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Who gets to ride shotgun?

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E
28 Rider Driver
 Posted 1 year, 4 months ago

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As a driver do you often get a passenger who chooses to sit up front, at night, and then for much of the ride, waves around a very bright phone?  Or how about this one:  exactly when they are 3 minutes from their destination, the pax up front decides to play a video with sound for the entertainment of pax in the back seat, holding their phone directly above your right shoulder?  Or have you ever had a passenger who sits up front, then turns to face the pax in the back and stays reversed, speaking very loudly with their mouth just over your right shoulder?  How about a front-seat pax who, speaking to companions in back, gestures forcefully with a hand very near your face as you are driving?

Or how about this one:  your pax sits in back while their guest rides shotgun.  The guest bonds in conversation with you as the driver, but the pax who booked the ride gets so displeased about it, they rate you poorly?

Do you have any special rules for pax who sit up front?  If so, what are they?  How do you tell the pax?  When?  What reactions have you found?

Has anyone tried telling a pax that only the person who booked the ride can ride shotgun in your car?

If I find a ride with more than two pax at night, and they don't all three sit in back, I check the screen brightness of the front-pax's phone, when it's in their hand:  if it's much brighter than mine, I sometimes tell them that who ever sits up front can't use their phone during the ride.  So far I've found solo pax more agreeable than accompanied pax. 

Meanwhile have you noticed that some of your most challenging rides occur when a couple decline...

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As a driver do you often get a passenger who chooses to sit up front, at night, and then for much of the ride, waves around a very bright phone?  Or how about this one:  exactly when they are 3 minutes from their destination, the pax up front decides to play a video with sound for the entertainment of pax in the back seat, holding their phone directly above your right shoulder?  Or have you ever had a passenger who sits up front, then turns to face the pax in the back and stays reversed, speaking very loudly with their mouth just over your right shoulder?  How about a front-seat pax who, speaking to companions in back, gestures forcefully with a hand very near your face as you are driving?

Or how about this one:  your pax sits in back while their guest rides shotgun.  The guest bonds in conversation with you as the driver, but the pax who booked the ride gets so displeased about it, they rate you poorly?

Do you have any special rules for pax who sit up front?  If so, what are they?  How do you tell the pax?  When?  What reactions have you found?

Has anyone tried telling a pax that only the person who booked the ride can ride shotgun in your car?

If I find a ride with more than two pax at night, and they don't all three sit in back, I check the screen brightness of the front-pax's phone, when it's in their hand:  if it's much brighter than mine, I sometimes tell them that who ever sits up front can't use their phone during the ride.  So far I've found solo pax more agreeable than accompanied pax. 

Meanwhile have you noticed that some of your most challenging rides occur when a couple declines to sit together in the back seat?  If so, do you have any tips for minimizing such challenges?  

Generally when a couple gets in my car, they both sit in the back seat.  Occasionally though, one member of what's evidently a couple sits up front.  Often it seems the couple has has some unresolved tensions that tend to surface even during a brief ride.

I figure there isn't much a driver can do here.  I wish I could tell pax that if they're a couple, they must both sit in back, but A) it's not my business whether or not they're a couple; B) passengers like to choose their own seats; and C) I'd rather not choose where a pax sits without stating a reason I expect to make sense to them, and I'm not there yet.

It's not so uncommon for pax to squabble with each other in my car, but I've noticed it almost never becomes a major challenge for me when they're both sitting in back.  Moreover when I do attempt to manage such challenges, I find way more success when both pax are sitting in back.

My main tactic so far is that if couples are squabbling as I'm approaching the entrance to the highway, I ask them please for safety to cut out the drama while we are on the highway.

Anyway I gather that a pax who sits beside the driver tends to feel they are more on the driver's side, and they expect me to reciprocate.  It's like maybe they feel we up front are the adults in the car.  But I intend to serve the one pax who booked the ride, no matter where they sit.  So I try to make that arrangement clear at the start of the ride, by identifying which pax booked the ride, and sometimes I tell their companions that they are guests of the pax who booked the ride.

This arrangement though seems lost on some pax who seem to treat me like a taxi driver working for the whole party.  It also seems lost on some pax, who book rides for themselves and their companions, that if they'd prefer to minimize undue conversation, they might say so to me or try to restrain their companions from peppering me with questions, especially if they are sitting in back where I can't see their reactions to conversations.

Meanwhile I've read posts by some drivers who say that sometimes we don't feel like having a passenger up front.  I guess I'm one!  Generally I like the company, but dislike when a pax sits up front and then stays on their phone the whole time.  Also if a pax's ride is less than ten minutes, I'd rather they sit in back.

But of course they choose their seat before I know how long their ride is.  And though I don't hesitate to tell pax I'm not changing the music to suit them during a five-minute ride, I sure hesitate to ask a pax to sit in back simply because I'd rather keep them at arm's length for our brief ride.

Further I gather that banishing a pax to the back would feel to them like a demotion.  I've never had a passenger move from the front to the back after getting into my car.

So if I need certain pax not to sit up front, then I need either to work it out before they get into the car, or else accept that such ride might end early.  But it's pretty challenging to tackle before pax get into the car.

Most pax are not so challenging, so I slide by, most of the time, without imposing any rules on them.  Whenever I state rules, including a ban on eating inside my car, most pax are very displeased, no matter how necessary the rule is or how politely I say it.

I'm particularly interested in the driver who recently wrote in this forum that he ends the rides of any pax who touches him.  Getting touched actually is not an issue for me:  I like the rule though because I think it makes sense to most passengers.  The behaviors that concern me, I think would be less clear to many pax.

I consider the space directly over my shoulder to be my personal space.  When a pax, riding shotgun, insistently takes this space to communicate (using their hands, phone, or voice) with other pax, I find it hard to accept.

Moreover I haven't quite decided yet how to communicate my need here to pax effectively.  Indeed it probably makes sense not to try, because the few pax who've done this, out of my 1000 rides, seem quite unlikely to respond well to reason.

While just a few passengers act too aggressively, they strongly tend to be accompanied pax who sit up front.

I do have an inkling at the start that they are acting a bit aggressively.  So far I've been able, safely enough, to get through all but a couple of those tough rides.  But for safety moving forward I'm thinking I'd rather hash things out at the start--even at the risk of some undue conflict--than keep having a few pax invade my personal space insistently while I'm driving in traffic.

I strongly prefer to give pax a warning before ending any ride.  What if I told some front-seat, accompanied pax that I don't tolerate invasions of my personal space, nor am I willing to argue at all about what's over the line?  In the space directly over my right shoulder, I need them not to raise their voice, gesture, or hold their phone at all.

In sum, I need a pax riding shotgun not to use the space over my right shoulder as their space to face the back seat.  If they need to face pax in the back, then they need either to please sit in back with them or please find another driver.

Does my need here fall into the realm of common sense?  

Anyway my best plan overall I think is to continue to handle these challenges as they arise, but I'm somewhat concerned because the one time I ended a ride early, the pax got belligerent and verbally abusive, even though I'd given them several warnings, it was multiple pax simultaneously making a huge racket with their phones and voices; and the ride was otherwise going well.  In this case, while driving I told one of the pax I needed her to turn off her phone's volume immediately.  She responded by shouting "Why?  I pulled over, dropped them off, and did not respond to their verbal abuse.

Similarly I might tell an invasive front-seat passenger I need them to keep out of the space over my shoulder, preferably by moving to the back seat.  After I've said so, if they persist, I might end their ride early and zip my lip.

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Comments

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    BrianTheScrewDriver
    434 Driver Driver
     2 months ago

    This is hilarious. I especially like this one:

    Or how about this one:  your pax sits in back while their guest rides shotgun.  The guest bonds in conversation with you as the driver, but the pax who booked the ride gets so displeased about it, they rate you poorly?

    It's like a love triangle. I bet a pax like that is super insecure and always gets jealous of his/her friends.

    I wonder what part of calling an Uber he/she thinks creates a special relationship between him/her and the driver? (over the friend's)

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      JustSchmidt
      86 Rider
       2 months ago

      I like this one. 

      Generally when a couple gets in my car, they both sit in the back seat.  Occasionally though, one member of what's evidently a couple sits up front.  Often it seems the couple has has some unresolved tensions that tend to surface even during a brief ride.

      What a petty fight to sit in the front seat.  It'd be cool if this insecure one in the front would make out with the driver just to make the backseat jealous.

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    dracomalfoy
    185 Driver
     1 year ago

    This is the longest post on seating etiquette I have ever read. I dislike when riders sit directly behind me as the only passenger. It freaks me out a little.

    I really don't care who sits up front and have never had an issue with a person who booked the ride getting mad at me for their friend sitting up front. I do prefer though that if there is space in the back that the passengers fill the back space first before sitting up front as I do use the front seat as a place for a few of my belongings.

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    emerymahon
    48
     1 year ago

    I think you are in the right here. I may not ask couples to specifically sit together, that seems weird but to have "rules" for the front seat such as no bright phone light, no talking over my shoulder or jesturing in my space, etc that all makes sense.

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    brownbear
    599 Rider
     1 year ago

    When I take an uber somewhere I always sit in the back. If we have three people then I will usually just ask the driver if they mind if I sit in the front. Seems like basic etiquette to me but I guess not everyone shares that...

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      dianeJH
      71
       1 year ago

      In some cultures it is rude to sit in the back and not the front.

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    cheesehead
    519 Driver Rider
     1 year ago

    The bright phone thing is super annoying. People realize how distracting it is.

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    DWang02
    105 Rider
     1 year ago

    How did I miss this gold when he originally posted it.