My daughter and I have been listening to an exciting audiobook while driving (How to Train Your Dragon). I had to take my car in for repairs, so I plan to pick her up from camp via Lyft (a competitor to Uber). I know my daughter will want to listen to the story. Would it be impolite of me to ask the Lyft driver if we can play it quietly in the back seat on my device? The ride would be about 15 minutes.


Since it sounded like a few drivers might not like it or feel that they couldn't say no, I just read quietly to my daughter instead. She was happy.

  • I'm not familiar with either Lyft or Uber, but are the back seats separated from the front seats? Jul 19, 2017 at 19:35
  • There's not a glass pane separating the back from the front. They're just regular cars. Jul 19, 2017 at 20:36

3 Answers 3


There is no implication or social expectation of interpersonal interaction with an uber/lyft/ driver any more than you would be expected to interact with a taxi driver, limo driver, shuttle driver, security guard/escort, bartender, etc. The typical pleasantries should suffice.

Yet any uber/gig economy worker is a normal person with a wide variety of expectations of what is okay and what is not. There are entire websites were lyft and uber drivers will publicly state that they will down vote, I mean rate a passenger lower for not talking or ignoring them. There are also drivers who rate passengers lower for talking to them. There is no winning here.

The best you can expect is that it's normally not impolite to ask permission, even when you are essentially holding them hostage to social convention. They would be seen as rude for saying no or they may think you'll rate them lower for saying no (Any rating under 100% positive hurts them). They basically cannot say no.

So tip. A decent tip will make any minor issue go away, and considering the real economics of uber rides, it would go a long way for them.

  • Thank you. We do tip. I assume they rate me before seeing whether I tip, but that may be wrong. Do you know? Jul 20, 2017 at 16:12
  • 1
    Some may, but that's mostly for people who are rude or disgusting or threaten. Most drivers would wait til after, I would hope. Some rate based on if you tip. Since not all driver apps allow tipping in the app, it's difficult to say.
    – Passerby
    Jul 20, 2017 at 17:52
  • Drivers can rate customers too?
    – Ooker
    Aug 23, 2017 at 18:37

I spent a few weeks driving for one of these ride sharing companies and it seems that the main goal is for the customer to get where they want and to be as comfortable as possible while travelling there. I never went over the top with bottles of water/candy/gum but I was happy to let them pick the music they liked or to charge their phones if they needed it.

I don't see why this would be considered rude.

If you're concerned that you need to be chatting with the driver, I don't see that as a necessity. You are with someone else already, so the expectation would be that you're going to chat with your co-traveller. Even solo-travellers are often absorbed in their phones/computers and don't talk much.

If you're concerned that the noise may bother them - it is unlikely to be more noisy than music or talk radio or general talking volume, so I don't think this is an issue, either... particularly as you say "play it quietly in the back seat".

If you ask first and they agree, I say go for it.



Outside the box solution, share a pair of ear buds with your daughter. Then you can both listen to your book without bothering the driver. If you would prefer to be playing it rather than the earbuds asking the driver, but mentioning you have earbuds as a back would be hard to take amiss.

"My daughter and I are in the middle of an audiobook. I've got headphones if you would rather not hear it, but it would be more convenient for us to play it through the speakers if that is okay with you."


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