Showing posts from 2019

The junior

(The term "junior" is used by graduates and undergraduates to refer to someone in a academic batch below/behind them.) It was a bit of a rainy day. I had decided to turn on my Uber app as usually on days like this, the price of an Uber ride goes up. This is called surge pricing. Some customers have later asked me if Uber increases the prices during rainy times. But there is no such thing, it's a simple matter of demand and supply. Although there should be an algorithm that defines how far the rate per km goes up by, what happens on a rainy/busy day is that every one ends up getting taxis, creating a demand more than the usual. I got my first hire soon after I turned on the app. The customer was on the other side of the road and unfortunately for me, this meant I had to drive about a kilometer further down to turn around. I tried calling the customer and he did answer my call. Fortunately given the circumstance and unfortunately for me, this meant that I had to go arou

It's your lucky day!

It was quite a rainy morning. We were going through the monsoon season, so this wasn't much of a surprise. I decided to start my day early. My first customer happened to be someone who was travelling to the domestic airport nearby. This was bit of a surprise because while it was technically a civilian airport as well, hardly anyone travels from there. The mystery was solved as soon as the customer got in to the car. He was an aircraft engineer and was reporting to work. I hope his work place was dry enough because there was no way he could last through the day with those soggy clothes otherwise. My second hire came in way before the first trip ended. This happens as Uber looks at proximity to the end of the trip when alerting of new hires as opposed to the end time. I was still new to the whole process and accepted the hire without thinking twice. Even before I finished the ongoing hire, I got a call from the new customer, "What exactly is the route shown to you? You ha

First Day

The day before my first day as an Uber driver, I received an email and an in-app notification that my Uber account is active. My original plan was to start the new job on Friday or Saturday, but ever since I got the notification, the need to test it out was the only thing in my mind. "Well, I will check it out this just for today" I thought. There weren't any meetings set for that day for me on my regular job. "If I started an hour earlier than usual, I probably would be able to make to work on time as well". Besides, I knew that Uber does allow the drivers to set up two destinations each day. These were supposed to allow the driver to pick up riders who are going towards the same direction as their destination, at least that was the theory.  At the time, I wasn't familiar with the saying "Best laid plans of mice and men, oft go awry", but that's exactly how it went. I was an hour late than an hour early and decided to pick up whoever th

A preamble

"And what would you do after you retire?" This was the question asked from me most often when I told people I wanted to retire early. "I don't know, I could run an Uber." was my response. While I was never serious when I gave that answer, I think I always had it at the back of my mind that this was something that I could at least try out, and could in an odd way, be fun. While I had many taxis during the period of 2011 - 2015, the time taxi services became affordable and accessible to many Sri Lankans and had at length spoken to the drivers, I had no personal experience being a taxi driver. Besides, after I bought my car, I had used taxi services very sparingly. It is then that I read on Sanjiva Weerawarna's blog that he was trying out being an Uber driver . Him being the founder CEO of one of the biggest tech companies in Sri Lanka, it was quite fascinating to read about it and I think I wouldn't have been the only one who would have wanted to re