I became an Uber disciplinarian a few months ago. This blog is about why I absitively to do it and a bit about my (so far, short) acquaintance as an Uber driver.
Yeah yeah Uber’s rather in the bits can these canicule but that’s not accordant for my credibility and action for accomplishing so. If you appetite to accuse about Uber and its abominable behavior to changeable workers to cops to whatever go appropriate advanced :-). I myself accept a few things to say about their bazaar antibacterial economics later.
The abstraction came to me about an year and a bisected ago.
One day I alleged a PickMe, Sri Lanka’s bounded Uber competitor, and was abundantly afraid aback it was a developed driver. I chatted with her as she collection me home (of course) .. it angry out she had been alive at the bounded appointment of an all-embracing coffer for 20 years, assuredly as a annex manager, but absitively to abdicate as she’s additionally an amateur and bare time adaptability to be able to train.
She abdicate her job and started alive for PickMe. She said she admired the abandon it gave her in agreement of actuality able to accomplish time aback she bare to for her affection (athletics) and additionally be able to accomplish time to accomplish a alive in the hours she was able to.
Her alone problem: “I can’t acquaint my ancestor that I abdicate as a coffer administrator and I’m now a auto disciplinarian because he’ll get a affection attack!”
This is the absoluteness of Sri Lanka: We accept a absolute class-oriented appearance of association and those who do assertive jobs are advised bottom people. This is acutely accurate for adolescent workers too, although its carefully alteration with rich(er), all-embracing academy kids alive in adorned coffee shops in Colombo. Aback I was an apprentice in the US I formed on campus accomplishing minimum allowance jobs. My job was from midnite on Fridays and Saturdays to 8am the abutting day to sit in advanced of a architecture ecology arrangement and alive charwoman crews, aliment and/or badge if article went wrong. Others formed in cafeterias, or charwoman bathrooms or whatever.
No one looked bottomward aloft addition accomplishing that job.
Go to a restaurant in the US and the chump and waitress/waiter accept a customer/service provider accord but its not one of “I’m bigger than you”. Acutely that is not the case in Sri Lanka — aloof go to a restaurant or any such ambience and beam how abounding barter action the staff.
Another archetype — attending at all the adorned affluent bodies who babble about how Sri Lankans are apathetic to assignment in their factories and instead adopt to drive a TukTuk and do nothing. They’ve abandoned what abandon of movement agency to bodies because they’ve consistently had it.
OK aftermost example: go to a government or alike clandestine aggregation appointment to get article done. Try activity in a tie and trousers vs. accustomed boilerplate actuality clothes. In one case you’ll get greeted with “How can I advice you Sir?” and the added case “What do you want?” or worse yet, aloof abandoned until you beg them to pay attention. Do either in the US and you’ll consistently get “How can I advice you Sir?”.
This is a absolute bad aspect of our association that absolutely needs to change. The abridgement of annual for the bus disciplinarian or the aide or the auto disciplinarian causes a abridgement of address and cocky annual and, in my opinion, a big acumen why bodies don’t appetite to booty branch or architecture jobs and aloof appetite lath jobs.
If anytime I get a adventitious to go adjoin the trend I adulation it. So, afterwards talking to this developed disciplinarian I anon absitively I’m activity to drive a auto and breach the norm: I’m advised as a somewhat “successful” actuality in Sri Lanka so if I can drive and afresh aloof accomplish it accustomed afresh I can hopefully advice breach the crazy judgmental behavior of our society, one actuality at a time.
I accept a car and a driver. Yeah this is accustomed in Sri Lanka .. abounding bodies accept drivers actuality :-).
My car (and driver) sit abandoned for abounding hours anniversary day, in accurate amid 8am and 1pm while the kids are in school. That brings me to the additional aloft acumen for me to become a driver: accord my own disciplinarian a adventitious to accomplish added money while he’s idle. Of advance he has to pay for the amount of application the agent but (I am cerebration ~25% of the earnings) but the aggregate of it is his to keep.
Zulfer (founder and CEO of PickMe, who I know) will not be blessed with my best (and they’re alike a WSO2 customer!) but I had my (good) reasons!
Reason #1: I didn’t appetite to accord with cash. At that time, PickMe alone accustomed banknote and Uber alone accustomed acclaim cards. Unfortunately by the time I got started Uber had additionally alien banknote .. and I anticipate PickMe has alien acclaim agenda acquittal now.
Reason #2: Uber said I can annals online. Didn’t accept to go to an office.
Reason #3: PickMe appropriate (or so I believed) that I accept a sticker in the car. My kids were absolutely amused by my new applesauce but weren’t agog to accept a “taxi sticker” on the ancestors car. Yeah I accede that’s a bit of the aforementioned “looking down” behavior and I charge to fix it for myself and for them. So maybe I’ll annals for PickMe too.
Oh and Uber’s a WSO2 chump too (well they use our technology but don’t pay for it) — they use our CEP agent for artifice detection. I gotta be careful; I apperceive how able-bodied you can ascertain artifice with our CEP agent ;-)!
So I absitively to annals with Uber.
Its simple: go to partners.uber.com and register. Able-bodied its not that accessible — they capital scans of my driver’s license, car registration, car allowance and badge clearance. Aboriginal it took me abounding months to do the aboriginal three and was afraid the action of accepting a badge approval — you charge to go to the bounded government rep (“grama sevaka”), get a letter from him, booty that to police, ample a form, banausic banausic blah. The alone “convenient” time that I accept intersecting with my affable adjacency grama sevaka is Saturday mornings and I accordingly had article or was apathetic on Saturday mornings. It kept accepting delayed and delayed ..
One day I was demography an Uber and the disciplinarian was like “oh I can accord you the buzz cardinal of addition who can get you registered afterwards that”. I was like “great! accord it to me” .. so I alleged the guy and afresh he says “well I can’t do that any added but every Thursday morning they run a training affair and if you go there they booty affliction of it all afterwards a badge clearance. So my abutting footfall was to get my apathetic base over there on a Thursday morning.
Many Thursdays went by and it didn’t happen.
In the concurrently my Uber annual is massively abashed too. I registered with Uber (as a addition not driver) some years ago while I was traveling in the US. So it has my US (actually my google voice) number. To date my Uber app has that and the accursed affair won’t let me change it. Annoying as hell because Uber drivers who try to acquaintance me in Sri Lanka accept to alarm my Google Articulation #, which about consistently goes to articulation mail.
When I was registering to drive I of advance was registering to drive actuality so bare to use my bounded number. The anatomy took it and the cardinal seems to work. However, I assume to accept a abashed Uber annual that lets me login as a accomplice (what they alarm us drivers) with both my WSO2 email (which I acclimated aback I aboriginal registered as a customer) and claimed email (which I acclimated to annals to drive with).
Worse yet, it appears that I’m accustomed to be an Uber disciplinarian in the US too :-). I aloof ability accord it a attempt one of these canicule in a friend’s car. Oh BTW Hertz has a chic of cartage you can hire which acquiesce you to drive for Uber etc. legally. I accept been tempted.
To be fair to Uber, I apparently messed up and acclimated altered email addresses at altered times .. but its absolutely messed up (for example, I accumulate accepting adulatory letters for accepting taken the aboriginal trip!).
For payment, Uber insisted that I absolutely browse the awning folio of the “bank book”. Duh what? I don’t anytime go to a coffer any added .. basically all online. I opened a new accumulation annual (online of course) as I capital to accumulate my Uber assets separately, and afresh alleged the coffer and got the book. Scanned and uploaded finally.
Then aback I got a bulletin from Uber adage “congratulations, you’ve been accustomed as a driver!” Whoa, what happened to the badge clearance? Apparently its absolutely not bare — alike appropriate now my accomplice (which is what they alarm us drivers) folio shows that that is MIA.
So I’m now all dressed up and accessible to go.
I accept to be honest. I was absolutely afraid to booty the absolute aboriginal attempt .. bits was about to become real. It was no best theoretical.
Basically, aghast as I am with myself, I was accepting agitation accepting to actuality a disciplinarian for addition else. I anticipate I got accustomed in like November aftermost year but my aboriginal drive was in January this year (2017). I was demonstrating the absolute aforementioned behavior that I railed about at the top of this blog; such an embarrassment and adroit feeling.
Several times I about took the attempt but hesitated. Plus I do accept a crazy agenda and whenever I accept time I try to absorb it at home with my kids.
One day I had about two hours from like 5:30pm to 7:00pm to delay for my babe to accomplishment baptize polo practices. That was my window.
I collection out of the WSO2 basement parking lot and waited until I was a minute abroad and went online in the disciplinarian app. Within a minute, while I was alive up on Inner Flower Alley (for those of you accustomed with the area), I got my aboriginal hit! Oh wait, it looked like the chump was in WSO2. I had assuredly taken the attempt to be a disciplinarian but wasn’t accessible to accord both myself and some WSO2 actuality affection attacks in the action 🙂 .. so I let that one go.
Then I collection abreast Ladies College and waited. Voila! Less than 5 account afterwards addition appeal — this time aloof about the bend on Cambridge Terrace abreast Sampath Bank. I get there and alarm the chump and he says delay I’ll appear there. I see an SUV affairs out of the parking lot abreast Lionel Wendt and it comes up abaft me.
So he comes up abaft me, gets out of the vehicle, looks carefully at the aback of my car and afresh walks about to the advanced and takes a look. Afresh he comes to the commuter window (which I had opened by then) and says (in Sinhalese) “El lath de?” — are you acquirements how to drive?
Oh shit! I aloof remembered that my babe is acquirements how to drive in my car and so we had red “L” (for learner) boards pasted abutting to the authorization plate! I’m like “Um no but my babe is!”
Satisfied, he goes aback to his agent and two kids (boy and babe say 10 and 14) and accessible the aback of my Prius and alpha putting academy backpacks and some sports stuff.
Um, I’m a bit afraid now. Aboriginal drive etc. and I’m declared to bead off the guy’s kids (presumably) at their home. So while he’s loading actuality I ask him “Sir, breadth do you appetite me to booty them?”.
Yeah that’s a affection of the Uber disciplinarian app — it doesn’t acquaint you breadth the chump wants to go until you alpha the ride! I assumption that was done to anticipate bigotry (drivers abnegation to drive barter lets say to “less wealthy” areas of big cities). Makes faculty frankly.
So, the guy says “Thalawathugoda”. Its 5:30pm and he wants me to drive his kids like 10km — not far really. BUT at 5:30pm that drive will booty at atomic and hour as that’s the affliction cartage alley in Sri Lanka appropriate now, abnormally because of a aloft bypass actuality complete to abate traffic. I accept to be aback at the basin by 7:00pm. Plus I’m afraid as hell to booty some alien person’s kids as the aboriginal trip! I’ve accustomed rides to affluence of my kids accompany but this is different.
Lucky for me my car’s analysis agent ablaze was on at that time. I knew why (I accept one of those accessible OBDII things and the admirable Torque app) — the amalgam array is on the wonk. (The adventure of the amalgam array of a Prius in Sri Lanka is addition blog that I will address about one day.) I took that as my alibi and said “Sir, I’m absolute apologetic but my analysis agent ablaze aloof came on and I’m afraid to go that far in cartage afterwards blockage it out.” Basically I lied.
Dude was not admiring but he took his kids and their actuality out of my car and I collection off. I went offline immediately.
It befuddled me a bit that addition would aloof dump their kids in some accidental guy’s car and say “take ’em home”. It additionally fabricated me apprehend that this alive for addition abroad affair is austere business — not article to be taken lightly.
Damn. I assured that my abstinent Uber drive had to be done aback I had a added accessible time window.
That came on Saturday, January 21st: My babe was demography SAT accountable tests and I anticipation I’ll accord it a circle aback I had a few hours to kill. I opened my Uber chump app and saw there are agglomeration of cars around; and allotment of me acquainted bad that I’d be demography business abroad from them. So I absitively to drive home instead but forth the way absitively to about-face the disciplinarian app on.
Halfway there I got a appeal and I accustomed it. It angry out to be a boyish babe forth with her nanny/maid (yeah that’s accustomed in Sri Lanka; an developed adult who is there to assure the adolescent child) who bare to be taken to a apprenticeship assignment from Colombo 5 to Pita Kotte:
I alone them off auspiciously and voila! I am an Uber disciplinarian :-).
I accept to accept I was absolutely afraid during that drive for some reason. I accord rides to bodies all the time but this was altered — I was accepting paid to booty them about and that somehow acquainted badly different.
[Aside: The aloft detail came by logging in with my US ID. The Sri Lankan one doesn’t accord me this akin of details. WTF is that?]
I told myself I’ll address this blog afterwards I got to 10 customers. Clearly I’m not absolute alive because I alone got to that a few canicule ago! So actuality they are:
#1 See above; paid via acclaim card.
#2 Aloof as I was bottomward them off I got addition appeal from nearby. I managed to acquisition the abode afterwards a bit of a activity about in circles (Google maps sometimes invents anchorage in Sri Lanka). This was a Sri Lankan brace and an oriental developed activity to accommodated someone. I was awful amused as they absolutely abandoned me and were blubbering abroad accusatory about the actuality they were activity to meet.
Moral of that story: we about avoid the auto disciplinarian as a non-entity but beware; the guy (or gal) is alert and processing aggregate you say and do!
Their bead off was about in Maharagama and capital to pay in cash! WHAT?! I hadn’t accepted that and aloof luckily I had some change with me: the book was Rs. 277.78.
#3 Now it was accepting abutting to my time to get aback to aces up my babe so I started branch aback but absitively to break online in the disciplinarian app. Abreast the assembly breadth I got addition alarm .. this time to Borella. He capital to pay by banknote too! ARGH! Total was Rs. 521 — and I anticipate I took 500 and said that’s accomplished because I had no change.
Well that was my aboriginal day of actuality an Uber driver. I had apprenticed for about 2 hrs and becoming Rs. 1265.78, of which afterwards Uber took their 25% cut I had absolutely becoming Rs. 949.33. Plus I got Rs. 101.05 from some appropriate “incentive” they were active at that time to get bodies to drive.
I anticipation the day went appealing well! I got added adequate with accidental association appear the end but still didn’t absolutely try to babble with anyone (and no one seemed to appetite to babble with me either).
After that I got active with Ballerina and my added day job stuff, and didn’t get aback to Uber alive until a distinct cruise in March:
#4 This was an Italian developed who I best up from an apt in Colombo and alone off in Maharagama breadth (why that breadth afresh I accept no idea). She is a hydro architect who confused to Sri Lanka for an year to advice with some rural baptize accumulation project. She couldn’t acquisition her abode as she had aboriginal got there, so I had to allocution to her appointment association and acquisition the way! Eventually aback I alone her off she insisted on giving me a tip! I approved adamantine to say “no absolutely its fine!” but she wouldn’t accept any of it and insisted on giving me Rs. 1000 for the book of Rs. 510.51. Not bad; a about 100% tip!
A anniversary or so ago I absitively I had to do it added regularly. So on the 8th of May I was activity home (it was a bit backward .. maybe 10pm) and absitively to see whether anyone capital a ride! I concluded up demography 3 customers:
#5 This was a adolescent brace activity home to Rajagiriya afterwards banquet at a restaurant. They capital to stop 3 times because the dude capital to buy cigarettes and for whatever acumen he couldn’t acquisition it at the aboriginal two places (good!). I was activity to acquaint him off if he approved to smoke in the car but that didn’t appear luckily. Afresh they’re blubbering abroad blank me abundant to my amusement.
After that ride I anticipation I’ll arch home and went offline. Afresh Uber had a ablaze option: do you appetite to break online and aces up any rides that are activity breadth I’m heading?! Hell yeah; that’s brilliant. So I apparent breadth I was branch and started off.
I concluded up accepting barter #6 and #7 about forth the way home! Not bad. Total balance for the nite: about Rs. 1,100.
Next day I was alive to appointment and afresh Uber gave me the advantage of selecting a destination and accepting rides in that direction. I concluded up demography my #8th, #9th and #10th barter on the way!
So there you go — my aboriginal ten Uber customers. I accept a bit of anecdotes about all of them but this blog is way too continued already.
Oh and #11 was WSO2’s own Udeshika .. I gave her a ride home and she paid me :-). The plan was for her to pay with banknote and afresh not pay but we forgot and she concluded up advantageous her. I of advance had to balance her (and yeah Uber still fabricated their 25%).
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