5 (some shocking) things I learned talking to 1000 Uber drivers.
Over the last four years I talked to every single Uber and Lyft driver I had a ride with and this is what I learned.
1. They are very smart.
I have learned so many things from talking to Uber & Lyft drivers. There is no cheaper way to learn and understand different perspectives. One guy had a PhD in history and philosophy and we talked about politics and he told me to read America’s Strategy in World Politics. Amazing book! I watched many Netflix documentaries based on their recommendations and one time I had a young driver, Victor from Mexico, who was 27 years old and lived in the U. S. since he was a child and who helped me unterstand the U. S. election. A few weeks before the election I asked him: “So Victor, who are you going to vote for?” and he simply replied: “I know you will think I am crazy and I know I should vote for Hillary, but afterall I think its a man’s job.” Seems like these are things that matter to the average voter.
2. They identify themselves with the company — if they do Lyft.
They love the company they drive for, if they drive Lyft and they usually dislike Uber. They will tell you things like “Uber has a bad culture” or “Did you hear about the sexuall harasment case” or “Lyft really takes good care of us”. Uber drivers on the other side will just tell you that “they just started” or “there is more money to be made with Uber” or “this is just a part-time job”. Overall I have heard so many opinions and most of them where in favor of Lyft and not good for Uber at all.
3. They like to talk.
I have never had a driver, who didn’t want to talk. They all enjoy talking and some of them even drive only for the fact that they will meet nice and interesting people. Others love to tell you more about their country, others again love to educate you on their perspective of just about anything. One time I had a driver in Singapore who told me that he likes to drive, because this way he can show people around and tell them about how great Singapore is while learning more about the other countries in the world.
4. They can be really f*ck*d up.
I had it it all, stoned, drunk, tired or just incapable. One time I had a girl, that wanted to drive SUV, but I ordered Uber Pool. She didn’t know what the difference was and how to set up the App. After the ride I helped her getting things in order. Another time a guy who was totally drunk and very tired. It was a short ride, so I stayed, but I tried to keep him awake, while closely watching the other traffic. Poor guy told me that he just lost his job and tried to keep paying the bills with driving — a lot of driving.
5. They are human afterall — and can be really offensive.
On time I came back from Israel and took a ride home from the airport and the guy asked me where I was arriving from. What I didn’t know but wish I would have, he came from Palistine. And this was the beginning of a very interesting ride, where he told me how much he likes Germany and that we should have “finished the job”. It was intense. Very aggresive. I asked him when he moved to the U. S. and was shocked to learn, that he almost spend his entiry life in the western world, but still had so much hate in him. We really need to work on a better understanding of each other.
I love ride sharing services. Lyft & Uber have been one of the best things that happened to people that travel. I wouldn’t ever want to miss them again. One time in London I took a cab and after the ride I just jumped out, said thank you and forgot to pay since that usually happens automatically within the App. My excuse to the cab driver who quickly jumped out of the car and yelled at me “that I usually take Uber” didn’t make it better ;-).