How to make Uber and Lyft work for you

Many seniors invest in smartphones for the convenience of ordering on-demand transportation from Lyft or Uber. Unfortunately, if you’re new to smartphones and their apps, sometimes there’s a steep learning curve for ordering rides—and you’ll get hit with cancellation fees if the driver can’t find you.

Here are three tips for ensuring that you’re not left behind—with a charge!—by your driver:

  • Know the rules. Drivers are only required to wait for you at your pickup spot for a few minutes. Uber drivers can cancel the ride after two minutes if you don’t make it into their car by then. Lyft drivers will wait for five minutes, and are required to call you before they cancel the ride. (Keep your phone in your hand, so you don’t miss that call!) A new ride won’t automatically be ordered for you; you’ll need to request another car if this happens.

  • Wait at the absolute most obvious pickup location. The apps will geo-locate you when you request a ride. That means, for instance, if you order the ride while in the milk aisle of the grocery store, the car is going to want to pick you up in the dairy section! Instead, either adjust the pin drop to indicate you’re right at the front door, or wait until you ARE at the front door to order the ride. Choose a location that’s an obvious place for a pickup—a primary entrance, not a secondary one. Or select a location with a landmark—like a big sign, or the handicap parking spaces.

  • Be proactive. If you’re someplace busy, like a Target parking lot, sometimes it’s hard to spot the silver Prius that’s going to pick you up (in a sea of other silver Priuses). Call or text the driver and let them know what you’re wearing. That way you’re both looking out for the other.