I Am a Phoenix Uber Driver

Categories: Fun

phoenix-uber-driver.JPG

A Phoenix-based Uber driver shares stories from behind the wheel.

Two jobs, two sons, and a husband was not enough. I was in a rut and feeling bleh. After running into a childhood friend one day, she put the Uber bee in my bonnet and I was hooked.

I have had a romantic notion about cab drivers for some time, formulated in part by the song Taxi and the film Night on Earth. Becoming a taxi driver is expensive and full time, but becoming an UberX "partner" is fairly uncomplicated, almost free. I work when I want, and the money is nice. I have been able to do good things with the extra cash for my family and for people I know.

See also: Laurie Notaro's 10 Rules for Writing a Book (WARNING: Violence Ahead)

A certain amount of suspension of conventional beliefs about strangers has to occur in order for the app-based ride-sharing thing to work. I have to trust that my riders will not be serial killers or meanies, and my riders have to trust that I am not a kamikaze Formula One wannabe. Extreme scenarios aside, the system works well, and a by-product of this side job is a chance to meet interesting people and hear their stories.

After my second week of "Uber-ing," I began sharing stories from behind the wheel, changing the names and facts a bit to keep my riders' identities private. Here is a sampling:

Last night, I was thinking I would call it a day and head home, but took one last ride. A guy about my age got in the cab and pronounced, "I LOVE UBER!"

We were hitting it off famously, talking about this and that. He showed me a picture of his son and told me his name. It was then I realized I had grown up with his brother, who passed away a few years ago. After a few small-town Phoenix moments, we reached his destination.

He handed me a 20 and I tried to turn it down. (Uber drivers tips are included in the fair, so riders have a cashless transaction.) He said the 20 was from his brother, who had put us together in the Uber experience and would be upset if I didn't take it . . . sweet! (and sweet).

Question:

How to handle "Are we in a safe part of town?" after picking up three adorable Costa Rican college students (in town for the Clinton Institute in Tempe and unable to find any affordable rooms closer) on 24th and Van Buren Street.

Do I . . .

A. Say "Hell no!"

B. Give them a history lesson of Phoenix and Tempe, including tales of prostitution, stock yards and the mental hospital to distract them from the question

C. Give them small comfort by saying, "Well, it's not the WORST part
of town. Make sure you're packing and the door is locked."

Drunk people have bad ideas, and they are very insistent. It's one of the many fatal flaws of SuperDrunkGuy, or is it one of his powers?

SuperDrunkGuy thinks his wife would love to meet me.

I know there is no way this could be true, but in SuperDrunkGuy's world his wife and I hit it off and become best friends. That's because everyone is friendly in SuperDrunkGuy World.

SuperDrunkGuy tells me he will not get out of the car if I do not agree to meet his wife. "This is such a bad idea," I tell him. "She will LOVE you!" he says.

As SuperDrunkGuy and I head up the walk to the front of his house, he realizes something important.

"I forgot to tell my wife I was golfing today."

The door opens.

Worlds collide.


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22 comments
Pakorron
Pakorron

Since the authorities are doing nothing to stop this illegal activitie; we as citizens should start making citizens arrest to all this criminals and turn them to the transportation authorities

Uber is depresiating the cab industry by a 60% or more, and just for the record; let me inform you that due to your stupideness the american people is loosing the culture to tip for services in this country. Im just waiting the day to go to a restaurant and the waitress tell me: "it is ok sir, you dont need to tip me, the tip is already include in your bill" and she pretending to be somebody very wealthy doing that just for fun loopoool

I dont know if this is good for the economy of our nation , when the cost of living is strathosferic

But dear Uberyans you can keep living believing that you are a genius leaving this great legacy to this industry

For me what happen with this people that hook with this scam and their horrible experiences is completly irrelevant; my concern is the terrebly damage they are doing to the taxi cab industry

This guys are so ignorants that thy dont realize that we live in a sociaty builded by laws, rules, regulations snd ordenances and nobody is so special to believe thay can brake the law unpunishable

Pakorron
Pakorron

Since the authorities are doing nothing to stop this illegal activitie; we as citizens should start making citizens arrest to all this criminals and turn them to the transportation authorities

Uber is depresiating the cab industry by a 60% or more, and just for the record; let me inform you that due to your stupideness the american people is loosing the culture to tip for services in this country. Im just waiting the day to go to a restaurant and the waitress tell me: "it is ok sir, you dont need to tip me, the tip is already include in your bill" and she pretending to be somebody very wealthy doing that just for fun loopoool

I dont know if this is good for the economy of our nation , when the cost of living is strathosferic

But dear Uberyans you can keep living believing that you are a genius leaving this great legacy to this industry

For me what happen with this people that hook with this scam and their horrible experiences is completly irrelevant; my concern is the terrebly damage they are doing to the taxi cab industry

boboburg
boboburg

As recent as June it was announced on News Stations about the new crackdowns in Florida. fines, impounds and arrests. Clearly says repeate offenders may be subject to arrest. I drove one person from Florida who says they will start arrests. As a kid i remember the shit stinky Yellow Cabs. That was because they only allowed one cab company in town. Competition cured that problem when they opened up the market to other cab companies and also controlled prices. There are still stinky filthy cabs around but they charge a reduced rate. Any one here can make their cab a legal one with their personal car. All is needed is personal driver license.

Although the uberx app is a good app their is nothing disruptive about it. Simply go to your app store there must be 100's. What is disruptive is uberx cuts costs by junk background checks, insurance, vehicle maintance and drug tests. Simply put these same requirements to a uberx and they couldn't operate on a level playing field. Sure uber says they have these standards (or better) but when investigated and put to the test they don't measure up.

Since uber and lyft pays the fines and they have deep pockets, they only effective means to enforce the law is not only fines but arrests and impound but be included.

MirJ
MirJ

I just got approved to be a driver... let's see how it goes! I'm doing it for extra money too. Kinda wondering if it's really worth it. We'll see

steve797979
steve797979

Being a taxi driver is Dangerous. A fake credit card and this soccer mom could be car jacked and killed. These drivers think because it is cashless that it is safe. No realizing that the car they are driving has significant value and once the criminal is inside with a gun it is game over. Bad part is uber and lyft will never report this and it will just be an unsolved murder.

xdriver
xdriver

This new driver will be singing a different tune after 2 months, instead of just 2 weeks.  After she catches on to how disposable she is and how Uber treats its drivers

boboburg
boboburg

I HATE UBER! THEY ARE NOT LEGAL IN ARIZONA. Poor drug and background checks. Insurance.by sham companies. Weights and Measures are fineing drivers $500-$1500. Uber pays their fines. They need to do stings and arrest these drivers. Florida does it.

reverendvelvet
reverendvelvet

@steve797979  I'd think your garden variety car-jacker/murderer could find much easier targets than an Uber/Lyft driver...




anonymous.x
anonymous.x

@justaguy.chi  My riders talk to me.  I did hear the conversation of one rider,

who is a neighbor of mine, I apologized......

paulette.mcguinness
paulette.mcguinness

@boboburg WRONG! Get your facts straight! I just became an Uber driver IN Florida. NOBODY has been arrested for driving for Uber. In the beginning, the drivers were being issued citations which were paid by Uber. The police stopped doing it a few months ago because they have better things to do than to chase Uber. I love it when people post things before checking their facts...

steve797979
steve797979

Why? No gps, no base monitoring driver with emergency switches, driver is in plain car that is Unmarked. Sounds much easier than stealing a cab.

justaguy.chi
justaguy.chi

I don't know if you are being obtuse on purpose. My links are about Uber asking drivers to turn on the UberPhone microphones, not about a driver overhearing a conversation.

And may I ask if you like your new gig so much, why are staying Anonymous? Is it to avoid getting your personal car insurance cancelled if your insurer found out that you are using your car as a Vehicle For Hire in violation of the terms of your policy?

reverendvelvet
reverendvelvet

@steve797979  it would require the criminal to download the Uber/Lyft app on their smart phone. (Last time I checked you had to have a valid app store account with credit card attached to download even free apps). Then they'd have to associate a credit card to the Uber/Lyft account. Even if they had a stolen card it's a lot of bullsh!t to go through to carjack a car. 
Much easier to jack a car at a valet stand in Scottsdale while some old white guy is distracted by his trophy wife tits.

anonymous.x
anonymous.x

@justaguy.chi  Thanks for the info Jerry.  I have never thought of Googling stuff about Uber before.

Since you have been so generous with your suggestions for me, here's one for you....the next time you create a user name for yourself, why not use:

gotstohavethelastwordeverytimeknowitall.chi


justaguy.chi
justaguy.chi

I'm Just Aguy because I'm a Chicago cabbie and I do UberTaxi. Ever hear of UberTaxi? It's a Uber service option only available in Chicago, Boston, SF, DC and NYC. Uber hasn't introduced it in any of the 30 new US markets it's entered since it published Uber Policy Whitepaper http://bit.ly/PBImlf and got into the ride-sharing racket with UberX.

Here are a few more links for you:

A Must Watch NBC Ride-sharing Expose

http://t.co/JL9ZpgHuYj

http://t.co/nb8iv34khR

http://t.co/uhY79xAM4F

anonymous.x
anonymous.x

@justaguy.chi  Yes! So glad you caught my attempt to steer your comments away from fringe conspiracy theories and back towards the fun(!) article about engaging with interesting passengers while making extra money for my family.  Anonymous just makes it more fun...Don't you think?  Why are you "just a guy"and not, for example, Jerry Fletcher?


paulette.mcguinness
paulette.mcguinness

@boboburg Um no...YOU got it wrong BOBO! Did you actually read the article? It says ...

 “Put the drivers in jail,” Rudy Gonzalez, the owner of U.S.A. Taxi, said.

And no time like right then and there: Industry lobbyist Susan Fried pushed for a “citizen’s arrest” of Lyft representatives at the meeting if they weren’t registered to lobby.

Another speaker called for a Lyft driver in the county commission chambers to be issued a ticket — on the spot.

The commissioners on the transportation and aviation committee did none of the above. Instead, they spent three hours listening to public testimony and debating what to do about UberX and Lyft. No conclusions emerged, with commissioners clearly perplexed about how to wrestle with the disruptive technology that allows passengers to request rides from private drivers via smartphone applications.


It is Taxi owners who are asking the police to ARREST the drivers. Nowhere does it state any of the drivers have been arrested. This wouldn't be happening if cab drivers weren't gauging their customers, picking them up in filthy crap boxes, and for some of them, practice good hygiene... you must be one of those people who thinks just because it is written, it must be true. Oh and how ironic that it is written by a lawyer who is only trying to drum up some business by representing these drivers. Again... get your facts straight!

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