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Are Rideshares Different than Taxis? Should You Ride in the Front or the Back?

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Uber Lyft Ridesharing Front or Back
NOT me in the backseat. Photo by Kevin Jaako.

Uber Lyft Ridesharing Front or Back?

Ok so I know I have been asking a lot of questions of you lately, but I am a curious guy. Yesterday I landed in Detroit and decided to take a Lyft car from the airport to my hotel. I had a partial credit and the rental car option just didn’t make much sense.

Whenever possible I like to take public transportation but that isn’t always a good option. When all else fails and I need a ride, I think ridesharing is better and cheaper than taking a taxi. In a taxi when riding alone I think it is definitely traditional to sit in the back, but what about when ridesharing?

Ridesharing is Different?!?

I think when the concept of ridesharing was conceived and launched things were a bit different.  I do kind of see Uber as more of an upscale traditional company and to be honest I think front or back doesn’t make much of a difference there. Lyft on the other hand with their hipster vibe, has always seemed like a front seat type of company to me.

Uber Lyft Ridesharing Front or Back
From Lyft

In fact, Lyft was a front seat company. In 2014 in order to better compete with Uber, the company released a small guide telling riders it is ok not to fist bump your driver and it isn’t rude to ride in the back. The fact that they had to publish this proves that some sort of a divide exists between front seat and back seat riders.

Yesterday’s Ride

So lets fast forward to rewind to yesterday. My driver picked me up and I noticed he had the passenger seat all the way back. I got into the back rear side and he pulled the passenger seat up. Not a big deal, but I wonder what he thought about it. I wonder how many people sit in the front when riding alone versus the back?

For me, riding in the front of a car with a complete stranger is ackward. I know that isn’t the case for many/most of you, but that is how it is for me. On the other hand, I don’t want my driver to think I am a jerk simply because I don’t want to sit next to him. BUT I DON’T WANT TO SIT NEXT TO HIM. It isn’t personal.

Since ridesharing is becoming so popular, I know many of you have probably gone through the same exact thought process. Is it rude to ride in the back? Is it ever acceptable to ride directly behind the driver by yourself? (I don’t think so.) Should you ride in the front? Yes I know someone will inevitably come into the comments and tell me how stupid this is, but a simple Google search reveals this is actually a topic a lot of people wonder about.

The End of My Ride

So my ride yesterday ended well. The driver did eventually engage me in conversation and we had the inevitable Vegas is hot conversation. Then the Uber vs. Lyft conversation. Then I told him about my Columbia Uber experience and my lone illegal Uber Vegas ride. In other words we talked shop, which is something I have discovered these guys love to do whether I am in the front seat or the back.

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Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I wish people would stop using that term: “Rideshare” = unregulated taxi. The folks that provide my UberX or Lyft rides, whether professional or amateur, aren’t “sharing” anything – I’m paying them to take me from point A to point B, the same as I do for a taxi. In my small city, the max 5 minute ride to the airport is usually in the front seat for both taxis and Ubers (I think the Venn diagram would show a single circle). Elsewhere, I appreciate a friendly offer of conversation, but if, as usual, I want to get work done, I’m going to insist on sitting in the back where I can get a bit more privacy and fewer distractions.

  2. I drive for Lyft, and personally I never think twice about whether a person sits in front or back. Whatever their preference, it’s just fine with me, and doesn’t affect my perception of them. The only difference, I would say, is that if a person sits in the back, I’m a little more conscious of how much they want to engage during their ride. I generally assume that if someone sits up front, they’re okay with me trying to keep them engaged in conversation. When a person hops in back, I try to be a bit more aware of their disposition, how they respond to a couple of questions, whether they’re focused on their phone, etc. But in no way does it make me think they’re a jerk or anti-social. Sometimes, you just want a ride and not a conversation. And that’s a-ok with me! It’s my job to figure out how to give each passenger the best Lyft experience for them.

  3. I absolutely prefer sitting in the back diagonally from the driver when traveling alone. I’m sure some drivers do take it to heart a bit just as much as other drivers probably prefer you didn’t sit in front.

    A friend of mine drives for Uber part-time in Denver and is a complete introvert. He will keep a conversation going if one comes up (need to keep that rating!), but it’s much more comfortable for him to talk to someone in the back seat. I’m sure he can’t be the only one.

  4. I’ve had those very same thoughts many times, yet like you I always sit in back. Yesterday evening I had an Uber first – the driver said, “hop in front”. I did, and it was fine but the back seat is absolutely my preference.

    • Oh man. I would have probably sat in the front, but that is a sure sign that they want to talk. I often talk to the driver, but sometimes we never “hit it off” and then things go quiet. It is much better not to be in the front when that happens. I’m glad that I have never had a driver insist I ride in the front.


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