I could never drive for Uber. Or for Lyft. Or for however many of those copycat companies that have sprung up in the past couple of years. I can’t even begin to imagine the logistical nightmare, being at the mercy of those who rode with me, for reviews, for validation. And the driving. When I drive I find it soothing. I can’t imagine not being able to listen to whatever I wanted to listen to, dropping people off and picking up others.
If I wanted to do that, I would have gone to cab school.
Yet, the business model of these companies is undeniable. Use the general public to shuttle around the other general public. No worries about parking spaces. No concern with long-term airport parking. No reason for a garage. You get dropped off where you want, and it’s all from the convenience of your own phone. The concept is one of those grand scale ones, but one that would have only come about in this age, where apps are like candy, and everyone could use an extra few bucks.
I’ve never ridden in one. Though, I think I should qualify that. I’ve ridden with people who have become Uber drivers, or Lyft drivers, but long before they had garnered that distinction. I live in the country, and while I’m sure I could get somebody to drive out here to pick me up and drop me off, I’m inconvenient. I imagine them getting my location on their app and either moving on to the next one or getting lost making their way here. There goes convenience.
And I think about what the cab companies are doing to combat this, or if they can even combat this. Will they become as obsolete as the VHS tape? I think of those whose job distinctions are “cab drivers,” and what they will do once the entire enterprise is over, once they’ve been pink-slipped. Will they doff their cabs, trade in their orange vehicles for their regular cars, and move over to the other side? Or will they go to school and learn how to fix refrigerators? Or will they do something else with their lives?
It’s a brave new world, perhaps not quite as Aldous Huxley predicted it, but brave nonetheless. Instead of avoiding strangers we embrace them, or at least their vehicles. We get in, and we hope things work out for the best, that we get to our destinations in a reasonable time and fashion. We get behind the wheels of our vehicles and watch for others who need to go places, and we hope they don’t judge us too harshly once the transaction is done.
Perhaps some day I will use the service. Maybe once, a thousand days from now or so, I might find myself in a semi-large city and need to get someplace that I can’t walk to, or that won’t have parking spaces around. I certainly won’t rule out that possibility, but I still doubt it will happen. Perhaps I just think too much before jumping on board. Maybe I’m just a bit too old-fashioned for this modern world.
But driving for Uber? Or for Lyft? Or for any of those other copycat companies? That’s never going to happen. I just value my driving experience and lack of stress too much, even for a few extra bucks.