Macklemore’s Bay Area Uber story

Macklemore told a funny Uber story at his SF bay area concert in between songs.

T-mobile Tuesdays came out with some special tickets for the lawn at the Shoreline Ampitheater in Mountainview a few weeks ago. Kesha and Macklemore were headlining their Adventures with Kesha and Macklemore tour through August 5, 2018. Both of them were amazing in concert by the way.

Macklemore decided to take an Uber from his hotel to the venue – about 20 mins away. As he looked up the options, he looked at the UberX and UberBlack options. First he thought that he would try the Uberblack option. The app said it was about $200 bucks. He noted that he was “doing alright” [income-wise], but that he didn’t feel right paying so much for a 20 min ride. He switched to UberX and it was a $23 ride – which he noted was much more palatable.

As he waited, a Nissan Sentra pulled up and brought him to the venue.

When he pulled up to security, Macklemore told the driver to tell them that he “was supposed to be here”. When security denied the driver, Macklemore spoke up and told the guard that he was performing tonight.

The guard looked at the Nissan Sentra and said,”Bullsh*t”.

Anyways, the image seemed funny and the crowd got a kick out of it. Now I’m wondering if he tells that story everywhere he goes. 🙂

Sign up and Drive for Uber and maybe you’ll have some amazing stories yourself – Uber’s $800 guaranteed incentive for hitting 100 riders (promotion changes from time to time)

Traveling and learning about other drivers

Uber is my side hustle. I travel regularly for my primary job so I use Uber to get to the airport and get around town.

Narendra drove me to the airport. I couldn’t squeeze any good stories out of him, but we ran through what we did for taxes and the tip of going to Berkeley for quick rides. I haven’t tried the Uber Eats delivery yet, but he did. He was one of two folks who talked about having smelly food in the car. This makes it difficult to switch to shuttling customers around since the smell will often impact the customer star rating.

While in Denver, Colorado I met Faiz from Yemen. He was a pleasant driver and enjoyed practicing his English. He immigrated to the US and married a woman who was already in the US for 20 years. He had 2 daugthers in 2 years – I let him know I was impressed with his quick 2 work. He was intent on having a boy, but him and his wife decided to slow it down a bit. He noted that Yemen was currently not too safe so it wasn’t a place he was planning to return there. He liked being in the US better than when he was in Saudi Arabia previously. He noted how no one has just one job, they need to hold multiple jobs to live.

MIT Study – so how much per hour did I make in San Francisco?

Lots of chatter this week about the median pre-tax profit for Uber drivers to be $3.37 per hour that resulted from the study by MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research. Latest is that MIT will “revisit” the methodology in their study.

I can share what I made. I drove 103 rides for a total of $927.62 which required me to drive for 51 hours for 1570 miles.

I made $11.89 per hour pre-tax profit.

The MIT study included cost of insurance, maintenance, gas, and car depreciation.

Applying my assumptions:

  • Insurance: $0 – Car insurance was a sunk cost. I need it anyways.
  • Maintenance: $51 – Assuming $388 per year at 12K and that I drove 1570 miles.
  • Gas: $80 for 4 tanks of gas (Hybrid)
  • Car depreciation: $190.23 – Assuming 4th year depreciation is $1,454 for my car for about 12k per year.
  • No tickets, no vomiting
  • Did not count my $1000 driver sign on bonus. (Uber Bonus is $750 guaranteed right now). When I applied my $1000 sign on bonus, it was $31.

Lyft drivers reported $18-21/hour including wait time. (does not include personal costs)
https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/12/lyft-breaks-down-how-much-drivers-can-make/

Uber-ing drugs in the trunk?

Got a ride home from the airport as a customer this time. Uber driver Laura shared one of her stories with me.

When she arrived, the customer put a few things in her trunk. The customer told her she would be bringing the bags to some one’s place a few miles away. Laura’s spider sense tingled so she immediately asked the customer to take his stuff out. She didn’t want to be an accomplice to a crime! That being said, the bags ended up just being a bunch of clothes.

Maybe returning clothes after a bad breakup?

Time to re-upping my Uber papers, car check station didn’t check car again!

My insurance and registration that was submitted previously needed to be re-submitted. I haven’t driven regularly for a bit, but it’s still fun to be able to have access to the driver app and proudly say I’m an Uber driver so I took a few moments to go in. You can’t access the driver app when you are not current with your paper work.

Conclusion – Same car check station, same discipline and rigor to NOT check my car. The Jiffy Lube makes $25 bucks to check the car with 5 mins of paperwork. Neither time, the first time I went and my visit last month, did they bother to look under the hood or anything. I was hoping it was a fluke the first time, but clearly the passion to check the safety of my car for passengers is not a priority. This is less about Uber and more about the Jiffy Lube responsibility. I wonder what they do for regular customers. Certainly lowers my confidence.

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Some Uber driver bloggers have had success sharing their driver sign up code. This is the code I can pass to a new driver to sign up and after a certain number of rides, they get a bonus and I get a bonus. I’ve gotten about 10 texts saying that drivers have started the sign up, but still waiting for my first dollar from that scheme. 🙂

Passive income and the road to financial freedom here we come! . . . or at least some lunch money.

Sign up and Drive – Uber’s $750 incentive for hitting 100 riders (promotion changes from time to time)

Lyft driver sign up promotions are good too.

Top Five #UberFail Moments as an Uber driver

Ultimately this was a fun social experiment discovering meaning out of 100 brief connections with silicon valley strangers as an Uber driver.

Here are the Top Five #UberFails as a driver:

1. Ride #87. Cost conscious 49ers taking Uber Pool to save money.

As I started driving a couple for Uber Pool, I received another request for a pool ride very close by. I drove over and two 270+ lb men holding drinks in hand on the side of the road. There was a moment of fear for all of us on whether we could squeeze into my hatchback with these huge strangers. The two guys were immediately very courteous and polite by saying hello and diffusing the situation with ‘how are you’s’. I checked the couple in the back to see if they were okay and I asked if the new guys would want to wait for another one. Since the first couple only had a short ride, we squeezed in.

Very quickly we learned that the new guys were 49er players trying to make the team and had just played tonite. One played on the offense – 2 catches! The other played defense and sacked the quarterback! I wonder if he got Cal grad Aaron Rodgers or if it was a backup.😛 Despite being fans or players of opposing teams, the folks were friendly and no fights ensued. (Don’t mess with the 2 big 270 lb dudes)

Despite the aura of being NFL athletes, the pair was very cost conscious. They were trying to make the team just like Jimmy Garappolo before he started playing so well. There was a deliberate decision to use pool vs uberX to save money. The hope (as with many pool riders) is that they might not need to share if it’s late at night. The second reason was that they discussed looking for an apartment to share if they made the team. One of the guys discussed finding a decent 2 bedroom condo at about $2700 which is pretty good in the bay area. I’m used to hearing people pay over 3K for a 2 bedroom. I wished them best of luck and would root for them to make the team and have a great season.

Update: The offensive player made the team and the linebacker made the practice squad.

Sign up and Drive – Uber’s $750 incentive for hitting 100 riders (promotion changes from time to time)

Lyft driver sign up promotions are good too.

2. Ride #2: OMG, I picked up my neighbor – I hope he doesn’t recognize me!

Uber pinged me a familiar address. Oh crap – it was a neighbor who only lived a half block down from me. I’m not embarrassed about being a Uber driver, but it feels awkward to me to pick up some one I might know. I drove to the house and no one was there.

Then I got a call from the rider. He explained to me that his Uber app was not adding the address properly and that he was really at a local dive bar. He provided the address and I went over. He had been drinking and he explained to me that a fellow drinker was slurring and mumbling to him so he wanted to go some place else. On the phone, he was very clear about making sure he wasn’t paying a fare (i.e., as a driver there is a “start” slider to trigger the beginning of the ride) until I actually picked him up.

“Where you from?” he asks. I lied to him and told him Milpitas (a neighboring city) so as not to raise suspicion or invite questions about being in the same city. I dropped him off at the next dive bar and moved on.

As I gain courage and comfort in my new job as an Uber Driver, I prefer to remain anonymous. Being recognized by a neighbor while I’m still learning a new job is a bit nerve-wracking. Being recognized by a married, drunk neighbor I’m shuttling from one dive bar to another to increase his chances of meeting a girl may be embarrassing for the both of us. Fortunately, he did not recognize me.

3. No. 50 – First ride of the night resulted in me hitting a black cat.

I was driving a girl from the Philippines who moved to California for a new life. On our way, there were some smaller roads and this black cat jumped in front of me. It stopped and froze as it stared a my headlights. I braked and tried to safely avoid the cat, but then I heard the sound of my car rolling over it -bump, bump over the tire when it tried to make a last second dash away. I won’t be able to un-remember this crunching sound. I feel terrible and never want to hurt, let alone kill an animal. It may have been someone’s pet. The next day I went back to the site with my kids to re-trace my steps and pay my respects to the cat. My daughter sang a mourning song.

The rider did not realize what had happened until I told her. She was on her phone. She was ok.

4. No. 74 Rider: Tell Candy at the Cheetah club for me, her Uber driver says “Hi”! I picked up this pair of students as part of an Uber Pool ride with the friendly couple above. As a standard question, I ask where they were going. The students didn’t say much except that it was near Santa Clara.

#UberFail: Learned that in Uber pool, asking about destination or what your plans are for the night may be a little bit tricky – especially when you’re going to a local strip club.

After I dropped off the other couple, the students ‘fessed up and noted that that it was a guys night out with the boys. He explained why he was being a little bit coy earlier with the other married couple in the car. We laughed about the importance of privacy in the car, then we hit an ATM at a local Bank of America and I dropped them off and wished them a wonderful time.

5. Rider #16 – Woe is the non-married one in a Korean love triangle:

It was 2AM, it was really time to go home. I’m 20 miles away, but I figure I’ll try to find another rider headed in my direction. Seriously, I need to just turn off the app and go home. Ping! I drove to my next stop – a Korean Karoake bar. (Maybe they were singing to the hottest new korean boy band – BTS.) When I got there, I had to wait a bit for the folks to get to my car. After a few goodbyes with their friends, a guy and girl got into my car. He punched in the address . . . Santa Cruz!!!!! Oh man, I’m going the wrong way – an hour farther south from my warm bed. I debated whether to take this fare or not, but it was a good fare . . . especially since the guy was going to need a ride back as well.

I drove the windy road down to Santa Cruz while they conversed in Korean the whole time. The pair had been drinking, so with fear that some one might throw up, I asked them if they were ok. They responded that they were ok and asked if I was ok. Once we arrived at the destination, the pair had a smoke outside and chatted. They hugged and he got back into my car. I invited him to the front seat – I probably needed some help staying awake.

Then things got a bit juicy. He said that he was dropping this girl off at home and that the husband was at home. Every few weeks when they would Karaoke or go out drinking – he would pay for Uber to take them home. What?? He explained that he’s known this girl for 20 years and that he liked her, but that it was complicated. He even said the husband knew that he liked her. Also, she would call him when she needed some one to talk to and he would be attentive to her. He was friends with the husband and the husband would also ask him to make sure his wife was safe. How unfortunate, love that can never fully be fulfilled.

Uber’s $700 incentive for hitting 100 riders

Read more at https://thehuangshow.wordpress.com

Riders #73-78: Privacy – Uber customer secrets, Strip clubs and throwing Las Vegas trip evidence out the window

 

No. 73 Rider: Indian festival, something for everyone? Picked up a couple going home from visiting Indian festival. Great place for the ladies to buy jewelry, clothes, and other trinkets. Husband noted there wasn’t as much for him to do outside of the food, which his wife already knew how to cook well. Good answer buster.

No. 74 Rider: Tell Candy at the Cheetah club, her Uber driver says “Hi”! I picked up this pair of students as part of an Uber Pool ride with the friendly couple above. As a standard question, I ask where they are going. The student didn’t say much except that it was near Santa Clara.

#UberFail: Learned that in Uber pool, asking about destination or what your plans are for the night may be a little bit tricky – especially when you’re going to a local strip club.

After I dropped off the other couple, the students ‘fessed up and noted that that it was a guys night out with the boys. He explained why he was being a little bit coy earlier with the other married couple in the car. We laughed about the importance of privacy in the car, then we hit an ATM at a local Bank of America and I dropped them off and wished them a wonderful time.

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Sign up and Drive – Uber’s $750 incentive for hitting 100 riders (promotion changes from time to time)

Lyft driver sign up promotions are good too.

 

The next day, I was headed to Sacramento so I gave the “set destination” feature another shot and it actually got me there halfway with 3 rides. It just made my trip to Sacramento take about 3.5 hours versus 2 hours. This approach might not work if you don’t get a clean ride all the way.

No. 75. No kid car seat, what would you have done?: I drove aimlessly for 5 minutes and I stumbled onto a request. Mother and her daughter going to a children’s hospital. Friendly, but quiet. I didn’t ask how old the kid was, but probably should have been in a car seat. I have a kid and wish I had brought my car seat in the back for her. I was a bit nervous the whole 30 minute ride that I might get stopped. I know other Uber drivers may have been a bit more hard-nosed about it. What would you have done? 😦

No. 76. When do you stop wanting to celebrate birthdays? Next pair of chatty folks were a pair of friends going out for breakfast. They enjoyed a fun night out, people they were making out with and the great time they had, but didn’t fully recollect. One discussion point was that one person said he had gotten to an age where he didn’t like to be reminded of his birthday anymore. I just turned 40 and recently thought the same thing – and asked him when he started caring. 25 he says. 😛

No. 77. Pokemon Go pokestops and taking over gyms. I picked up 3 people who spent a lot of time talking about Pokemon Go. They were fairly experienced players at levels 22 and 23 respectively and played a little bit while they were in the car. I was impressed since I was only level 12 at the time. They would notice pokestops on the way (pokestops are virtual spots where you can collect poke balls and other pokemon related potions, etc to catch and take care of pokemon). They were proud of passing by Pokemon battle spots called gyms and taking it over as theirs.

No. 78. Throwing Vegas evidence out the window. I picked up a rider who had just returned from Vegas on a guys night out and some business. I was taking him to his suburban home to his wife and family.

On the freeway, he said he was going to throw something out of his pocket out the window. It was several packets of “protection”. It wasn’t something he used, but he wanted to be safe in case something happened when he went out. He wanted to make sure his pockets didn’t trigger any questions or conversations. I’m just glad I didn’t get stopped for my rider throwing something out the window.