I’ve recently started using Uber for transportation when traveling and wanted to share some of my impressions.
Every ride I’ve taken so far has been faster and easier to obtain, cheaper and more convenient to pay for, and more pleasant than a taxi. I think one reason for the last observation is that the drivers I’ve had feel like they’re working for themselves and not for somebody else. The ability to choose your own hours and be your own boss is worth a tremendous amount to most of us.
I had a particularly interesting conversation with an African-American driver named June who took me to the Dulles Airport last week ($38 from downtown DC). June told me that she had a regular full-time job Monday to Friday 9:30 to 5:30 and worked as a driver for Uber before going to work in the morning to earn some extra money. She was quite the Uber evangelist, telling me it was the greatest part-time job. She said she’d talked dozens of people she knew into becoming drivers as well.
June told me about an incident when she was parked near the airport and a conventional taxi driver came up to her and reproached her for taking food off of his family’s table. He picked the wrong Uber driver to have this argument with. June responded that she was born in America (the taxi driver was an immigrant), that she had lived here all her life, and that she had every right to earn a living and make herself better off. Who was he to tell her she couldn’t do that?
I asked her what she was doing with the money she was working so hard to get. She told me she had a dream of starting her own transportation services company. She sees a real need for better ways for people with disabilities get around, and hopes that the company she’s going to start can help fill that need.
More power to her.