Hongkai Jiang is a senior at Clayton High school. He joined Globe sophomore year. He is the review section editor for Globe. The reason he joined Globe is because most of his friends...
Insights on Uber Driving
A brief Q&A session with Physics teacher Gabe De La Paz and his short career with Uber.
October 7, 2017
Q: Why did you start uber driving?
A:I thought that I had some time over the summer. And I thought that uber would be an easy way to make money with that time. I only did it for one summer.
Q: Did you do it with Mr. Peck?
A:I did not. I actually didn’t even know he was doing it until I told Mr. Rice. He was like ‘hey Mr. Peck did that to!’.
Q:When you do uber drives, do you talk to the passengers?
That’s why I did it, I thought it was kind of fun. You pick up some total stranger and you just kind of hangout with them for a few minutes while they’re stuck in your car. So it was kind of neat.
Q: Do you have any memorable experiences?
A: Not really. I think the fun was you pick up random people and you talk to them in the car, take them to the airport.
Q: What type of stuff did you talk about?
A: Most of the time passengers would just ask about how long I’d been driving for uber, if I liked doing it. If they were traveling in town I’d ask them if they lived in town, it was just small talk.
Q:Lyft vs. uber?
A: I will guarantee you that most Uber drivers also drive for lyft in St. Louis.
Q: How do you sign up?
If you go into Uber, there’s a place where it’ll say if you want to work, and it’s really easy. You submit your driver’s license for a background check, you submit the type of car that you have, because there’s a certain year that they’re looking for, and you have to have four doors. You give them your insurance card. There’s really not much to it, that’s why I thought I’d do it, it’s easy, you just sign up, you start, and you go.
A: o why did you not continue Uber driving?
One, you don’t actually make a lot of money unless you drive during super busy times. And the super busy times are around 2 in the morning, when the bars close. And really, the thought of having someone throw-up in my car was not appealing to me.
Q: Do you drive during holidays?
Usually when I’d turn on the app, it’s in the morning. So I’d get a lot of people going to the airport, to work. So there’s this window of time in the summer where my wife would get up and leave for work and my kids didn’t have tennis or anything I had to drive them to, so I’d just turn on the app in my house, and see if anyone needed a ride. There’s actually a surprising amount of people who don’t have cars, and need to be taken to work. So I’d just take a call or two every morning. But if you’re not getting calls back to back you’re not actually making a lot of money. The wear and tear on your car and the gas that you spend actually upsets a lot of the money you make.
A: Did you drive for the whole summer or just part of it?
It was mostly in the summer but it wasn’t the entire summer.
Q: Was it a good experience?
A: It was fun. It was good.
Q: How many rides did you give?
A: A couple dozen. It wasn’t a lot. Every morning it’d just wait in my house for a call. You could sit outside of a hotel someplace and wait for calls, you could sit in downtown Clayton, I think if you put some thought into it you would be pretty busy. Also, Uber was technically illegal, so I didn’t want to give rides in the city. The taxi commission would actually give you a ticket.