So, this past weekend was my first weekend as a driver for Uber. I could really get used to it!
I decided to drive for Uber to help offset my road trips. The longer road trips I do won’t necessarily make me a profit but, hey. Every little helps, right?! Plus I love driving. I love sitting on long, scenic roads, cruise control on, music quietly playing as I take in the sights and sounds of somewhere I’ve never been before. Some like to soak in baths, others like to curl up on sofas with good books (I do like a good read!). Me, though. I’m the one to make a spur-of-the-moment decision to drive for 6 and 7 hours to some random destination because there is something different to do there. Being able to drive for Uber in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware means I can drive for several hours, north, south and west and get paid for doing so. Works for me!
So, Friday was my first day. I cleaned the car, took some steps to look smart and, with a slightly raised heart rate and moist palms, headed towards Philadelphia. My music choice was quiet worship gospel music. Marvin Sapp, Smokie Norful, Donnie McLurkin and others. I found that it helped to keep the car peaceful, even when the lively party-goers stepped in.
As it was my first day, I didn’t want to overwhelm myself, so I headed to Market Street, instead of South Street, so I could pick up those more likely to be leaving to go home, as opposed to those overly hype, ready to step out and it worked.
My first 2 rides were, strangely enough, Brits! A student from Norwich, with his Bajan girlfriend (Both complete with their relative accents!) and a Nigerian gentleman who was born and raised in Stonebridge, north London. Particularly, the gentleman from Stonebridge was very unassuming. I chuckled to myself when I saw that he lived in a pleasant gated community, which is a far cry from how I remember Stonebridge being! Stereotyped judgement? Maybe. I still laughed unashamedly, though! LOL!
I clocked up 9 rides for the few hours that I spent in Philadelphia. I had a range of customers that varied from those that wanted to just sit quietly in the back to the more jovial characters that wanted to ride up front and chat. Being someone that easily makes friends and is pretty good at holding a wide range of conversation, I found the variation in character pretty easy to deal with. I had discussions on Music, Politics, London and BrExit, American Football vs. Rugby, Religion, Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter and a most interesting conversation about what it is like to be drunk with the 3 young ladies that were my final ride of the night. Ironically, that ride was cut short so the quiet one could be allowed to purge on the sidewalk. We agreed that they should probably use the night air to sober up before they found themselves in another vehicle. All in all, a decent evening.
For all the money that must come through Philadelphia, from tourism and entertainment, I can’t understand how the roads can be in such disarray! I mean, I’d expect any city’s quieter roads to be a little chewed up but, come on now, Philly! A single traffic cone in the middle of a 6ft x 6ft 12-inch drop in the road?! Really?! I have rims to preserve!
Needless to say, come 2am, I simply took to apologizing to my passengers as I swerved through the narrow back-streets of Philadelphia, in my Buick, like a low-budget attempt at a Batman movie! Smoking man-hole covers being avoided, dramatically, while Donnie Mclurkin aptly, but quietly, sings Great is Your Mercy! You could say ‘oxymoron’!
Saturday was my time to use the Uber driving to pay for a small road trip. This time, it was to go to the Caribbean Carnival in Jersey City.
The carnival was a small-scale affair, compared to what I’m used to, having the Notting Hill Carnival back home, in London. But carnival is carnival. Smiles, flags, badman (LOL!), food, drink and conversations with the Black Hebrew guys (A blog for another day.). I also got to meet a friend that I’d made on Facebook but never had met. It was good to finally meet him and chill with him and his son.
The festival began to pick up from about 6pm but I chose this as my time to start heading home. Uber offer guaranteed hourly rates between certain specified times and I wanted to be on the road when the time came.
There were another 9 drops for me on Saturday, where I realized that the New Jersey fares pay a bit more than the Philadelphia fares. I’m guessing because the distance travelled is somewhat longer. In Philadelphia, riders generally want to take a quick ride 5 or 10 mins up the road. In New Jersey, however, the rides were lasting about 15-20 minutes. The majority of the riders were also not as friendly but I put that down to the demographic.
My first two riders were going to the Guns & Roses concert, in the MetLife Stadium. They insisted on having some rock music play for the ride so I entertained a little, playing it low so they didn’t get too amped in the back of my car and also so we could have conversation. The ride passed off without much event and I worked my way through business professionals, clubbers and an interesting truck driver before I started heading in the direction of home. My final ride was taking 3 military guys, visiting from California, from Hamilton to near where I live. We had good conversation regarding deployments and a love for the Spanish accent! Driving home from carnival, I made about $40 profit, after subtracting what I’d spent on putting fuel in the car and buying a large Jamaica flag. Not bad maths, in my opinion!
I was pretty disappointed in myself on Sunday. My church had planned to go to New York. Brooklyn, to be exact. We were supporting a church up there. Unfortunately, I’d put the date in the wrong calendar day and had planned to get my chores done on Sunday evening.
I decided I’d put the Uber Partner app on, on the way home. Squeezed out 3 jobs, totalling about $20 so couldn’t complain. Two individuals recovering from Saturday night shenanigans and a gentleman who insisted on not listening to gospel music. Needless to say, there was good conversation to be had and I finished my weekend with a 4.92 star rating. Not bad work in my eyes!
I’m sure there are those that are wondering about how I fared financially.
Being my first week, I had to buy a holder for my phone, in order to use the navigation and Uber Partner app. I also had to buy an EZ Pass for the toll roads and I went through 1.5 tanks of petrol. I surpassed the amount I spent, comfortably, and earned about $15 per hour.
I wouldn’t have driving for Uber as a sole source of income. However, if you have no ‘adult’ responsibilities, I think one could actually fair pretty well.
All in all, I’d say I have the perfect setup. I have my regular job, from which I maintain a budget and the Uber driving allows me to fund other things, both personal and social.
Need a ride? Let me know!!