How many of us use Uber more than once a week? I bet a lot of you are saying yes…
Whether it’s because TTC is a far cry from how we want to travel throughout the city, cabs are too expensive, or we’re just plain lazy, Uber has become a staple mode of transit for many. We set our pickup location, hop in, and buckle up without any qualms, but is Uber really that safe? We’ve all heard the stories… “Uber Driver Charged with Sexual Assualt,” “Uber Driver Gives Toronto Women Ride to Remember.” There’s no shortage of negative headlines, the only problem being that all those stories, while true and sometimes terrible, are one-sided.
The majority of Uber drivers we’ve had in our experience have been normal human beings. Someone with a life, bills to pay, and the same struggles of living in an expensive city. Creepy and perverted drivers waiting behind tinted windows for their next victim are few and far in between. And once we humanize our Uber drivers, it begins to manifest some serious questions.
While we may only see an Uber driver a couple times a week, a driver meets-and-greets a handful of passengers in one shift. And when you think about all the odd times you’ve taken Uber (a lot of those times probably drunk), that right there makes for an interesting mix. It makes us wonder about all the things most drivers see on a regular basis. What it’s like being behind the steering wheel and not in the back seat?
Take a look at the confessions of an Uber driver in Toronto below.
How and why did you become an Uber driver?
It was a 6 month stop gap for me while I figured out my next career move. I secretly signed up thinking I could try it on for size and if it totally sucked I just wouldn’t do it and not have to tell anyone. It turned out to be extremely entertaining! And I have stories now for days…
Is the process to become an Uber driver easy?
So easy! Start to finish the process took me 3 days and I was on the road. A girlfriend of mine desperately needed some fast income and I was able to talk her into driving for Uber. She had to get a newer car first, which she did immediately and was up, running and paying the bills within 2 weeks.
Roughly how much money can you make as an Uber driver?
You can make $25-40 per hour if you’re strategic about when you drive, but only if you’re willing to completely sacrifice your social life. Morning and afternoon rush hours during the week, and dinner and club hours on the weekend are the busiest. If one is planning to drive full time from 7 am to 6 pm, they will make most of their money during the rush hours and pennies in between, but they can always count on $20 per hour. Weekends are always great, especially in the early mornings. There are so many people that work in retail or partied ’til the sun came up. And let’s be honest, you can never say exactly what time you’ll be done because just when you think, oh, I’ll just pick up one more, they end up taking you 40 minutes north of Pickering.
What is your Uber rating?
What’s your thought process when you rate customers?
As long as they’re not a complete jerk, they get a 5-star rating from me.
How many hours do you typically work a week?
I think part time drivers have it best. They earn extra income and maintain their social life. Personally, I like the morning rush hours between Tuesday and Friday, and if I feel up to it, weekend mornings from 8 am to 12 pm.
What was the worst customer you’ve ever had?
I didn’t really have any bad customers!
What was the best customer you’ve ever had?
Too many to list! My claim to fame was a Toronto Blue Jays Pitcher that graced my front seat. We took a selfie. On Sundays, I would get my passengers to play “Sunday Shuffle”. They would plug in their phone with an aux cable and put their entire playlist on shuffle. No skipping. It was pretty funny.
What is one of the craziest interactions you’ve had with an Uber passenger?
I once picked up a kid from a hospital with a baseball-sized lump on his head. After seeing it in the rearview I couldn’t help but turn around and say, “Whooooa buddy, what happened to you??” He smiled and told me he had brain surgery a month before and he was having a check up. He then told me that his surgeon took a picture of his brain during the surgery and asked me if I wanted to see it. It was pretty close to Halloween so I said, “For sure!”
Have you ever felt in danger?
Never. But I never drove nights and I screened all my passengers before unlocking my car doors. I wouldn’t pick up anyone with a 4.5 or lower passenger rating. They have low ratings for a reason, and I didn’t care to find out why.
Should consumers be worried about sexual assault from drivers?
As a woman, I would certainly hope not. I’ve been taking Uber since it came to Toronto and have never had an incident, however, I’ve heard some stories from my passengers that were a little dodgy.
Do you have any Uber stories of your own? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.