we've learned a lot from the response collection and findings. I'll make a not to get weekly summaries next time, which I think will help improve accuracy.  Thanks for the feedback! 

  • It is a big discrepancy. However, it's easily avoidable by simply looking at hard data like screenshots.

  • When we did the survey, we wanted to avoid drivers answering the questions with any bias. By collecting screenshots, we were able to avoid confusion and deal in facts.

    By doing it this way, we avoided answers that reflected...

    • their opinion of what they made;
    • their best recollection of what they made;
    • what they wish they had made;

  • Overall, yes I agree. Uber passengers are bad at tipping, especially when compared to Lyft passengers. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that Uber actually encouraged riders not to tip, up until they changed their tipping policy recently. Unfortunate, but drivers are still feeling the effect.

  • We actually also measured driver satisfaction in our survey, and the results are grim:

     Over 70% of drivers that we polled gave Uber less than 3 stars in that regard. The majority of drivers aren't happy with what they're earning