I’m an Uber driver now! I activated my account at the Uber office this afternoon.
I was expecting to find a cadre of Aryan gods dressed in designer suits at the office, just like the ones pictured on Uber’s home page. What I encountered was most disappointing.
About a dozen and a half other Uber drivers came and went during my visit. Except for two middle-aged females and myself, every driver in the waiting area was an older immigrant male.
I spent a good 45 minutes waiting my turn, during which time a potato-shaped driver sat next to me and introduced himself as Dario. Dario had been driving for Uber for 4 years, and before that spent over a decade driving taxis. He lived in Redwood City, and made very little as a taxi driver.
He had come to Uber today to register his new Toyota Prius as a driving vehicle. Uber drivers can switch between multiple personal cars for providing rides.
During Dario’s Uber career, he bought three Toyota Priuses and registered them all as Uber vehicles. He couldn’t drive three cars at once, of course. He rented two of the cars to friends who did not have California licenses, and let them drive using his account. Uber didn’t know, or maybe didn’t care. They simply assumed that Dario was putting in 24-hour workdays in three different cars.
Dario actually no longer spent much time as an Uber driver. Rather, he managed the cars that his friends drove for him.
In a city where transportation is in short supply, it is difficult to find fault with Uber drivers’ solutions to an inefficient market. But somehow, it’s venturing back to an antiquated and much-maligned transportation model.
As I was leaving the city, Uber sent me a text message reminding me that I could stop by to pick up flowers to put in my car for Valentine’s day. I considered swinging by, not because I plan on picking up any Valentine’s Day riders, but to maybe make the boys jealous.
So, anybody want an Uber ride from me?