Ride-sharing has become exponentially popular over the past few years, with more people favoring Uber and Grab as their primary modes of transportation.
Comfortable, safe, and convenient—it’s no surprise that these ride-hailing apps have become a popular choice among commuters, especially with the younger set.
We often read stories of passengers online, from the sweet and profoundly charming to a few unpleasant ones. However, we rarely hear stories of drivers who have to endure the drunk, impatient, catty types of riders who often take their dutiful drivers for granted.
This time, let’s hear the side of these brave warriors who take the wheel day and night to ferry us to our destinations amid the Metro traffic. These are their stories.
Call center support staff
I had a friend who drives for Uber. He quit his day job, went back to school, and started driving on the side. He was able to pay for the car and had a bit extra left for himself. He was my inspiration and he actually referred me to Uber.
I make money on the side. It’s a pretty profitable side gig, but that’s because I own the car. I go out when I feel like it. I take a break when I want to. That isn’t the case for drivers who drive for operators. They have it tough.
However, traffic is exceptionally bad these days. I’d say we’ve lost about a third of the trips we could’ve made because we were stuck in traffic. If you’re not moving, you’re not making money or making less money than you could’ve.
The cabbies have a tough job, and we’re edging them out. They have to do a better job if they want to stay in the business. They just can’t compete. Our cars are newer, our drivers are more polite, and we don’t ask for directions.
And sorry, I just have to rant: Seven out of ten bookings have their pins wrong. People need to learn how to book, you know.
I am no longer driving for Uber. After two years of driving the unit myself, and then months of changing drivers, I just had to quit.
It was the allure of a business opportunity that drew me to get a car through financing for Uber. However, it’s really hard to get your investment back. The income entirely depends on the driver—that is, if you’re lucky enough to find someone eager to earn and take care of your car.
When I started as an Uber driver, I was driving my car myself for the first few months until I could find a driver that would do it full time. Unfortunately, I left Uber because of the difficulty of finding a credible driver for our car.
The most difficult part in driving for these ride-sharing networks is keeping your temper under the worst possible situations. We have to be professional at all times. Also, you have to factor in the risks of going out on the road, whether it’s to yourself, your car, or others.
Technical support staff
Uber made it easy for drivers to earn something on the side. But for operators, there are plenty of requirements to submit and process just to get your LTFRB permit—and it will take a long time to be approved.
I’m driving my car right now to earn some money outside of work, but I don’t plan on staying long. I hope not longer than a year. I’m just waiting for my brother to learn how to drive and familiarize himself with the car and the road. Until he’s ready, I’ll be a part-time driver.
I can’t really say that I’m satisfied given that Uber lowered their fare. I got a taste of their original fare for a week and I’d say the income for that time was really good, even for a part-time driver. During that one week when Uber still had a high fare, I realized that it’s the easiest way to earn extra income.
I’m easily agitated by other reckless and selfish drivers, but I keep myself in check, of course.
Junior software developer
A lot of people I know who quit Uber did it because they can no longer keep up with the monthly payments for their car loan. So they let other assume the balance or just let their cars get repossessed. Me? I can’t do it anymore.
Allow me to explain a bit. Not so long ago, we were earning pretty much okay, which was just enough to pay for the car every month. However, Uber is no longer lucrative for me. I have to drive longer hours to get what I used to earn months ago. It’s just not friendly for me anymore.
My mom might be mad at me when she finds out that I can no longer pay for it. She was the one who paid for the downpayment of my car as a gift, then she let me take care of the rest.
Do you think you can withhold my name so my mom won’t learn about it first on the internet? Thanks.
Why start a business with Uber or Grab? Because they’re revolutionary and disruptive. If you feel like a company is hellbent to succeed, it’s best to ride on their coattails. Furthermore, being an Uber partner/Grab peer is not too risky and the capital isn’t too burdensome. You can always sell or keep the car once you’re done with it.
I’m satisfied with my gig because it helped me acquire skills and extra income, learn how to manage people, time, and resources, and contribute to public service: by providing rides and jobs.
For me to completely buy into a concept, it has to serve a bigger purpose. This gig does these for me.
The hardest thing? It’s the blue-collar character of the work. At first, I thought that driving for eight hours, five to six days a week after my day job was the easiest thing to do, but boy was I wrong.
Eventually I had to be smart about my future, my health and well-being. After eight months, I found myself a driver and let him work for me. I might be earning a little less but now I have more time in my hands to pursue other ventures. I was also able to give employment to two people.
I’ve made the jump from being a part-time driver to full-time operator, and I like it.