Get to Know Your Seattle Uber Drivers!
Uber is known for getting you from Point A to Point B with the greatest of ease, but did you know that we are more than just a pretty app? We are also the people who live, work, and play in your city. So, we wanted to take a minute to introduce you to the people who make Uber so special: The drivers!
These drivers have years of experience under their belts, know Seattle like the back of their hand, and have been known to take Uber’s clients to anywhere from Canlis to Dick’s Drive-In. The stories could go on for hours.
Without further ado, here are the transcripts from our dictaphone interviews….
Name: Aklog Mengesha
Home Town: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Years in Seattle: 6
Years driving professionally: 4
What was your first driving job? Valet, in downtown Seattle in Nordstrom in 2005.
What do you like about being a professional driver? The respect you know. I like it more because whenever people see you with suit and towncar, they respect me more. Everybody likes towncars. Everyone likes a limo. I see a happy face when they see me.
How has Uber changed your business? The best thing they did is make the app. If I don’t know the client in my own business I go around looking for the client. With Uber I can see his name his address. All the information about the client.
If you could change one thing about Uber, what would it be? The network is a little bit slow. Even if I go to wash my hand or Starbucks, even if it is not a big building, I lose the network. Most of the times it’s accurate but sometimes the address is a wrong address and usually a block away. I don’t know if it’s the app or the clients requesting one block away.
Is there anything Uber clients can do to make your job easier? So far I’ve seen everyone is good. The address is wrong sometimes. Some people I have to wait for them outside for long. I called him for 5-7 minutes. Location was totally wrong but they make you wait.
I’m sure you have seen many things while out on the road. What’s one of the craziest stories you can share? A year ago…it was a late night shift dinner and party. They jumped into my car and they were all drunk. I started to smell something. I look back and the guy was throwing up at the back of my car. It was crazy. I had to charge him the next day he had no money.
Home Town: Islamabad, Pakistan
Years in Seattle: 18
Years driving professionally: 17
What was your first driving job? Started with Yellow Cab in the year 1993 in Seattle. I am one of the founding fathers of Orange Cab. There was a lot of problem. I did not like the way they dealt with things. Then I went to Farwest where I stayed for three years. It’s been four years since I’ve been with the towncar business.
What do you like about being a professional driver? More freedom, I can dress up nice, I am driving a nice car, whole different level from the taxi cab . When you are driving a towncar people treat you differently. The clients..the whole thing is different. They take taxi and they take towncars. More and more clients once they use towncars they don’t go back to taxi unless they don’t have a choice.
How has Uber changed your business? Very convenient for the clients and for the drivers. As soon as they request a car, they know where the car is and the driver knows where the client is. We get connected in a click. That’s the best part about this software. Another thing, since I am with Uber I have experienced 3-4 times: People know me by name and customers see me and they go like, “Hey Raja! How are you?” I am getting very famous because of Uber. I love it. It’s like Uber family now…you know?
If you could change one thing about Uber, what would it be? There should be one number where the client can reach you guys and call you guys. It’s all high-tech, we like the service but we want to talk to someone. A lot of companies make reservations, and we don’t, and people want that and I think if we have that we will have more clients.
Is there anything Uber clients can do to make your job easier? The one thing I experience at the airport; the client shows up and they order a car and we are not there most of the time and then they go to a taxi. If the clients coming out of the airport, if they request a car as soon as they land they will definitely get a car vs. waiting to get out and thinking there is no car at the airport.
I’m sure you have seen many things while out on the road. What’s one of the craziest stories you can share? A long time ago I took a guy from downtown to West Seattle, He had some sort of a metal rod and smashed into my head! I have four stitches on my head. I had my hand on my head and my hand was swollen the next day. I jumped out of the car bleeding at 2:00 in the morning. I found myself in front of this house and I asked them to call the cops. He drove off with my cab and it was a high speed chase! He crashed my car, and when the cops found him he got eight stitches after his fight with the cops.
Home Town: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Years in Seattle: 20
Years driving professionally: 16+
What was your first driving job? First job was driving for GrayTop Cab in Seattle in 1994. My friends were driving cabs then in Seattle.
How has Uber changed your business? Since we start with Uber, it look like a slow start and every week I can see a progress. Uber is getting more and more customers every week. When I see that, I know Uber can keep me busy and I know I can make more than the last 5 or 7 years. It’s a good sign and if the the situation continues I know it will be more profitable.
If you could change one thing about Uber, what would it be? To be honest with you, since I join Uber until today I don’t see any problem or I don’t see anything wrong. Sometimes we have the GPS problem, of course, other than that, so far, I have not had any problem. Up until now I’m very happy with the service and the customer relationship. They are very respectful people and professional and hightech people.
I’m sure you have seen many things while out on the road. What’s one of the craziest stories you can share? A few years ago, I remember, I just got a call from Lake City, which is north part of downtown Seattle. It was a lady, I picked her up from a bar on a Saturday afternoon. She asked me, “Do you think I am cheap?” and I said, “No you are not cheap.” She said, “ Do you need me to prove it?” She gave me fifty dollars and the fare was not more than $30. But she said repeat after me, “I am not cheap”. She gave me $50 more, and $50 more, for $150 total. She said , “I make your day!”
Home Town: Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
Years in Seattle: 7
Years driving professionally: 7
What was your first driving job? Drove a truck at the Seatac Airport for 8 months in 2001.
What do you like about being a professional driver? More professional more money. Being a limo driver gets you more relationships and you know a lot more important people. I feel good personally about doing my job.
How has Uber changed your business? It has made me professional and makes me more money I get good pay.
If you could change one thing about Uber, what would it be? Nothing, everything is perfect for me.
Is there anything Uber clients can do to make your job easier? Most of the customers don’t send perfect address and especially don’t come out on time. They make you wait like 15-20 minutes. They should come out on time.
I’m sure you have seen many things while out on the road. What’s one of the craziest stories you can share? I picked up two guys two girls from Fremont at 8pm they requested me again at 11pm. They were drunk and everything and they said, “We love you!” They hugged me and said “Uber is the best!”
Home Town: Asmara, Eritrea
Years in Seattle: 18
Years driving professionally: 15
What was your first driving job? Taxi 1996, Yellow cab. Then I started doing mortgage when I was driving a taxi. Towncar is a by product of mortgage and the mortgage business is still running.
What do you like about being a professional driver? Lets you meet a lot of great people, manage your time, be your own boss. Being flexible.
How has Uber changed your business? The genius of Uber is the consumer decides if they want a ride or not as they can see how much time it might take a car to get there. You go to a restaurant the server tells you your food will come in 20 minutes, and sometimes it takes longer. In the taxi business, the dispatcher will tell you your car will be there in 30 minutes, but it takes an hour sometimes. This is decided by provider. With Uber the decision is made by the clients – based on what computer is telling them and not a human, and the clients take that if it says 10 minutes they are ready to wait for 10 minutes. If 10 minutes is not good enough for them, they will cancel it and they go . That’s why we always pick up happy clients, because they decided they wanted the car and they know exactly how much to wait.
If you could change one thing about Uber, what would it be? I would ask the management to educate the clients. Communication on how to use the app and set the pin. Some kind of video to show them how to use the app it will be perfect after that. App is awesome.
Is there anything Uber clients can do to make your job easier? The clients need to communicate where they are going and they don’t give the exact address. We try our best but we cannot open the door when it’s a busy street.
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 a pick up from Mecca on Queen Anne. The hostess there came out and warned me that the client is very difficult. This is when Princess Diana died. It’s a breakfast cafe. The man comes into the car and was a very angry person saying, “Those Mariners they lost yesterday!” and he was trying to agitate me. I denied him the opportunity of being angry. He sobered down and started saying, “They killed that English woman…” and he started crying about Diana dying. It brings his nice self out. He gave me $30 tip for a $6 ride. I was touched by that. Always challenge any person towards a good direction.
Do you have some “stories from the road?” We’d love to hear your experience! Comment here or tweet at us @uber_sea with your favorite Uber Seattle driver experience.
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