Since the beginning of 2016, I have been a regular user of Uber. There is even one Uber driver that has taken me three times! While I have always taken the time to talk to my Uber drivers, this morning’s journey was especially silent.
When I received my driver confirmation, the Uber app had an additional “pop-up” screen with “Your driver is deaf or hard of hearing. We’ll provide turn-by-turn directions when (driver) arrives”. When the driver arrived, he had a hearing aid.
If Uber had not sent along the note that he was hearing impaired, I probably would not have noticed or wondered why the driver was ignoring me. During the trip, I communicated with the driver with very short directional instructions and using my hand to show the directional changes I wanted to make. It turned out to be a rather pleasant trip.
Now that got me thinking. Uber has actually created a lot of opportunities for people who probably wouldn’t drive for a living. My hearing impaired driver probably would not be accepted as a taxi driver. Uber made it possible.
As I talk to the Uber drivers who takes me to my destinations, I talked to a number of rather interesting ones.
One driver chose to drive for Uber because he needs to send his wife for dialysis four times a week. Uber gives him flexibility, saves him taxi fares and earns him a good income.
Another driver shares the Uber with a partner. Both share a business that is project based. Uber provides them additional income for their down times.
One driver is a real estate agent, who drives Uber when he does not need to meet his clients. Uber also provides him a car to use.
I met one driver who earns a reasonable living as a marine technician but chose to Uber because he wants to send his child to school every day. It gives him flexibility in his time, plus the transport to send the child to school, and covers the income he lost as a technician.
So while some taxi drivers complain about Uber, it creates opportunities for many others. I really look forward to hearing more stories from Uber drivers.