Back in the saddle again

Back in the saddle again

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to have a fare so soon. I must have accidentally clicked the accept button or something. But there it was, a few minutes after launch time, and not only was I not entirely ready to go, I was on the wrong side of the lake.
I’d gone out that morning and bought a quadruple adaptor for my auxiliary power socket. I needed one socket for my GPS, one for my phone, one for the dashcam, and one to offer to my passengers for recharging their devices. I’d sort of squashed it into the centre console and it was a bit of a tangle of cables. I’d sort it out later, but for the moment it wasn’t quite the professional image I intended.
I also hadn’t found the best spot for my phone mount. In fact I was in the process of sorting that out when the fare fell into my lap.
And my phone stayed on my lap for a few hours, because I was too busy to find time to park and set up the phone mount.
Uber was all of a sudden the flavour of the month, and everyone wanted to test out the system.
My first fare was a pick up near Braddon, going to the airport. A little unfamiliarity with the app, and I misjudged a turn, leading to a u-turn and delay. I imagined my passenger tapping her foot and tutting as she watched my antics on her phone; on being assigned a car and driver, a passenger gets to watch them get closer on the map.
But she said when I collected her that I was spot on, no she hadn’t been looking at the app, if I’d arrived any earlier, she wouldn’t have had her bags quite ready.
I handed her the seatbelt, closed her door and began my first Uber drive. Hers, too. There were a lot of first-timers using the app that day.
I had seven fares in the three hours I was on the system. I stopped for lunch and coffee, and to attach my phone mount, and I had to collect my wife from work, so it was a very short day, compared to the twelve hour taxi shifts I’d had in the past.
Busy shift, good passengers, familiar work. Three trips to the airport, two to Parliament House, two to other places. Just regular taxi work, really. I rated all my passengers five stars and three were good enough to give me a similar rating.
Two passengers cancelled within seconds of making a call. I guess they were just testing the app and went a bit too far. I later read that one passenger called up a Uber car and then realised they hadn’t a destination in mind. They ended up making a few circuits of Parliament House and heading back home!
Getting familiar with the app was the biggest challenge. A doddle, really, compared to the horrific experience I’d had on my first day, years ago, as a cabbie, juggling the meter, the computer, the radio and the credit card machine.
All in all, I enjoyed the day’s work. About $30 an hour, less tax and expenses. I’ll never get rich on this.
But riches aren’t judged by a bank balance. Not in my book. The currency I value most are smiles, and I made a happy profit there.

Five star driver
Five star driver

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