As I was booking our hotel for New Years' Eve, it occurred to me what I was doing a year ago that night. I was anxiously tracking my husband's fares making sure he was safe and later that evening, actually at 3am, I was cleaning up puke out of the backseat of our car. Not exactly a romantic NYE, but it was necessary for our survival at the time.
Some here will remember me from that time and the struggles we faced while my husband was still battling stage 3 esophageal cancer and we had sold everything of value to keep a roof over ours and our children's heads and food on the table.
Today, I was shopping for charms for my daughter's bracelet as a Christmas present from the same store that I had to sell my own bracelet from to keep the water on for another month.
Everything seems very surreal right now. My husband has been cancer free for 18 months, but not without consequence as his body adjusts to his new anatomy. There have been other devastating blows this year, but for the last couple of months, we have been OK, great actually.
We're more financially stable than we've been since his diagnosis. We're busy as hell, but it beats being broke and bored. My own biopsies came back negative, our 3 kids that are still at home are in all AP classes and doing well, if I run out of detergent I don't have to worry about how I'm going to pay for it. I was able to order a yearbook without needing to ask someone else to pay for it. My husband has a standard follow-up CT scan tomorrow and while we're both facing it with a little trepidation, since every scan and test for the last 18 months has been clear, it's hard to really stress out about it despite the stats.
So, given that I no longer drive for Uber and no longer have any first hand knowledge of the way it's working in SA currently, why am I posting a blog?
Simply because I recalled the events that led us here and the people and support I found here. We've come a long way and while I'm sure that Uber is still greatly flawed as it was then, without it, we wouldn't have made it. Beyond that, I wouldn't have made it without the support of many on this forum. I'm still in touch with some and expect to remain in touch indefinitely.
When Uber left SA in April, I honestly didn't miss driving. I was burned out and so was my husband. Some people are better suited to it than others. When it returned, we had no desire to start driving again and didn't even explore the new constricts.
Driving for Uber showed me the best and the worst in humanity. I had a couple give me a $200 tip after the conversation turned from her breast cancer battle to my husband's own battle and then I had drunk college students scaling fences and leaving trash in my car (not to mention the puke incident) as well as being hit on and people passing out in the car. I drove a few famous people who gave famous people everywhere a bad name and I drove virtual nobody's who restored my faith in the human race.
A small part of me is waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop while the rest of me feels like we've finally come out the other side. I'm scared to get too comfortable with this new state of affairs, but at the same time I want to embrace this time and our future and be optimistic. I truly feel blessed from the experience and the people that I met in person and here on the forum and I pray that those still driving stay safe and profit from the experience in every way possible.
Uber has turned Cyber Bullying into an art. Why do I refer to it as “Cyber” bullying? Because as everyone knows, Uber is a “technology” company and not a transportation company so everything they do is cyber.
Uber has bullied its way into every market and few have been able to stand up to its complete disregard for public safety due to the mob mentality of its customer base. Mindless masses who are convinced, without logic, that Uber is safer than a taxi. This misconception is prevalent and yet completely unfounded.
Gaps in insurance, drivers with criminal backgrounds that slip through the cracks, accidents due to negligence. These are par for the course for Uber, but still the public at large remains convinced that Uber is the safer and more prestigious option, even at pennies a mile. Why? What is causing normally rationally thinking, educated people to think that Uber is the premier choice?
Some might think it's marketing, pure and simple. Uber isn't the best option, they just have the best marketing and they're marketing team is able to spin the worst of driver offenses into a positive for the company. But, marketing alone could not have had this irrational effect on the masses; the real culprit is the base desire that the general public has to be more than what they are. To be famous, to be rich, to have a chauffeur, to be able to push a button and have a genie appear to take them where they want to go.
This truly is the driving force behind Uber, the wannabes. The have nots who want to be the haves. They're living paycheck to paycheck, but they don't have to rely on the bus anymore because they can get an UberX for the same price or less and be able to sleep in. For these people, it doesn't matter how unsafe the driver is or how large the insurance gap; they would rather take their chances and be able to sit in the back seat of a car than go to the back of the bus.
On the flip side is the haves who don't have quite as much as they would like. They have plenty of money, but not quite enough to hire a full-time chauffeur so Uber is the next best thing. The last thing they are going to do is risk a dent in their Beemer. They'd much rather pile into the back of an Uber car with their roadies and brag to each other about how rich they are while paying X rates and not even contemplating a tip.
The few cities or countries who have stood up to Uber, have encountered a huge constituent backlash. They don't want safe, they want catered convenience. It's the schoolyard brawl where all the kids are cheering for the loud mouth popular kid and throwing sand at the quiet teacher's pet. It's the petulant teen and the wisened parent and it's frankly embarrassing for anyone with half a brain.
The more Uber expands and the more trips taken, the greater the risk for accidents and mishaps. However, none of this will impact Uber in a tangible way. In an on demand society with an entitlement mentality, Uber is right at home.
By the time you read this, I will no longer be an Uber driver. I know there are some here in San Antonio who will continue to drive, both legally in the municipalities and illegally in the city proper, but the risk for me far outweighs any benefit so I'm bidding a somewhat fond farewell to the TNC industry.
I do want to share some of the key things I learned from this forum and from actually driving because all of it is just theoretical until you experience it for yourself.
Don't quit your day job – Unless you are willing to give up having a life, Uber is not going to bring in enough in most markets to pay the bills for most people. It can be a great way to pay off bills, pad your savings account or save up for a vacation.
Don't buy a car just to Uber – If you don't already have a car that will qualify and be profitable, don't get deeper into debt just so you can drive. The market is continually in flux with fare cuts and Uber being kicked out of cities. It isn't income you can count on on a long-term basis.
Do the math – Since rates, gas prices and MPG vary so widely, you're going to have to do your own math ahead of time to determine if Uber will be profitable for you. Very few scenarios work out with X being profitable, but it isn't impossible. There is a higher margin for profit on Select (Lux) or XL. There are other platforms that vary by region so look into all the ones that your current car will qualify for and then run the numbers. Don't forget to include the cost of wear and tear on your vehicle in your figures.
Be aware of the risks – There is a huge gap issue with Uber's insurance. Know what your risks are before you accept that first ping. Some areas have insurance you can get yourself for ride-sharing which should also be figured into your costs. Aside from the insurance gap, there are other risks involved such as having unaccompanied minors as pax, intoxicated and out of control pax, pax who ask you to do questionable things. Driving only during the day helps eliminate many of these, but you really never know what you're going to encounter so be prepared.
Ratings reality check– Ratings matter and then again they don't. So few pax understand the rating system and they can't see their own rating so many don't even know you can rate them. Uber looks at your rating and people have been deactivated after they hit a certain point, but that, too seems to vary by region. Some drivers have become so jaded that they give all pax a 1 if they don't tip and only give 5s to those who do. Since the pax can't see their rating, I'm not sure it matters to them, but it does to drivers. Rating appropriately is important. Don't 1 star someone just because they didn't give you a tip, but don't 5 star everyone either. The pax ratings should be used to help drivers so they know what they might encounter, but it's been abused so much that good pax are being ignored due to a low rating that they don't even know about.
Gaming the Guarantees – Driver beware. They keep changing the game and they are wising up to the drivers who do this. If you can't make money without gaming the guarantees, it's time to start looking for something else.
Pick the Cherries – If you're in a market where the X base fare is not profitable, wait for surge fares. It may take some time to know where they occur most commonly and you can expect your rating to reflect the surge rate, but even a 1.5 surge can make a fare profitable if you're close to the pick up. If you can drive other platforms (XL, Select, etc), but are still required to get X pings, ignore the X pings and wait for the higher platform (unless they are surge which translates into more money in your pocket due to the lower percentage cut for Uber).
Chasing the Surge – Let me make this as simple as possible. Do not, under any circumstances, chase a surge, period, end of discussion.
Make the most of your rider network – Most drivers have other things they do or are trying to get going. Vistaprint delivers cheap, high quality business cards. Keep them with you at all times so the next time you have a pax who needs a service you provide, you won't have to face palm yourself for not having business cards.
Quit while you're ahead – If rate decreases or just the annoyances of pax in general start to make logging onto the app a chore, then stop. Step away from the app, uninstall it if need be. Your sanity is worth more than a $4 base fare any day of the week.
Uber can be profitable in some scenarios so, if you can make ubering work for you, then by all means, uber on, but if you find yourself deeper in debt or netting a loss, then it's time to follow in the footsteps of those before you and uber off.
A recent post from a driver who was asked to drive two 14 year old girls to the movies by a mother and then stay with them during the movie before bringing them home may seem extreme, but after doing some digging, it seems to actually be the new norm.
There seems to be an across the board perception by pax that Uber drivers are safer than cab drivers. I have no clue where this misconception originated, especially given the media coverage as of late, but believe me, it's there. I've had numerous pax tell me they feel safer with an Uber driver. I'm not saying one is safer over the other, but rather there really isn't that great of a difference either way and the more intense background checks done for cab drivers coupled with the other requirements would make cab drivers logically safer overall. The vast difference in the vetting would question that logic, but it's there just the same.
Teens and even a few pre-teens are using their parents' accounts to request rides, mostly with parental permission. Parents are requesting rides for their children while they aren't even in the country. Sound outlandish? Then you haven't been driving for Uber long enough.
My husband recently had a pickup request at the mall. The pax told him he was in front of Dillards. He drove past all 3 entrances and didn't see anyone. He called the pax and was told he had requested the ride for his son and he was in, wait for it, Germany. He was going to tell his son to go outside right away. Yes, you read that correctly. The father was physically in Germany and had requested an Uber for his teenage son and his girlfriend here in San Antonio.
As we were discussing this trend and he said he doesn't mind giving kids a safe ride home and would hope someone would do the same for our kids if the need arose. I have a completely different take on all of this. Yes, I am happy to get children home safely, but I don't agree that sticking them in a car with a stranger is the way to do it. The only way I would let my children come home in an Uber or a taxi, for that matter, would be in case of an emergency where we couldn't get to them ourselves and no family or friends were available.
Perhaps I'm being over-protective, but generally speaking, it's not my parenting style. They surf the net without parental controls, walk to the park alone and stay there after dark. They ride their bikes around the neighborhood, spend the night with their friends, we rarely say no to them because they are good kids who know the rules, follow them (most of the time) and we trust them enough to make good choices while understanding that making bad choices and suffering the consequences is part of growing up. Our family TV shows are Walking Dead and Better Call Saul so strict and over-protective aren't really in our parenting description.
Now before you race to call CPS, you should know they are all 14 and older, we keep the 15 year old's laptop during the school week because he has Aspergers and will end up glued to Minecraft until 4am otherwise. We took away our 14 year old daughter's Kindle because we had been asking her to clean her room for 10 days without much progress. I get a notification every time a grade drops below 85 and I don't hesitate to email a teacher when something is missing. We have a weekly chore chart that everyone participates in so we aren't just sitting around letting them do whatever they want, we just don't believe in helicopter parenting.
So, with that all cleared up, let's get back to the crux of the matter. Is putting your kid in an Uber car really safe and what are the liabilities for the driver? Uber and Lyft are both clear on unaccompanied minors, but the pax's parental units don't seem to care. We all know kids who are wise and manipulative beyond their years. What if a damaged 15 year old decides to accuse a driver of rape? What if the driver has an accident? What if it's a really bad accident? The fact that the parent put that child in the car or authorized it will be moot. That parent will be demanding the driver's head on a spike.
What is a driver to do? Do you take the risk or do you politely decline? In the immortal words of Keanu Reeves, “What do you do? What do you do?”
The transportation industry as a whole is male dominated. I'm sure there are many factors that have driven that over the years, but now that Uber has partnered with UN Women in an effort “to work together around the world toward a shared vision of equality and women’s empowerment,” I find myself wondering about the gender gap.
Letting strangers into your car is always risky; no one can argue that fact. The majority of the time, there are no issues, but there are many cases of robbery, rape, murder. There are also the more benign cases of harassment or general awkwardness. As a woman, all these risks are magnified; on both sides of the proverbial glass.
Women drivers are more likely to have unwanted advances that can quickly turn into stalking or an actual attack. Right or wrong, women are seen as weaker and a man is more likely to take advantage of a woman than a woman is to take advantage of a man. There is also the flip side of that wherein a female passenger is more likely to be taken advantage of by a male driver than a male passenger by a female driver.
I would be remiss in my evaluation if I didn't point out the one advantage that women seem to have over men (and it pretty much applies to the entire service industry) and that is tipping. Women tend to be tipped more than men; not just in frequency of occurrence, but also in the amount of the tip. That can go the other way with a female customer, but let's face it, it rarely does.
I had a couple of young ladies (17 & 18) a few weeks ago during the local rodeo who told me they had spent 20 minutes trying to find a female driver. They didn't feel safe with a male one. Now, I will admit that this is not the norm, but it does beg the question, how safe do female passengers feel with a male driver?
I've had several people comment on the rarity of getting a female driver and inquire how I feel about it from a safety aspect. For the most part, passengers just want to get from point A to point B and they don't really care who gets them there, but there are always bad apples and they tend to be magnified by the presence of alcohol.
When my husband and I first started driving, we only had one car so I did days and he did nights. When we were able to get a second car, we decided to test the waters of me driving during the witching hours. It only took a couple of nights for us to jump back to shore.
My car could seat 6 passengers which meant 6 drunk people versus me. The first time it happened was fairly innocuous. A group of college students leaving a bar downtown at closing time. It was a long fare back to their college with one of them regaling me with all of his conspiracy theories regarding Game of Thrones very loudly and without much logic. Another time, it was 6 older guys going downtown late at night. They were buzzed, but quiet and tame.
Later that evening, it only took 3 halfwit hooligans to end my late night driving career. I pulled up to a huge mansion in a high end area of town and watched in disbelief as 3 guys tried to figure out how to get out of the gate. One climbed over, braving the spearheads at the top while the other two tried to figure out the code for the driveway. They weren't escaping from any nefarious behavior, but rather from the girls in the house. In retrospect, I should have canceled and gotten the hell outta Dodge, but I found it quite comical and I was honestly naive.
They finally make it out of Alcatraz and climb in. Two in the backseat and one in the front. They aren't going far, but they are beyond fubared. They keep telling me how much they love me and want to marry me. They're rolling down the windows, changing the radio station and blasting it to the point that I'm expecting the speakers to blow at any time. I finally got them to their destination and out of my car and quickly logged off.
On the drive home, I started thinking about these 3 trips and how things would play out in a trifecta situation. If I had 6 all male passengers, a long trip and they were all drunk and rowdy. I know there are female drivers that hold their own with the drunk and disorderly or brave the rougher neighborhoods, but I also know others like me who have opted out. It wouldn't take much to overpower me; I can't throw a punch to save my life, but I can hurl some gnarly insults that will make you cry for your mama.
Will women ever be viewed the same way as men and should they? I'm not saying that all women are weak and helpless anymore than I'm saying that all men are strong predators, but the fact remains that a man alone with a woman rarely fears for his safety. The service industry isn't the only one with gender bias, but it does seem to have the greatest disparity. Equality in the workplace and in society in general is admirable and is definitely something we should all work towards, but is it really possible in every industry?
As San Antonio faces the reality of Uber and Lyft pulling out due to recently approved ordinances, I began to think about life before Uber and whether or not Uber has become so embedded in our culture now that we can't imagine life without it.
Remember life before cell phones? Not many can and those that do, still can't live without theirs now. My mother-in-law is in her 80s and is never without hers. She will call my husband every 10-15 minutes until he answers and if he doesn't after 3-4 attempts, she calls me. The concept of leaving a voicemail never enters her mind because she wants to talk to him NOW. He does the exact same thing to her so it may just run in the family. How many people still have a landline? Governments now provide cell phones for free to those who can't afford one for “emergency purposes,” but they have unlimited texting. (Apparently, it's considered cruel and unusual punishment to not make unlimited texting available to everyone.)
Remember life before the Internet? Those who can will remember Encyclopedia Britanica, but woe be unto you if you didn't have the most current version and since it took forever to print the current version, a lot of that information was already outdated as well. Now, anything you want to know is just a Google search away. (Granted, you have to be smarter than a 5th grader in order to realize that not everything on the Internet is true, but the truth is out there.)
Technology has turned us into an entitled society expectant of instant gratification. Want to talk to someone, you can call them, text them, email them or message them on your choice of social media all from a little device that fits in your pocket. Want to see a movie, you can rent it (or in many cases watch it for free) on the same little device, your laptop or even on your big screen via the internet or your on demand cable service. Want Chinese, go online, place your order and voila, it's on your doorstep in 30 minutes or less. Need a new iron or diapers for the baby? Amazon can have it there in 24 hours or less and you never have to get out of your PJs (unless you opt for in-store pickup from anywhere other than Walmart.)
Uber has only been in San Antonio for 10 months, but I've had numerous passengers say they can't live without it. They use it for everything. What will those who have become so dependent on Uber do after April 1? The concept of getting a ride instantly appeals to our on demand culture and because we're so accustomed to getting what we want when we want it, it didn't take long for Uber to embed itself into our lives and become as necessary to some as smartphones and the internet.
Some question the future of Uber. Is there a ridesharing bubble that's about to burst? Will they continue to make rates so ridiculously low that no one will drive anymore? Will they be banned in enough cities and countries to drive them out of the marketplace? Perhaps, but I don't think Uber is going anywhere. Rather, I think it will evolve into something not unlike what we've seen in many sci-fi novels and films. Taxis driven by robots or themselves.
While that may take many years, the laws of supply and demand coupled with the willingness of people to work long hours for pennies will keep Uber in full swing until that glorious day when one will open the door of an Uber car to be greeted with “Hello I'm Johnnycab, where can I take you tonight? “
The majority of what you see on this site is all about how to make the most money out of Uber, usually at the expense of the passenger. However, I would like to posit a slightly radical approach to Ubering. One of using Uber to give back rather than take.
Regardless of your faith, generosity or stinginess is indicative of who you are at your core. We all rant about rich pax who don't tip and acknowledge those who are less wealthy who do show their appreciation monetarily, but when do we as drivers do our part? I realize it's difficult due to the majority of pax being self-entitled, obnoxious morons that treat us as slaves, but the reality is that there is a great opportunity to do good here if one is so inclined.
My first opportunity to pay it forward was picking up a newly graduated kid in the Air Force. He was coming back from visiting his family for the holidays. Due to a regulation on the distance he could travel in a day, he had to stop every 10 hours for the night. He couldn't afford a hotel room so he had been sleeping in his car. He had hit a pothole when he was almost back to the base and I was picking him up at a repair shop. He was thin and frozen and his nose wouldn't stop running. I helped him load all his stuff into the car and as soon as he started telling me about his drive, I ended the trip in the app.
I couldn't do anything about the $5 he was charged, but I was going to make sure he didn't have to pay anymore. I got him to the base and helped him unload everything to the sidewalk as being a civilian, I couldn't go any further. He was very thankful and it felt good to finally be able to help someone again after being dependent on the generosity of others for so long as my husband battles cancer.
One of the major beefs drivers have with Uber is the lack of a tip option, why? Because most people don't carry cash anymore. I'm among them. We live in a largely cashless society. That being said, the possibility, however remote, of a pax asking if I have change in order to tip me has resulted in me carrying cash.
A few weeks ago, I saw a gentleman in a wheelchair with no legs and a sign about him being a veteran. I know a lot of people don't want to give money to people on the corner because they don't know what they're going to do with it, but let's be honest. How many of you have gone home to a bottle of wine or scotch to deal with a bad day? Who are you to judge what this person does with what you give him in order to make it through the day? I was able to give him $5 that I had on hand for tip change. It made me feel like I was making someone's day a little brighter and that I was on the giving end rather than the needy end.
Flash forward a few weeks and I'm in a local grocery store taking a pee break and grabbing something to drink. A gentleman in line in front of me is having issues with his food stamp card. It's new to him and he's older so the technology needed to activate it is new to him as well. Having been on food stamps for the last year, I know it all too well. I tell him the number he needs to call to get it activated and he tries, but it just isn't working for him on his flip phone. At this point, I have a choice, let him figure it out on his own or fully commit and help him get it going.
I chose to go all in. I dialed the number from my smartphone, keyed in his food stamp card number, asked him what he wanted his PIN to be and get it all set up. I also waited while he did his first transaction with it for 2 pints of strawberries. He told the cashier he had found a genie. I shook his hand and said, “God bless you,” and went on my merry way.
As I was pulling out of the parking lot, I saw a man running across the middle of the street. He started dropping things as he was running and then I saw the people running after him. Turns out those things were actually packages of hot dogs. He was homeless and hungry and had stolen two packs of hot dogs. I saw the side street he ran down and followed him.
I caught up to him slowly so as not to scare him and rolled my window down. I told him I had seen what had happened and gave him the only cash I had, $6, and told him to go buy some food. He asked for a ride, but I wasn't that brave. It made me much more thankful. Sure, things are hard right now, but I'm not having to steal hot dogs to keep from starving. Really puts things in perspective when you can focus on your blessings and realize there are many that are much less fortunate.
Since then, there haven't been any other glaring opportunities to pay it forward, but I did get a chance to give a Lyft ride to a couple of blind women and their service dog which was a unique experience and I know how many drivers feel about dogs in their cars. He was very well behaved and rested his chin on the console so he could smell my fur babies on my sleeve. I had to work a little harder than usual in order to pick them up because they didn't know for sure which corner they were on until they asked someone, but I stayed on the phone with them until they figured it out and I could see them. Many of the drivers I've seen post here would have canceled as a no-show, collected their $6 and left them waiting in the cold rain for another driver who very well could have done the same thing.
Some go out of their way hoping to receive a tip for their “above and beyond” service. What if we did the same thing for those who can barely afford the Uber fare or those we encounter as we stop for a break? We rant about pax treating us like their personal servants or not valuing our time, but aren't we just as guilty of this? If we're counting down the minutes to hit the cancel button or accepting pings and then not intending to pick them up, how are we any better? This may all seem like I'm tooting my own horn and I was reticent to post because of this very fact, but I'm hoping that this will serve as a reminder to other drivers to view passengers not as “pax”, but as people, just like us.
When my husband first discovered Uber, we only had one car and it wasn't even ours (it was his parents') so he signed up to drive. He was driving weekend nights and tried out a few other times. After a couple of weeks, we decided to do split shifts so I signed up as well taking advantage of the driver referral bonus. I drove days, he drove nights; we didn't see a whole lot of each other, but digging your way out of a cancer battle takes all hands on deck.
My husband has been self-employed for 35 years and I've been a stay-at-home mom for 16. That coupled with his continuing cancer battle makes traditional jobs unworkable for us. We're working on getting our real estate business going again after being out of the state for a year as well as getting a couple of restaurants open with his parents so we aren't idle, just in transition.
Thanks to our tax refund, we were able to get 2 cars of our own a few weeks ago. With four children still at home, we needed something that would fit all of us. We stumbled on a Mercedes GL450 that would do that and allow me to drive for XL and Select. About a week later, we came across a BMW 7 series that was a year older than the one his parents had been letting us use, but low miles. This would allow him to continue to drive for Select.
Now, before everyone raises a stink about buying a car to Uber in, that was not the deciding factor in either of these purchases. Two nasty divorces and almost a year fighting cancer has destroyed our credit. We tried several main stream dealerships in town and were denied each time. We were finally able to get financing through two smaller dealerships and one loan was even a prime rate. Each car was the same price as what we were looking at as they are both 2010, but one owners with low miles and clean Carfax. Basically, these are cars we would have bought anyway, but they are also allowing us to drive the more profitable Uber platforms.
Being out on the road at the same time has changed the dynamic greatly and made for some interesting encounters. The plan was to drive for a bit, then meet up for lunch or dinner for a break and then drive some more. Logging out at the same time has proven more challenging than originally planned because you never know where a trip will take you so one of us has been left hungrily waiting more than once. We've had numerous missed connections trying to eek out a Starbucks run. Logging back in leads to wagers on who will get the first ping.
The bluetooth in our cars make it easy to chat while we're heading to pick up a pax or waiting for a ping. Honestly, we're mostly venting about the last pax or traffic, which is frankly cathartic and helps keep smiles on our faces for the next rider.
One of the hardest parts for us splitting shifts was all the time apart. Two years ago, we were working from home and homeschooling. A move across 5 states changed the landscape with the kids in public school and him out giving shooting lessons. It was great until the cancer came a knocking. Battling a cancer with a 17% survivability rate causes one to reevaluate priorities. Not knowing how much time you have makes you want to spend as much of it as possible with those you care about.
After driving a couple of weekend nights, we've decided that it's just not safe for me. We sort of had it in our heads that since he would be out at the same time, it would be better, but the fact is that he could be 20 miles away from me since San Antonio is so spread out and driving XL means up to 6 drunk guys in the car at once. Let's face it, I wouldn't stand a chance.
Uber isn't perfect and it's harder in some markets than in others, but since this has always been a temporary gig for us, we're trying to make the most of it and make it as fun as possible. So, until we're able to say goodbye to Uber as drivers forever, we'll do days and early evenings together and he'll take on the late night crowd while I sip wine and troll UP.
I first started driving for Uber a few weeks after my husband. I applied to Lyft soon after hoping to maximize my earnings. Uber definitely has the larger presence here, but Lyft has higher rates and the tip option on the app.
It took a few weeks for the weather and circumstances to allow me to fulfill my Lyft mentor ride, but I was approved and started the juggling act. When I first started, things were slow so it was easy to stay logged into both until I received the coveted “ping” and then log out of the other until the fare was completed.
Enter Uber's rate cuts and the guarantee requirements. The lack of Lyft fares drove me to focus more on meeting the Uber requirements which meant not logging out of Uber. This was manageable until things got busy, then it was chaos in motion. I soon realized that when things were busy, I had to choose and Uber's guarantees coupled with their larger rider base won.
Until the day when my Uber and Lyft worlds collided into the fail of all fails. I was on an Uber call, pax on board and had forgotten to log out of Lyft. Lyft had updated the app to verbally notify you of an incoming ride request along with the “ping”. Having pax in the car, I wanted to make it stop as quickly as possible and in so doing, accidentally accepted the fare. The Lyft rider was close and I was close to dropping off the Uber pax so I thought that I had lucked out.
Crackhead Sally (known to most as GPS) had routed me the wrong way because the pax had (big surprise) not entered the correct drop off location. I had just gotten the correct coordinates entered into Sally and was turning on to the next street when the Lyft app loudly informed me that I was approaching my Lyft rider.
I see him and he sees me. Doomed ships passing in the night. He steps off the sidewalk as he recognizes the car that Lyft has been so kind to show him a picture of along with a picture of me, the driver, behind the wheel. I have 3 Uber passengers in the car and have no choice but to keep on going and feign ignorance, leaving him alone and confused (and probably uber pissed).
Seriously, what are the odds? What sort of cruel cosmic joke is this? I'm literally 1 minute away from dropping off the Uber pax, but the new route takes me right past the Lyft pax. There is now zero chance of me being able to pick him up and maintain any semblance of dignity. The cancellation notice arrived just as I was dropping off the Uber pax and the hand that had failed me earlier in the botched attempt to silence the Lyft app, did not fail me this time when I clicked on the tiny pink steering wheel of calamity thereby severing me from the poor stranded soul and any others who might be on the lookout for a pink moustache to guide them home.
I realize that this confession makes me look like a colossal moron, but most of my worthwhile stories feature me as the moron. That being said, there is a lesson to be learned here: be careful of morons disguised as Lyft drivers and Uber on.
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