It’s been a couple of months since Uber officially launched in Accra. After letting the service mature after a couple of months, I decided to take my first Uber ride.
It was actually quite easy. I pulled up the Uber app, requested for a ride and put in my location. Three minutes later, my Uber car showed up. The name of the driver, the type of car and the license plate number was displayed on the app.
My driver’s name was “Joseph”. The trip took about 15 minutes. During that time, I decided to have a small conversation with my Uber driver and ask him about the service and the whole Uber experience so far. Here’s a couple of things I noted from our conversation.
1. Uber drivers kind of make money
My Uber driver drives for a “company”. So basically, he’s driving a company car. He gets a full tank and is expected to make that last for a couple of days and because it’s not his car, he’s basically on a shift. After his “shift” is done, another driver gets to use the same car he uses.
But does he make money? Umm, kind of. My driver says in a week that he can make about a 1000 GHS (!) But he doesn’t really see that money because the money goes to the company he works for and he just gets a small percentage of those earnings in addition to his base salary (Which can range from 300 – 500 GHS a month)
2. Getting Your Own Car And Driving For Uber Seems Like The Best Route
So with the whole money issue, my Uber driver basically said that he would be making more money if he owned his own car. If he gets his own car, he wouldn’t have to share with other drivers and he could get to keep all the earnings he makes. Maybe the Banks or Car dealership should making deals with these Uber drivers and give out loans or rentals. It makes economic sense if you ask me.
3. Uber is signing up Local Taxi Drivers
So it’s basically confirmed that Uber is signing up local drivers to Uber. My Uber driver said some of his friends who are taxi drivers are getting signed up to Uber and get requests. Unfortunately, people aren’t too pleased when they get taxis when you requests for Uber.
Maybe Uber needs to add some more information to their app when users request for an Uber to state that their rides will be a local taxi. No point in numerous users cancelling when they get a taxi showing up. I’m actually wondering if Uber does training (customer service etc) when they sign up these Taxi drivers.
4. Ghanaians Can be Stuck Up And Plain Rude
Uber is a new service. Of course, adapting to the new system might take some time to fully mature but knowing some Ghanaians, they expect heaven on earth. My Uber driver had some stories of people just being plain rude when requesting for rides. He said he couldn’t find a passenger after she had requested for a ride. Apparently, she was still inside when he arrived at the location and he had to make several trips around the area to try and spot his passenger. Eventually he had to cancel the request when he couldn’t pick her up. She apparently wasn’t happy and basically cussed him out. My Uber driver also had stories of people just being rude, not helping with directions etc.
I can understand the plight of Ghanaian Uber drivers. Not saying some of these Uber drivers themselves aren’t at fault but it wouldn’t surprise me if most of the blame was with Ghanaian passengers.
Those were just a couple of things I noted from my conversation with my Uber driver. When he picked me up, he was thinking I would call him first to confirm if he should proceed with the pick up. Apparently, some people request for a pick up and don’t end up showing up at the location of the pick up or just cancel late. I think that makes a bit of sense. He was just learning from experience I guess.
All in all, my Uber ride was smooth and without incident. I would definitely ride again. I don’t get a lot of Uber drivers in my area, but I would definitely request a ride if I found a driver. The price was pretty good. It was about 14 GHS which seemed fair. It was basically from Osu to the Dzorwulu area.
From the conversation, I’m thinking of actually signing up to become an Uber driver. Seems like there’s lot of benefits and I could make money on the side.
Also, can we all treat our Uber drivers nicely? I know we get to rate them but they also get to rate us as passengers. You don’t want to be that passenger that Uber drivers avoid because you’re a rude and stuck up person. Imagine your Uber driver as a waiter in a restaurant. Hope that helps.