Congratulations to the citizens of Minot, North Dakota: According to Lyft’s data, your city (population 48,000) has the best-rated drivers in the whole country.
The map below plots cities by the percentage of rides that receive a five-star rating. While five-star rides are very common, in Minot (pronounced my-not), it’s almost impossible not to get one. More than 99.3% of rides there received a top rating.
Minot is the fourth most populous city in North Dakota, located one hour from the Canadian border. Its largest employer is the Minot Air Force Base, just north of the city, and some of its main attractions are the Roosevelt Park Zoo and the Scandinavian Heritage Park. Minot has harsh winters (averaging below 10 degrees in January). It is also the birthplace of rapper Wiz Khalifa.
Rev called up Jim Rice, the top-rated driver in all of Minot, to find out what makes its Lyft drivers so outstanding. Jim told Rev that he sees his work as less of a job and more of a passion: He helps people get around, whether after the bar or in a snowstorm — plus, he has great conversations. His theory for the high ratings comes down to the small-town vibes: In Minot, everyone looks out for one another.
Rev: So Jim, tell us about Minot.
Jim: It’s a city, but it feels like a small town. Everyone knows you. I’ve been a driver since 2021, so I often pick up the same people. They’ll tell me the gossip, what’s going on with them. When they see me out, and I haven’t been driving for a while, they go, “Hey, Jim! Where have you been? We miss you. Get back out there.”
I am friends with a bunch of the bartenders too. They’ll call me up at the end of their shift (near to closing time) and ask, “You working tonight?” I’ll drive over there, so when their patrons request a ride, my app will pick them up. Sometimes I’ll get the town cops on their days off. Or even a bar owner. That’s a best-case scenario. They tip really well.
It’s a good community; people watch out for each other. There’s a lady who has the late shift alone at one of the bars, and I’ll drive by most nights, just to make sure she’s OK. She’ll send last-call customers to me, too, so that doesn’t hurt.
Well, the data does say you are the top-rated driver! Any inkling why?
You know, I just do the basic things. If I’m picking up someone from Target, Walmart, or the mall, I’ll get out to help with groceries or something. Same thing with airport pickups and luggage. You’d be surprised about how appreciative people are.
I also know the area. I don’t get lost, and I can give people recommendations on bars and restaurants. “Hey, that place is dead. You should go over here.” That sort of thing.
Plus, North Dakota winters aren’t the greatest, and a lot of cars cannot handle it. I drive a big, black 2019 GMC Sierra AT4 truck, full bench in the back. Center console. Heated and AC. Leather seats. I’ll often be the only one on the road. When people really need to go somewhere, they’ve got me and the truck.
And I clean my truck daily. Part of my routine. I wake up around noon, go to the car wash. I have an unlimited wash subscription, so it comes with free detailing cloths and vacuums. It might be OCD, but I just can’t stand it when there’s anything on my dash or windshield.
OK, last question: What do you do in your free time?
I play pool league games out of most of the bars. That’s fun. People know me. And then, sooner or later, I’ll be giving them a ride home.