Although Sunday’s driving was quite the downer, yesterday (Monday) seemed okay so I was feeling a bit more optimistic to keep this proof of concept moving forward. I knew I couldn’t make a sound opinion on being a driver until I spent enough time in their shoes to know what it’s like. Day 5 was a Tuesday, July 4th, which had so many directions it could go. Time to hit the road and see what happens. I started my shift around 3:30am as a friend of mine referred me to a lady for a private ride to the airport.
I picked her and her 9 year old daughter up at 4:00am. The little girl was super chatty and although her mom apologized for it, I absolutely loved it. We talked about how excited she was to see fishes in the water. How the fish were more colorful in Grand Caymen then Michigan. How she was hoping they’d be colorful in Jamaica. How she wanted to see a sting ray and how they swam close to the bottom because they preferred the dark. We joked about what kind of things prey on them. Then we talked about the airplanes coming in, how certain airlines are based in certain cities, and how the loads across the US converge in a hub to then disperse to new locations. It was such an awesome conversation I wished she could sit with me all day! I dropped her off for $35 (I charged them the typical Uber airport fare) and she kindly gave me a $15 tip. Awesome!!
Figuring while I was at the airport I’d linger to see if I could get an Uber pickup, though supposedly the Uber software is smart enough to know from their perspective I just appeared at the airport, no Uber drop off, so no qualifying for re-match. I drove away empty and decided to sit in the airport queue. There were only 3 cars and I was tracking flightaware.com to see the arrivals. There were a two flights that landed at 4am so if the people moved slow to get bags could still be potential riders. The lot was closed and the 3 cars were just parked next to the Uber lot so I joined them. Chatted a bit with one of the other drivers about the system. Out of all the other drivers I’ve talked to, I’ve got the feeling I’m one of the few that try to ingest everything Uber sends me. I taught him about the boosts, about how the airport works, etc. Then gave up and headed back into the city.
It was 5:35am before I got my first hit. A young guy just off Colfax heading to work at the King Soopers in Glendale. I wondered if Uber was his sole transportation or why he would pay an Uber to get to work when doing a minimum wage job. I mean I can’t even afford to take an Uber and I’m a driver! Nice guy kept mostly to himself. I dropped him off 10 min later for $4.33. As soon as I pulled out of the lot I got a request from the Enterprise next to the King Soopers so back I went.
It was a young couple and their daughter who had just been up in the mountains for the holiday. She was from Glenwood springs and this was the first time she was able to bring her family back to see her home town. They were really sweet. She sat in the front seat and we talked about Denver, how different Tennessee was, etc. I dropped them off at the airport 35 min later. They requested me in a boost zone so Uber gave me a bonus. I made $27.39 and $3 tip. I helped them with their bags and then waited for my next ride. Nothing. No rematch. My turn to pay the gas and 30 min back to the city.
I had plans at 8am to go hiking in St Mary’s Glacier, so ended after that run so I could get ready and head out. Despite being a walking zombie since we didn’t get to bed until midnight from all the holiday fireworks, I enjoyed the hike but desperately needed my 1.5 hour nap when we returned so I could hit the road again for the afternoon boost. It ran from 3-6pm but since I prioritized a nap it left me only 4-6pm.
Off to the Afternoon Boost!
My first request was a couple blocks from my house as soon as I hit the online button. She was heading downtown to meet some friends. She was really nice and we mainly talked about the holiday, the weather, etc. I dropped her off 9 min later for a boosted $7.50. My next ride was three young twenty somethings from a bar in LoDo who had been drinking all day. They were sarcastic and sassy but in a funny awesome way. We bantered and laughed. I dropped them off 5 min away for $5.62 with the boost.
Just around the corner from them I got a request from a lady going to meet some friends at the exact same bar I’d just picked the other guys up from. Apparently the View House is the place to be if you’re twenty in Denver and looking to have a fun night. With the Rockies traffic I dropped her off 12 min later for a boosted $5.62. As I pulled away and drove around I got another request, guess what – the same bar! LOL. It was a group of young twenty somethings who had five people and ordered an UberX. Luckily Uber 101 trained us how to handle this and I asked them to cancel and re-select Uber XL. They were funny, already been drinking they piled into my car, all the second row, and I had to ask them to only have one person per seat belt please. They were adorable though, from Kansas and Iowa. I drove them 30 minutes to the far SW corner of Denver for a boosted $41.68.
Given how middle of nowhere it seemed we were, somewhere off Hampden on the way to the mountains I was surprised to get a new request so quickly. It was a man in his mid-40s on the way to meet some friends for the fourth of July festivities. He had been working all day on technical issues and was ready for a break. I took him 10 miles north up to Arvada. We talked about work, about technology, about the telecom industry, about real estate, etc. I dropped him off 23 min later for $11.20. No boost in the burbs.
Before I could set it to head home as I was so incredibly tired, a request came in. A really sweet young twenty something lady from Texas on her way to meet some friends downtown. I was excited to be headed closer to home. She was so nice and asked a lot about what it’s like to be an Uber driver. She was sarcastic and sweet and fun and I really enjoyed the drive. I dropped her off 14 min later for $8.26. Again, no boost in the burbs. At this point the boost had now expired and I was so tired it was time to call it a night. As I went to swipe the phone offline a request came in and my swiping ended up accepting the ride. Argh.
My eyes were heavy and I was so ready to be done. When I arrived it was a group of 5 people in their mid-30s who ordered an UberX so again I had to share policy requires me to have them cancel and re-select for an UberXL. They weren’t as cool with it as the earlier group but they seemed okay. I hate having to start the ride with disappointing people. I’ve asked Uber to do a better job of rider education but it’s a fine balance because they want riders happy with little paperwork and rules. My thought – couldn’t they make it clearer on the app the UberX is only for 4 people, seems like a small ask for a big return. It would make riders and drivers happier.
As they all piled in I took them from downtown all the way out to the new soccer stadium by Northfield. The last time I saw our soccer team, the Rapids, play it was at Mile High Stadium, so I was excited to see their new field. It used to be the place to see the fireworks show – Mile High and Rapids, best show in the city – so I was also excited to find out they still do a fireworks show. The lot was crazy crowded and people everywhere, so much so that when I dropped them off the cell networks were jammed and I couldn’t end the ride. I spent the next 5 minutes trying to close out the app to restart so I wouldn’t lose the revenue and could get a rider on the way home. It was 30 minutes and $23.08, no tip.
Time to call it a day!
Though too much hassle with the app issues, so I just sorted them and shut the phone off, opened all my windows, the sunroof, and blared my music, letting my hand fly out the window and sang along in my out of tune voice. It was time to finally enjoy this new car. Today I worked 6 hours, 10 trips, and made $169 + $18 tips – $20 gas = $167 / 6 hours = $28 / hour. Not including car, insurance, and taxes.
More to come,
PS – if you’re interested in joining Uber, you can use my link to get a sign-on bonus: https://partners.uber.com/i/sarac13944ui