An Uber driver’s guide to Christmas
December is usually the busiest time of year for Uber, and we’re all hoping this Christmas will be more like normal and less like the last-minute lockdowns of last year. With that in mind, here are some of our tips for private hire drivers to get the most out of an Uber driver Christmas.
Along with information on what to expect on earnings and likely busy periods, we’ve put together some info to help you plan your business in the run-up to Christmas and New Year. And because it’s Christmas, we also shine a spotlight on some of the drivers who are spreading festive cheer, from food to refunds and even a Christmas sing-along.
What to expect
With the obvious exception of 2020, this is generally peak earnings season for drivers on Uber and other platforms. Before last year, Uber drivers earned an average of 8% more in December compared with November.
From now until around 17 December, a lot of riders will be heading out to Christmas parties – with many people continuing to work from home, now’s a good time for people to catch up with their teammates and friends face-to-face.
In the week leading up to Christmas Day, demand is expected to continue as people travel to see friends and family. Christmas Eve tends to be particularly busy – some people may still be heading into the office (though probably for a shorter workday), and there will be riders out and about doing last-minute shopping for presents or Christmas food.
With fewer drivers on the road, there is the potential to earn more from fewer rides. You may choose to work on 25 December, picking up fares from people heading back from the big Christmas lunch with family or in the pub, but you may prefer to take the time for yourself and enjoy spending the day with your loved ones.
Drivers say that working Christmas Day can have mixed results. Boxing Day can also be worth it but there is the risk of getting stuck in traffic.
Between 26 and 29 December, the general advice is to use the quiet period to rest up and take a well-earned break before trip requests start coming in again for a busy New Year’s Eve.
‘Tis the season for partygoers and riders who may have got a bit too merry. These things go with the job at this time of year, but there are things you can do to plan ahead and look after your riders and yourself.
- If you haven’t already, set your interior light to go on when the door opens. This makes it easier for passengers to check the seats and double-check they have all their belongings. For lost property, keep it safe for when your rider gets in touch, and if you don’t hear from them, return the item to either an Uber Greenlight Hub or your local police station.
- It’s frustrating if a rider makes a mess, whether from spilled Christmas groceries or if they’re worse for wear. In the worst cases, let them know Uber will be in touch about cleaning fees. Take photos of the mess and send them to Uber through the in-app help section, along with the cleaning receipt.
- If riders are very drunk, keep it calm and professional and try not to be distracted. As always, it’s about getting them to where they need to go safely.
Feel-good Christmas stories
But it’s not all drunk riders and hassle. Some drivers take the opportunity to spread a bit of Christmas joy through some real acts of kindness.
One driver went out of his way to deliver a homemade curry to one of his passengers, who happens to be the man in charge of London’s Oxford Street Christmas lights.
When Steven Medway took an Uber from a night out in central London to his home in Bethnal Green he got chatting to his driver, Fazal, about how much he loved Indian food.
Fazal replied that his wife makes the “best biryani”. He took the rider’s number and promised to deliver some over the weekend.
True to his word, Fazal rang Steven the following Saturday night to say he was on his way.
Steven told the Evening Standard newspaper: “He called me to ask if I would be home at about 9 pm. I tried to give him £10 for the trip and he almost got offended. He said: ‘Not everything in life is about money. This is about friendship.’
“The curry was amazing; it was really good. I have lived in London for a long time and it can be a lonely place. It was just really, really nice.”
The rider described the Uber driver as “quite possibly the kindest man I have ever met.”
Another Uber driver, Kamran Mughal in Bradford, refunded all his passengers’ fares on Christmas Day as part of a project to encourage others to carry out random acts of kindness. He said it was his way of giving back to the community.
But the award for most festive Uber driver probably goes to ‘Do Good Jonathan’, who spent weeks leading up to Christmas performing Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’ with every rider that got into his car.
The LA driver recorded every performance, before putting them on his YouTube channel. Passengers were given Christmas props, from reindeer and Santa hats to maracas.
You wouldn’t probably get away with this in the era of Covid (or even outside the US), but it definitely works for getting into the Christmas spirit…
From all of us at INSHUR, we wish you a very merry Christmas, and here’s to a healthy, happy 2022.