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Monday, August 04, 2014

Shutting down trip before reaching destination a Risk?

Ridesharing drivers are known to end trips early. The motivation behind ending a trip early is to compensate a client for their time and additional fare cost. It is apparent that no driver is perfect. For the most part, driving in busy cities may involve accidentally making wrong turns that lengthen trips and/or experiencing navigation issues that lead drivers to wrong destinations. All in all, ridesharing drivers have a tough job to please clients and must protect their driving privileges to limit potential risks.

Ride app companies advise drivers (Pro tips and driving tips) who experience trip issues to end these rides prior to reaching the intended destination. However, shutting down this ride app early may impose insurance coverage risk factors. What risk does a ridesharing take with ending a trip with clients still present inside a vehicle?

Besides SideCar (cost is already pre-determined), ride app companies inform their drivers to end trips when there are navigation issues and delays. If a client gives their driver the wrong address, after this driver confirms the destination, ride app companies recommend their drivers to end these trips a few blocks from the destination. 

Ride app companies provide insurance coverage in different parts of a trip. If there is a client inside a vehicle, the highest coverage applies. However, a driver with an app on and no client inside their vehicle will get reduced coverage. A driver heading to pick up a client is protected, though this coverage is less than when a client occupies their vehicle. What if a trip is ended to compensate a client, and an accident occurs moments later? The idea of this happening is deeply concerning for drivers and clients/passengers/riders.  

How is ending a ride a few blocks away going to make a difference? Clients are charged .30 per minute and $1.50 per mile driven. When a driver ends a trip a few blocks away, they are merely saving their client a $0-2. What about the cost associated with possibly getting into an accident a few blocks from this destination? Ride app companies, like insurance companies, may try to wiggle their way out of paying for such accidents. Ridesharing drivers risk it all driving on busy roads. 

The problem with ending trips earlier is whether a ride app company's insurance coverage applies. Car accidents can happen in a matter of seconds. A car speeding through a residential area can run a stop sign and plow into a ridesharing vehicle. This is when ride app coverage gets particularly tricky. 

We are no ridesharing insurance experts. We can't give any legal advice on ride app company insurance policies. But for the most part, we know that ending a trip early is risky. We know of ridesharing drivers who have ended trips early to accommodate their clients. It happens often. 

Clients are overly critical of reaching a particular destination on time (even though the clients are usually running light and defer this pressure to drivers) and incurring additional fare charges for miles driven and time spent inside ride app vehicles. 

In our opinion, we don't recommend drivers to prematurely end trips with clients inside their vehicles. It is no fun and games. Unfortunate events are likely to happen. Don't put yourself in a position to fail. 

Rather end a trip early, a good solution is to inform the client you intend to submit a fare review. Apologize to this client. Tell them you appreciate their business. It was a pleasure driving them. Furthermore, accept personal responsibility if this trip delay resulted in you making a mistake. 

If the client can't accept this apology and decides to submit a poor rating and leave negative feedback, then allow karma to take its course. There are clients who are critical, rude, and unforgiving. This behavior falls into the natural order of humanity. People whine, complain and blame others to feel better. 

Clients may not understand that their low star ratings and negative feedback can get a driver deactivated. This action against drivers can harm well-being of others. Is going great lengths to get a driver deactivated going to make a client feel better about themselves? 

The theme of this post is to inform drivers to be careful about ending trips early. Saving the client a few dollars may put a driver in hot water. It really depends on whether coverage applies while an app is disabled. Technically, a ride app that is disabled is an inactive trip. Are drivers and clients covered when a trip is ended before reaching a destination?  Only time will tell.