To Uber or Not – that is the question.

With advent of ride share it’s somewhat easy to see why Millennials don’t want to drive.

So you think you want to drive for Uber?  If so you need to consider several factors beyond just submitting your license, getting an inspection and cleaning the car out.  Getting rich isn’t going to happen, in fact there is a high likelihood you’ll make less than your current job market … and quite possibly less than a waitress at McDonald’s (if McDonald’s had waitress’).  There are debates on related Uber forums about how to calculate earnings, with the general consensus that the money simply isn’t enough.

Is ride-share even a solution to some of the problems of commuting?  Depending upon the city there have been newspaper and other online articles referencing corollary studies that support the idea of a decline in the number of drunk driving tickets.  Other studies point to an increase in automobile related accidents due to ride-share despite studies showing ride share drivers are safer.  For the rider there are many reasons to use ride share, cost and convenience being the top two.  There’s also ride share features and perks you simply don’t find with cab companies regardless of what city you are in.

Income.  You want to earn some money and using an otherwise idle asset sounds like a great idea.  After all you’ve heard word of mouth or on the internet that you can make $20-#30/hr just tooling around in your car carrying happy go lucky people between their destinations, right?  The ad says “This New Yorker makes up to $540 a day driving for Uber, Juno and Lyft“.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, or in the words of magician Harry Blackstone Jr., “There’s One Born Every Minute“.  I’ve done the math, others have done the math, accountants, mathematicians, financial guru’s and magazines have done the math … and it doesn’t add up to what the average driver thinks, and the 12 hour day might not be what you bargain for (unless you enjoy sleeping in your car) if you think you are going to make this your sole source of income.

 

 

The biggest question of all is ride share safe for the rider AND driver.

While everyone is concerned for the rider, and some states have passed legislation aimed at the drivers of ride share, from a drivers’ perspective it is just as dangerous, if not more so.  It is easy to understand why when there are predators and even Somali war criminals who have been found driving for Uber (Lyft and other ride-share/taxi services are no exception and there are articles comparing ride share vs. taxi).  Just visit a ride share lot at your local airport and it’ll give you just reason to think twice about who you ride with. … but this goes both ways.  Drivers are constantly under assault.   From an Uber driver being caught up in drive-by shootings in Charlotte, NC to being stabbed on the streets near the city of not so brotherly love of Philadelphia to NYC.   In fact crime against ride share drivers is just a little too common, here’s the results of some 2019 to date search results on “Uber driver stabbings”:

Uber Driver is Stabbled to Death in the Brox

Uber driver in Arizona had throat slit by passenger; man arrested …

2 arrested after Uber driver stabbed in Chino – Daily Bulletin

Pregnant Lyft Driver Stabbed to Death by Passenger in Arizona

Uber driver stabbed in Bridgeport – Connecticut Post

Teen charged with murder in Uber driver’s stabbing death in …

Uber driver attacked by passenger in Phoenix area – Arizona Republic

Uber Driver Stabbed By Passenger: Report | Bridgeport, CT Patch

Uber driver stabbed following dispute over radio program, suspect …  (<– heaven forbid you don’t like the music, maybe request a “Quiet Ride” via Uber Comfort.  It’s cheaper than a doctor’s visit.)

Some video bloggers and website bloggers have suggestions on safety, and within the bounds of business Uber attempts to provide some safety features in its app.  They have a switch you can navigate to for 911 assistance if you are able.  Obviously that isn’t much of a viable solution, I don’t know of anyone with enough self-control to “navigate” to the emergency assistance button while  being constantly beat, stabbed, shot or combination there of.  Uber (and Lyft, etc) has “terms of use” (like any rider has actually read the terms of use), but that’s of little consequence as is the “No Ride” List when you are the victim of the crime.  The perpetrator can always get off the list with a new phone number, email, or simply use a friends ID should the “quality improvement course” (<–you simply can’t make this stuff up) prove too much.  Deviant riders can  (supposedly against Uber policy) have multiple Uber accounts on a single phone (Create Multiple Uber Account On Same Android Phone To Get Unlimited Free Uber Rides) and get around the passenger rating system and presumably the No Ride List.  Of course you can opt in for “Partner Injury Protection” should you feel threatened and so inclined … at an added expense to the driver.  Bottom line, this comes down to the good judgement (or the absence there of) of both riders and drivers as to who and where they are willing to share the ride with.

Is it worth it all?  Watch the video (caution, profanity, violence, and all round nasty people) and decide if this is something you are willing to risk doing:

Still think this pays enough?  After seeing that I don’t know why anyone would subject themselves to such abuse.  Is this an everyday occurrence?  Yes.  Does it happen to everyone?  No.  Have I encountered the potential for such confrontations?  Absolutely.  After seeing this video I’ve given serious consideration to never giving another ride.

What does the future hold?  Considering ride-share companies have a vested interest in autonomous automobiles/transit it looks promising for the likes of Uber, but not so good for the drivers.  Uber is investing heavily in autonomous technology.  Uber believes “… these vehicles have the potential to make our roads safer and transportation more affordable for everyone.”  So I have to concede they may have a point … for both the riders and the once potential drivers.

With all these considerations there are articles on ride share as a side hustle coming to the conclusion there are better side hustles for your effor, and if nothing else there’s always the Monster mobile app and LinkedIn.

 

Sooo … if you have stayed with this blog to this point and you seriously want to drive for Uber, I’m not ashamed to pass my referral code (ralphp967ue) on so a guy can make a buck, or you can simply submit your email address in the contact form at the bottom and I’ll send you an email invitation.  Wouldn’t you know, Uber has a laundry list of requirements for the referral offer to be valid:

To earn the referral reward, a referral must enter your Uber invite code during sign-up, must not have previously taken a trip on the Uber app prior to referral, and must take 100 trips with 100 different riders within 90 days of signup. Referral amounts and minimum trip requirements may vary depending on what city your referral signs up and drives in and are subject to change in Uber’s sole discretion. Uber has the right to limit the number of times you may use or share your referral code. You agree that your referral code: (i) must be used for the intended audience and purpose, and in a lawful manner; (ii) may not be duplicated, sold or transferred in any manner, or made available to the general public (whether posted to a public form or otherwise), unless expressly permitted by us; (iii) may be disabled by us at any time for any reason without liability to us; (iv) may only be used pursuant to any additional terms we establish for such referral code; (v) are not valid for cash; and (vi) may expire prior to your use. We reserve the right to withhold or deduct payments or other features or benefits obtained through the use of the referral code by you or any other party in the event that we determine or believe that the use or redemption of the referral code was in error, fraudulent, illegal, or in violation of any additional referral code terms or these terms. Uber Eats deliveries are not eligible for this referral reward. See full terms here. Limited time only.

Once you’ve signed up simply install the app, submit all your documentation and wait for approval (I was approved in 24 hours).  Consider learning all you can about the Uber passenger app and the Uber driver app (they are different).

 

Uber Passenger App:

 

How the Driver App Works | Uber

Note: this video is old and only reflects the basics of the app.  As of this blog Uber has yet to update their tutorial for the Driver App

Once you have the mechanics down of using the app simply turn it on and wait for your first ride request.  While you are waiting for that request you may want to develop a strategy to try and increase your earnings (future blogs forth coming).  Thos 100 rides within 90 days is very doable – I was able to casually complete 22 trips in the first two days of “playing” with the idea in 11.5 app hours (notice I refer to “app” hours … this is important for later on when you start to question your earnings).  I made $191.92 for that effort and thought “wow” that was pretty easy, and for the most part it was, but there is simply more to the story and to be considered.

 

 

 

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