Uber driver tells his side of the story
A COFFS Harbour Uber driver has described the ups and downs of the job including tailgating by taxis and people asking him to help them move house.
He was responding to a recent article in The Advocate which indicated a lack of drivers for the ride-share service, which launched in December last year.
The driver, who wants to remain anonymous, says there are approximately seven drivers servicing Coffs Harbour and sometimes drivers from Sydney will turn up on the app.
He has been driving since the service launched and has conducted about 500 local trips and admits the uptake has been very slow and the trips are short.
"This results in a Coffs driver needing to do 25 trips as opposed to a Brisbane or Sydney driver doing 10 trips for the same pay. I'll keep going with it until I get another job," he said.
"There's always two sides to a story. Some passengers have unrealistic expectations but then you might have a big event like that concert on Sunday and most of the drivers were logged off - it was really, really odd.
"I was running around until 11.30 trying to get people home."
When a driver logs on they get a 12-hour shift so if they turn the app on at 8am they must finish up at 8pm so perhaps drivers didn't plan properly for the event.
He encourages more passengers to download the app and consider using the service, particularly when taxis may be in short supply.
"I've seen three Uber cars at the Hoey on Saturday night waiting for passengers with a line of 30 people at the taxi rank."
He has also been frustrated at the airport where Uber drivers wait in the three-minute pick-up zone behind taxis.
"Most passengers from the airport walk straight out the terminal door into a taxi, which is ironic if they have just left a Tiger flight as the taxi fare would probably cost more than the flight."
Recently he had to cut a weekend shift short after picking up a group of "revellers".
"Late night revellers fail to understand you are in someone's private car. Last Saturday night my shift was ended at 2am when I was put out of action by spilled drinks all over the rear of my car."
"While I didn't bill the rider for the clean-up they did however get a one-star rating. Given my car is worth $55k this really annoyed me.
"Another time a rider asked me to move half his house for a $6 Uber ride then complained back to Uber when I said no."
He says people don't understand the rating system.
"Five stars means you've got from point A to point B without any problems. It doesn't mean the driver is the son of God or anything."
With Uber offices only located in major cities he says it's virtually impossible to speak with anyone from the company.
"You get put through to a call centre overseas and they tell you to go to your nearest office which for us is in Sydney. They don't understand that's a 10-hour drive."