Meet Chicago’s TAXI Drivers!

TAXI on UBER

After one week of TAXI in Chicago the early reviews are in and, as usual with Uber, the verdict is that the drivers are the stars! With that, we bring you our own version of Taxicab Confessions, powered by three of Uber Chicago’s first TAXI drivers. Enjoy!

UPDATE – 5/4/12 – Dmitry, who you’ll meet below, is looking for help in writing his next book. You can read more about his initiative in this article, and give him a hand by joining his Kickstarter campaign here.

Dmitry

Dmitry

Hometown: Moscow, USSR
Years in Chicago: 20
Years as a taxi driver: 12
Twitter Handle: @samarov

How did you get into the taxi business?
I needed a job after art school and saw the ad for Drivers Wanted in a Boston newspaper and here I am, nineteen years later, still driving.

What do you like/dislike about it?
Like: No bosses or co-workers; it’s a unique perch from which to watch people.
Dislike: Absurdly long hours; low pay; dealing with rudeness and seeing people at their worst.

What made you want to try the Uber system?
I was invited. I couldn’t say no to (potentially) a lot of new business.

What do you think of Uber so far?
Pretty good. A few kinks to work out still but overall it’s pretty promising. Most of the customers so far have been very excited about it.

I’m sure you have seen many things while out on the road. What’s one of the craziest stories you can share?
Well, I’ve written a whole book of ’em, take your pick. And the stories keep piling up on my blog Chicago Hack. There’s an endless supply of insanity out in these streets.

Rafiu

Rafiu

Hometown – Ogbomoso, Nigeria
Years in Chicago: 19
Years as a taxi driver: 13

How did you get into the taxi business?
I play contemporary African Music. I used to travel to different states and Canada to perform. I play drums and other percussion instruments. I’m going to play May 24th at 6:00pm at Navy Pier. I drive taxi to help support myself.

What do you like/dislike about it?
Like: I enjoy the cab business because most people are very very nice and appreciative and talk. I learn from customers. They are very nice to me – I enjoy what I’m doing.
Dislike: I hate tickets from the city and police.

What made you want to try the Uber system?
Because it something new. I like to try new things. I enjoy trying it because you have to move forward. Every time when new things come out, I like to be apart of that.

What do you think of Uber so far?
I can’t complain! Because what I’m seeing now is that the computer system and the routing is amazing and very nice.

I’m sure you have seen many things while out on the road. What’s one of the craziest stories you can share?
Michael Jordan asked me to lead the way (he drove behind me) to show him how to get to the highway. I got a $50 tip from him.

Gregory

Gregory

Hometown: Chicago
Years in Chicago: 23 years since 1960
Years as a taxi driver: 9 years, 10 months, 11 days, and 3 leap days

How did you get into the taxi business?
My grandfather drover taxi when he moved to Chicago from Texas in 1928. My other grandfather drove limo after serving in WW1, around 1920. So I’m a 2nd generation car service provider. I always appreciate taxi as a special working class option for all Americans if they are in a need of an occupation that allows them flexibility and provides them a life in the great city of Chicago.

What do you like/dislike about it?
Like: I like that I can control starting and stopping of my workflow and you can have fun with different people every day from all over the world
Dislike: When you ask passengers to follow your lead for safety (I require my passengers to buckle up), they don’t have the old fashioned cab culture anymore and will get into a power struggle.

What made you want to try the Uber system?
Because I thought with Chicago being one of the most spread out and congested cities in the world that it would help improve the passenger and cab connection. We lack citywide dispatch.

What do you think of Uber so far?
I think it’s a beautiful and elegant software system that can really take off.

I’m sure you have seen many things while out on the road. What’s one of the craziest stories you can share?
I had the the 5th most powerful person in the US in terms of raw legislative power. I made him put on his seatbelt and he was resistant at first. I told him it was a federal law. He said it wasn’t. Then I told him it should be.

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