After spending some time at my Chicago office and hot swapping between Uber’s and Taxi’s I had some thoughts that may go against the grain.
It’s trendy to jump on the technology bandwagon. I came from the tech world, it was good to me, I love tech and always will. BUT it seems, if it’s tech, its better, even if its not better.
When Walmart came to town and ran all the small business owners out of town, there was a period of time when the uproar was pretty loud. Walmart was a job and business killer right? Shame on them!
Uber comes into the market and “disrupts” and it killed a lot of jobs that people worked full time, as a craft and replaced it with some full time and some side hustle people. But it was ok to kill some of those full time jobs because, it was tech.
Now I use Uber, have had some good rides and met some cool people \ hustlers! It has so many benefits from outskirt area’s to getting different types of vehicles etc. I look forward to the idea of Uber Emergency where if you run out of gas on the freeway, an Uber will roll up with a gas can so you don’t have to wait an hour or two for roadside assistance (for the record, I have not run out of gas before but I have been close!)
I also appreciate how Uber creates jobs on the fly, as someone that has always has multiple jobs since a young teenager, on the grind, just trying to survive, I really do appreciate the opportunity that Uber brings to many people.
But I Had An Eye Opening Moment Or Two In Chicago
The thing that caught me this time was several back to back Uber trips where the driver, to be honest, didn’t know where the fuck they were going. The swerving and stop and go motion, with one hand on the wheel and another holding their phone for the GPS made me car sick and screwed up a good part of my day. I got to the point where I said screw it, just let me out here. This has happened many times in the past, but this was my tipping point.
Put your phone on the dash at least? But I don’t think it’s big enough for some people to read, so they hold it. Yeah thats what I want, my drivers face looking down while navigating the busy streets of Chicago.
We caught the Bulls vs. Pistons at the United Center and on the way out, we caught a taxi. It was a clear reminder of why I appreciate some of the regular taxi drivers over the side hustle drivers. Very very rarely do I need to explain where I need to go exactly to old school taxi drivers, just an address is all they need. I can screw up and say 340 North and they will catch it and say do you mean 320 North because they know the block and there is no 340. No GPS, no nothing, they just know. The gentleman this evening has been driving taxi’s in the city for over a decade. THIS IS HIS CRAFT
I reflected more on that. It may be just driving, but he perfected his craft. He didn’t treat it as a side gig to get a couple extra bucks for a vacation, this fed his family and paid his rent. Not to say Uber drivers don’t do the same, I have just ran into more side hustle drivers than those perfecting a their craft (you know those Uber drivers that are making a life out of it, they will have a bottled water, gum, mints etc. Not all but some, they take it serious.)
If you hired an Uber driver for an hour, it would cost you $60 to $100 or more per hour. I wanted to map this out since most people only use the service in micro increments.
Can you think of any professional, doing anything, where you would accept them not knowing what they are doing while you are spending $60-$100+ per hour?
And that is where I have a fundamental issue. Many of the come and go drivers can get by, just using tech (GPS) but it does not make for a good experience especially in fast moving traffic and when GPS signals are iffy especially in the city.
Tell me the taxi costs $1 more per ride, ok deal! Getting the right experience is worth every penny to me.
And on the closing note that Uber drivers make more than classic taxi drivers. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t… I have quizzed a lot of drivers, it is hard to tell who gets paid more. I have yet to run into an Uber driver that actually itemizes out all costs for their car, from the leather conditioner to tire shine, understands how their car depreciates etc. I run into the same issue with people that say renting a home is a waste of money vs. buying a home. Then I ask them to keep an excel spreadsheet of every thing they buy to maintain their home from a shovel to a screw and all of a sudden it’s at least a debate now.
I have had my fair share of bad taxi rides as well, it’s not a 100% perfect thing. And we need Uber, and other ride shares.
But dollar for dollar, I want the person that has perfected their craft, that does their job well, that can save me time and spare me the motion sickness while they try to do their job correctly.