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I Asked My Ola Drivers What Customers Do That Pisses Them Off, And Learned 15 Things

I've been asking Ola drivers to tell me about the most monstrous customers they've driven.

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For the last few weeks, I've been asking Ola drivers to tell me what makes their lives difficult. What do customers do that, without our knowledge, annoys them, pisses them off, and puts them at the terrifying and real risk of losing their jobs?

Here's what I found makes you a shit human in the back of a cab.

1. Not answering the phone when they're on their way, or have shown up.

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One man who's been driving for Ola for seven months told me that, at least once or twice every day, he shows up to pick up a customer who simply doesn't answer the phone, forcing him to cancel after waiting for 15 minutes.

2. Getting angry when they call asking for directions to your pick-up point, and yelling to "just use the map!"

An Ola driver told me that a remarkable number of people don't even realise that their pin on the map is in a WILDLY inaccurate spot. This means that, at least a couple of times a week, he ends up on the wrong side of town because a customer was too impatient to give him directions on the phone.

3. Saying "I'll be down in 5 minutes", then taking an unapologetic 45.

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Several drivers mentioned that they're technically allowed to cancel and leave after 10 minutes of waiting for a customer to show up. If they wait longer, they're doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, and actually losing money they could be making on other rides.

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5. Smoking! Even when the driver himself doesn't have a problem, the customer after you might.

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Ola and Uber drivers are at the mercy of customers' reviews – too many complaints made to the HQ means they lose their job. Even if the driver doesn't have a problem with you smoking, the smell prompts subsequent customers to file complaints or give low ratings. And you have no idea.

7. Making them wait an unreasonable amount of time once your trip is underway.

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Ola drivers make ₹1 per minute while waiting, compared to ₹8 rupees per kilometre when they're driving. So, do the math. Stopping for brief periods – an ATM visit or to pick someone up – is unanimously considered totes chill. But the longer the wait, the higher their losses.

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8. Trashing the back seat, or eating in the cab and not cleaning up after.

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I noticed that a few Ola drivers, after dropping customers off, would get out and do a quick survey at the back. They explained that customers sometimes leave behind crumbs, empty bottles, or wrappers – again, prompting the next customer to file a complaint or leave a low rating.

9. Telling them to please let six of you sit in a four-seater.

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You think they're being difficult when they say "four maximum", but you're actually putting them at risk. A driver I spoke to had to pay a ₹300 fine after a customer convinced him to fit five people in. And the customer didn't pay him back.

11. Making them switch radio stations to one you like better. (Especially one with English-speaking RJs and songs.)

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A lot of drivers spend upwards of 12 hours a day in their cars, with the stereo as their sole source of entertainment. Just frickin' carry earphones and you do you.

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12. BUT – don't be so deep in your headphones-and-phone tunnel vision that you have no clue they're trying to talk to you.

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Instead, let them know in advance that you have headphones on and that they should turn the light on to get your attention.

13. Being drunk and belligerent.

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Tbh, Ola drivers know that for many people, the reason we're in an Ola is that we're hammered. And, for the most part, they're OK with it! But if you know yourself to be an angry, rowdy, messy drunk, don't make a stranger bear the brunt.

15. Generally being an aggressive, rude douchebucket.

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The person in the driver's seat is just a human being tryna make a living. They're discouraged from back-talk, even if the customer is in the wrong. So, unless it's totally warranted, trust that they're doing their best, and don't be a frickin' monster.