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Hi, everyone. Paul from Long Island here - intro

Discussion in 'People' started by LetteJockey, Nov 20, 2016.

  1. I just joined this forum a few minutes ago, because I need more info about Uber(requirements and whatnot) that Uber's site does not provide. I realize I can sign-up as a driver and create an account to get more info, but am not ready to give Uber my name and phone # at this time, without doing more research and, hopefully, drawing on the knowledge of the UberPeople here :)

    IMO, Uber's website is a "work-in-progress"(to put it kindly) and really needs to be overhauled.

    Anyways, back to the intro. I actually got my feet wet in the taxi business out here on Long Island back in the Bad Old Days of what I call The Jimmy Carter Recession, back in the 70s, during the Arab oil embargo. That's when an ad for a single, minimum-wage dishwasher position in a restaurant would have 200 people show up to apply for it. Oh, and gas lines and odd-and-even plate# gas rationing. Fun times! I had lost my nearly middle-class-paying job at a factory at the age of 19, and decided to try cab-driving as an interim cash-generator. I did that for about a year(being promoted to dispatcher about 10 months in. I got offered a less stressful and much more local job at a pizza place, and worked there about a year before being offered to be re-hired at the factory
    where I previously worked.

    After several years at the factory, the place got sold to some big conglomerate, and the BS level increased to the point of being intolerable. I decided to resign, and put in my 2 weeks notice. I had made fast friends with the day-dispatcher at the aforementioned cab company where I used to work and visited him regularly during the years I had gone back to work at the factory. He, too was now out of work, and had a mortgage to pay, as well as a wife and 2 kids. I had sold my (old, wooden)38' cabin cruiser I had kept docked in the Hamptons for the previous 4 years, and proposed the idea of starting up our own cab company to my friend, who didn't need more than 5 minutes to think about it.

    I'm going to spare everyone the details, but suffice it to say, we started it with about $3k, a `67 Plymouth Belvedere, a `72 Dodge Dart, and 3 inexpensive business-band FM radios we got mail order from a place in Kansas(they even handled getting us the license from the FCC). We started operating (illegally, zoning-wise;))
    out of his house, with his wife dispatching and the 2 of us doing most of the driving. After 3 years of 80-90 hour workweeks, we had our own legal business address with shop and office suite, we were up to 10 cabs, a 12 pass van, and a Cadillac limo. We were grossing about $250k a year at our peak. So, what happened? Well, my partner convinced me that we should become a Medicaid provider, which we eventually did, but in our/my experience NY State doesn't pay it's bills on time, nor in full, and our cash-flow started to suffer. Badly. At it's peak, about 4-4 1/2 years in, Medicaid owed us about $50k - not a huge amount for some companies, but for 2 guys with shallow pockets, it was a fortune. The rent had to be paid, the insurance had to be paid, the drivers had to be paid, our account with the auto parts store had to be paid - you get the picture. In the last 9 months I was there, I couldn't draw a dime in salary. I finally told my partner "If you wanna keep beating your head against the wall, knock yourself out, but I'm outta here!" I went to work for a competitor(Lindys) as a driver, and my ex-partner wound up losing the business and both his homes. He, too, eventually went to work for Lindy's as a driver.

    I stayed with Lindy's for 10 years, then got into the ambulette-driving world on a fluke, via a Craigslist ad I posted. If I told you HOW, you wouldn't believe it. The economy had improved quite a bit at that time, so
    I got myself a pretty sweet adult daycare-route gig with NO CDL, NO Article 19A, NO DOT medical, NO TLC, NO drug tests, NO background check - just a rudimentary license-check. And NO training - not even a 5-minute crash-course in how to fasten-down a wheelchair. Needless to say, the first week was a rather interesting trial-by-fire for me, but I had it down pat by the end of the first week.

    12 years and 2 companies later, I'm still driving ambulette. But here's where my interest in Uber comes in:
    I'm not getting any younger, and pushing 500lb fatties up non-ADA-compliant ramps is taking it's toll on my long-suffering lower back(and it's 3 herniated disks). My DOT medical expires next Summer, and I have doubts about being able to pass the next one on a number of levels. In short, I think my physical and legal ability to drive ambulette days are numbered, hence my interest in Uber.

    (Sorry for prattling on so long - just wanted everyone here to know where I was coming from)
  2. UberChicago80

    UberChicago80 Active Member

    Thanks. No please return to where you came from. 1000 words and you never even mentioned your aux cord. Shameful!

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