What's it like to drive for Uber?
January 16, 2016 4:26 PM   Subscribe

I’m considering driving for Uber in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am curious: If you are or have been a Uber driver, please tell me your experiences -- the good, the bad and the ugly. If you have been a Uber rider, I’m also curious about your experiences.
posted by maurreen to Work & Money (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've ridden with Uber on several occasions in Nashville, NYC and Washington, DC. It's been a good experience every time.

When I can, I ask the drivers why they drive for Uber (the answers have ranged from 'just have extra spare time and decided to get paid' to 'I have a small business that doesn't cover the bills yet') and what it's like to work for Uber. So far, I haven't heard anything bad from the drivers about Uber.

I have had one driver preach at me, another driver touted Donald Trump's 'high points', and a third driver's driving scared me (which... I drive fast but I'm aware of my surroundings... that dude drove slow and was oblivious to other vehicles on the road) but for the most part, they've been good people.

Having used NYC taxis quite a bit in the past, I have to say that I'd rather call an Uber driver than a taxi, even if the taxi is already there, offering a ride.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 4:48 PM on January 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Perhaps you'll find this Washington Post article interesting: 'I run a university. I'm also an Uber driver.' A college president in Atlanta talks about his experiences: the bottom line is that he made very little money but did enjoy meeting people from different walks of life.
posted by smorgasbord at 6:02 PM on January 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have an acquaintance who Ubers. He says he does it two days a week and makes about a hundred each day. He's never been put in a sketchy situation, and describes the work as basically stress free.
posted by xammerboy at 6:14 PM on January 16, 2016

I use both Uber and Lyft pretty heavily, and always ask drivers who have both companies' stickers on their cars about which they like driving for better. It's nearly always Lyft, primarily because Lyft is better about offering guaranteed pay as long as you drive X hours at Y time of day (where Y can change depending on area, season, event, whatever). If Lyft is popular out there, might be worth checking it out!
posted by rhiannonstone at 6:24 PM on January 16, 2016

If you google this, there are a ton of blog posts and forum threads about this. I would start there. I've used both Uber and Lyft and I've asked the drivers about it, and they seem to think there isn't a huge difference between companies or they don't want to admit to preferring one. I do think drivers prefer that riders can leave tips on Lyft. Many of them actually drive for both services, even simultaneously. Ones I've spoken to who don't do that say it's because they don't want the hassle of logging in and out of each service when they get rides, but I think for the ones who do it, it maximizes their income.

As a rider, I prefer Lyft's app for a bunch of reasons -- I find it easier to book a ride, find my driver when s/he arrives and I have the opportunity to leave a tip via the app when the driver is nice. (I think the Uber CEO seems like a jackass, so that's a bonus.) However, Uber usually has more cars on the road so I personally try Lyft first, but if I can't find a driver closeby, I will switch to Uber.
posted by AppleTurnover at 6:35 PM on January 16, 2016

If you are planning on this to be your primary employment, you might want to consider going with multiple services as well as food delivery.
posted by k8t at 8:22 PM on January 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pay is... [Link]
posted by k8t at 8:23 PM on January 16, 2016

$10/hour before gas, wear and tear, insurance.
posted by k8t at 8:25 PM on January 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

My roommate drives for both Uber and Lyft in the Bay Area. He is leasing a car through Uber, so he doesn't have to pay to maintain it, and driving for Lyft gets him discounted gas.

He used to drive his own car, but after two years of driving full time, it was junked. He fixed a lot of things himself, but that much driving just killed his car. It was cheaper in the long run to just lease from them and save on maintenance, and they leased him a hybrid, which vastly cut down his gas costs.

He makes around $2500 a week driving full time, mostly nights and weekends when the fare prices are up. The car costs $200 a week including insurance, and he spends about the same on gas. He also just bought vomit bags for his car, because that's reality when you're driving for the post-club/bar crowd. During off-peak hours, he often takes jobs on TaskRabbit to earn extra cash when driving won't pay as well.

I use Uber and Lyft all the time, and I've never had a bad experience. It's super convenient, more reliable than taxis, and the cars and their drivers tend to be nicer.
posted by ananci at 9:01 PM on January 16, 2016

I use Uber heavily and have since the first week it started in the bay area. I've used it regularly since way, way, way back in 2010 when it was called UberCab and only had black car services. Hundreds of rides in the US and aboard - and it has been consistently good at every service point -UberX, Black, SUV and access (a very few times).

I do notice that the rates on UberX are now ridiculously low. I used to meet drivers who had bought new cars to do Uber since it was paying so well. I don't see anyone doing that now. I worry that people will stop driving at since the pay must be meager.
posted by 26.2 at 10:08 PM on January 16, 2016

Take all the "I'm a rider and my Uber driver said..." stories with a giant grain of salt. The drivers have to maintain a near perfect rating to stay on the service. They're not going to talk shit to the passengers about how they really feel.
posted by bradbane at 11:55 PM on January 16, 2016 [11 favorites]

You might find interesting discussion on this Uber drivers forum or maybe this subreddit.

This very negative Jacobin article has more details on bradbane's point about what drivers are free to say to customers.
posted by Nelson at 9:14 AM on January 17, 2016

I am an Über driver in Richmond, VA and, frankly, I do not recommend it if you have any other options. The only time I would advise someone to sign up as a driver is if they are looking to cash in on the (very) occasional opportunity to make good money. In Richmond, my most profitable evening was when a NASCAR race came to town and I made 97 dollars in one fare because of surge pricing. Unfortunately, it turns out that was the unicorn of fares. NYE wasn't even that great for me. The work is very inconsistent, and the hours that hold the most earning potential are the same ones where most riders are heavily intoxicated, leading to all sorts of unpleasant interactions. For me, it's not the obnoxiously loud talking or even the occasional vomiting in your car that's the worst part, but the sexual harassment I am subject to from drunk passengers-but I am a young woman, so your results may vary. I almost never receive tips from passengers, which would help to sweeten the deal-but to maintain the convenience for the rider, Uber says that "no tips are necessary", leading a lot of people to believe it's "included". I could go on and on about the shady things the company does, but there's plenty of information about that on the internets, so I'll stick mostly with my personal experience. Not sure how things change from city to city, of course.

I have had some cool experiences with passengers, though-I've met all kinds of people and had some really great, deep conversations with people I might not have encountered otherwise. Once, a passenger tipped me with a slice of pizza after I drove them to a pizza place, which made me SO HAPPY. For what it's worth, driving people to work in the morning (this is surprisingly popular) is way better than the late night shifts, and it was fairly busy at some point, but as fares have lowered and more people in my city have signed up to drive, it's not really worth it for me to do anymore.
posted by sparringnarwhal at 3:13 PM on January 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

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