A 70-year-old Uber driver from North Carolina, United States, earned over $28,000 (Rs 23.3 lakhs) by cancelling more than 30 per cent of his trips in a year. The driver, who goes by the pseudonym “Bill” shared that he accepted less than 10 per cent of requests and undertook roughly 1,500 trips in 2022, as per a report in Insider.
The man retired six years ago and started working part-time at the ride-hailing platform to earn extra income. However, he does not accept just any ride and ensures that the trips are worth his time. Bill stated that surge pricing in his area has reduced and this has “made him decrease his driving hours”. The man used to work 40 hours a week, but now that the surge has reduced, he now works 30 hours.
He said, “I spend a lot of time saying no. I don’t work unless we have a surge.” Bill stated that he and other drivers were able to make up to $50 per hour during the Covid-19 pandemic when some of the drivers had to temporarily stop driving because of health concerns. However, now, with an increase in the number of drivers, he only makes $15 to $20 per hour.
However, Bill said that he employs several strategies to make decent money. He places himself in locations like airports and bars during rush hours between 10:00 pm to 2:30 am on Fridays and Saturdays which helps with surge pricing. He told the outlet, “When a plane lands and people request Ubers the price jumps drastically. A 20-minute ride goes from $10 to $20 to $40 and sometimes $50. The driver gets just short of 50 per cent so a 35-minute ride can get you $30 to $60.”
The 70-year-old also revealed that he avoids “one-way rides”. Bill recalled a trip where he took a customer to a remote location, approximately two hours drive from his city. Even though he received $27 for the journey, he was forced to drive “for free” since there were no customers on the way back.
However, these strategies do come with some dangers. According to Uber, denying or cancelling a trip because of the driver’s destination may result in the driver losing access to their account. Although Bill hasn’t experienced it himself, he has heard of drivers being barred from airport pickups for cancelling long trips. Drivers who cancel more frequently than 10 per cent also lose access to the company’s rewards programme which has perks like discounts at specific petrol stations.
However, Bill intends to stick to his game plan for the time being and only drive when he believes it will be beneficial. He claimed that not depending on Uber for income is beneficial for him. “I drive to get out and don’t need the money. I love it,” he said.