Behind the Wheel: The Uber Driver Experience
February 25, 2020
My current youth pastor, Joe Park, not only preaches the words of the Bible, but he also takes people to their destinations. He lives in Philadelphia, PA, but our church is situated in Mouth Laurel, NJ, so he is constantly driving back and forth from church on Sundays, and drives all around the city every other day, making sure people are able to arrive at their desired locations.
“I am currently a full-time dad and a part-time youth pastor, so it was really hard to find the right place to work,” said Park.
Park has one daughter, one son, and around ten youth group kids to look after, so he struggled to find a job that worked around his schedule.
“Being an Uber driver is fantastic. Before I became an Uber driver, I was considering working in a place like Wawa and Giant. But none of those work sites fit my schedule,” said Park.
Since drivers are able to designate their hours, Park, like others, is able to work when and where he can, choosing the locations that suit him.
Park also explained some of the safety measures that came along with being an Uber driver. Some of the safety measures include being fully aware of the car status when driving, being polite to the passengers, knowing that poor attitude will trigger an emotional response from the passenger, and knowing how to use the safety call on the Uber app. The Uber has recently added Ridecheck, which allows drivers to press a state of an emergency which automatically dials 911.
Park also has experienced different types of adventures with his riders. One includes Park driving three hours from the Philadelphia Airport to Virginia because the rider’s flight did not land in Washington D.C.
“His last two options were either to rent a car and drive by himself or call an Uber. Since he had a business meeting early in the morning, he called an Uber. It was me! At that time, if a trip is longer than 45 minutes, the Uber app is supposed to inform the driver if the ride is long distance. But for some reason, the app did not do that. If I had known how far it was, I would have refused,” said Park.
Park’s experience of using Uber and being a youth pastor at the same time shows the flexibility of Uber. In addition, drivers enter into the Uber business knowing the consequences of opening their car doors, for example the mess that riders can make, risk factors and safety risks that can come from riders. However, in more cases than not, Uber has set measures in protecting the rider rather than the driver. The new safety measures help the riders better protect themselves, but besides Ridecheck, drivers are left to their own security. While Park, like others, enters into his Uber vehicle with these measures in place, his experiences with his riders show Uber as a bridge between people: giving an opportunity to meet and form new friendships.
“[In one of my trips] there was pouring rain and thunder throughout the whole trip, but we [Park and the rider] had a great conversation. So we became friends. At the end, he told me that if our family ever visits San Francisco [where the rider lives], he will treat us to dinner. To this day, I still have his personal phone number,” said Park.