E-hail services, specifically Uber and Lyft, are a godsend in Miami: No more worrying about valet service, parking laws, or your blood alcohol content. The only things to concern yourself with: Can your driver find you? Can he drive? Is he sane? The answer to all three is usually, “Sure, more or less.” But the variety of personalities who answer your bat signal can vary widely in this city. If you rely on these services regularly, these are the types of drivers you'll eventually encounter — see if you can spot one of them when your next Uber arrives.
10. The Hangover Helper
You’re feeling shaky, lightheaded, and sensitive to sunlight, but you have to GSD. So you’re out on the curb at 10 a.m., praying this ride won’t be drama. And you get a miracle! When this driver pulls up, something about his happy-go-lucky vibe and observational humor works like balm to your soul. You spend the first part of the ride sharing amazement at the guy in front of you bumping Tiësto out of the subwoofers of his lightning-painted Yahama motorcycle, and the second half sharing “Miami, amirite?” stories.
Rating: Five stars plus an overly generous tip.
9. The New Girl
She’s been in Miami only a short time, but man, she loves this place! She is the Happiest Uber Driver in the World. And despite being new to the city — and sometimes even the country and its traffic laws — she is a surprisingly adept driver, not even really needing her navigation system. She’s way too smart and motivated to be in a transient job. She's powering through a college degree in her downtime. Five years from now, she’ll have graduated and be doing business development for a real-estate group. Good on you, New Girl.
Rating: Five stars and a nice comment because you’ll probably be working for her one day.
8. The Poor Sucker
Generally found driving UberPOOLs, this guy is young, naive, and just hapless. He waits ten minutes for late passengers and then gives them his phone charger and lets them dictate directions. Together, he and you vow silently never to do an UberPOOL again no matter how many times Uber promotes it. Once the terrible passenger gets out of the car, there is no sound except sadness. At the end of a 45-minute journey that should have taken 25 minutes, you tip him $7 and still feel guilty.
Rating: Four stars plus a pity tip.
7. The Former Taxi Driver
He’s grizzled, gruff, funny, efficient, and has this thing down to a fine system. He explains his schedule in detail: Wake up at 5 a.m. every day, drive till exactly 10 a.m., and then live his life, which might involve a boat or some woodworking hobby. Let the Poor Suckers handle the other 19 hours of the day and night, he says. He can give you the quickest and most traffic-free ride you’ll ever experience. But if you take even 2.2 minutes to get down to the car after Uber pings you, you’ll never meet this guy because he hits the gas at 1:59 like Bye, have a nice life!
Rating: Three to five stars, depending upon whether you cut it so close you had to chase his departing car.
6. The Abuela
You see her coming from a mile away — or, to be precise, you see her car do two loops on your GPS tracker. When she pulls up, she’s angry at you for standing in a No Parking zone. You explain that when you were standing in a parking lot, she didn’t see you, but this does nothing to calm her. You don't even know this woman, but somehow she knows exactly how to guilt you. Eventually, there’s a tense détente — but not until the end of the ride.
Rating: Five stars out of pure intimidation.
5. The Zen Bro
When this guy isn’t driving, he's painting or meditating or playing music or something very chill. He embodies chillness. He believes that Uber is a force for good in the world, and even the most unspeakably horrible Friday 6 p.m. rush-hour traffic will not change his opinion. He provides passengers with cool drinks, phone chargers, cool towels for foreheads, and Buddhist quotes. You’re a lot more likely to find him in Los Angeles. But if you want to encounter one in Miami, try Wynwood (obviously).
Rating: Five stars unless he’s too chill to figure out where he’s going.
4. Your BFF
This woman is not just your driver. She’s your DJ, your concierge, your shrink, and your coolest friend. During your late-night drive, she calls her friend for recommendations on the best place to hear reggaeton, and you want to tag along. She's sassy, telling your significant other to stop being afraid of a little rain — yeah, she's driving 85 mph on the expressway in a flash flood, but it’s Miami! Get used to it! By the time she drops you off, you're considering asking her to be friends on Facebook.
Rating: Five stars and a cash tip — ask for her card at your discretion.
3. The One Who Shouldn’t Have a License
Unlike the Poor Sucker, this one doesn’t have poor life skills — he's just a downright terrible driver. This is the kind of driver you would stay far, far away from if you were any other motorist. He hops curbs, goes the wrong way down streets, and barely misses colliding with ten other cars — all while his navigation system futilely shouts an endless stream of “Turn left. Turn left. Turn left.”
Rating: Three stars, but only because you're nice.
2. The Creep
This glowering, greasy-haired, sinister character is in every city. His silence is threatening, his questions are too personal, and you keep catching him eyeing you weirdly in the rearview mirror. He might have a murmured conversation into his earpiece that makes you nervously wonder if he's coordinating with his accomplice on the other end. This is the ride that will make you quit Uber — until the next time you really need one.
Rating: Three stars, and is there a way to block this person from seeing future calls?
1. The Ghost
You spoke to this person. You texted info about your outfit for identification purposes. You watched the GPS. You waited in a passenger pickup zone right outside Publix, for God’s sake, how much more obvious can it be? When that didn’t work and you saw the Uber doing another loop, you moved to the store entrance. When the car started yet another loop, you literally stood in the middle of the street waving your arms. Two minutes later, the driver canceled the ride and you never saw him or her again. It was probably for the best, but you’ll always be curious.
Rating: Zero stars, and see if Uber will give you $10 off your next ride as an apology. Sometimes it does.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.