I think I have the worst luck when I book a ride through Ola or Uber. I somehow always end up with a driver who needs to take a pee break DURING the ride. I think I got 4 rides on my last 10 where the driver asks me if he can stop for a minute so he can empty his bladder. What can you even do in such a situation? I can’t deny because that would be inhuman and at the same time I am still being billed. And if this awkward situation wasn’t enough, this always happens when you need to be somewhere urgently or whenever you are in a hurry.
Today I was headed to Mulund in the morning and the ride was fantastic till I was about 2 lanes away from my destination. The driver pulls over near a public toilet and asks me if he can be excused. As if I have a choice. In my head I was telling him we are TWO LANES away, just drop me and empty your bowels while in reality I just said “oh ok”.
I get it. You gotta go when you gotta go. Its an unstoppable force. You’d drop everything and go too. Holding it in can cause a lot of problems and its never a good thing to hold it in for too long and too frequently. I think drivers of all kinds have trained themselves to have a holding tank instead of bladders. When your job is to drive all day, you’d maximise your time too. Pee breaks during a cab ride make more sense as a driver than while waiting to accept a ride because what if a ride pops up on your console and you are busy in the bathroom? That’s money down the drain!
But as a consumer its also fair to expect your driver to be fully prepared for a trip which includes emptying your bowels before a ride. Its only fair. You can’t blame nature for this all the time. Pee breaks during a ride should be an exception not the norm. And if you have repeated experiences like me you would eventually end up denying a driver a break during a ride because you are in a hurry and because you’ve had similar stoppages for no fault of yours too often in the past and have had enough of this. It starts to feel like a Modus Operandi of the drivers to bill you for their problem.
This isn’t an Indian problem. This is something that happens everywhere. I came across this article on drivers and bathroom breaks in the US on The Ringer. Its pretty startling as a non-American to read about pee-bottles and such other techniques drivers resort to to not waste time. As a passenger it grosses me out even more. This thread on uberpeople.net which is a forum for all sorts of drivers highlights the driver side of the problems and hacks some drivers use in such situations. Both highlight the human side of this problem which makes you wonder what would YOU do if you were in their place?
Whatever way you look at it, I think the best possible way is to just let them go. It is inhuman and impossible to judge a person who needs to go in such a situation. You have to give them the benefit of the doubt. At the same time, be wary of where they are stopping, especially at night time. If you are alone, you can always deny or tell them to stop over at the nearest fuel station or a restaurant where you would not be alone and maybe take a break yourself too.