All About Being A Ride Sharing Driver
The world is evolving on basically all fronts, and unsurprisingly, the transportation sector is not left out.
There have been several leaps in terms of development and what is definitely one of the most remarkable of these leaps is the digitization of transport. From the convenience of a home, a person can simply use their phone to order a ride to take them to virtually any location within the city.
However, the purpose of this write up is not to talk about the passengers, but rather, the drivers who operate as conveyors, transporting passengers all around with seeming ease.
How It Works
In essence, the mechanism of ride sharing involves three parties. A driver who has a personal car, an online ride sharing platform, and a passenger. If you want to get involved, you need to apply to a ride sharing platform of your choice. The most prominent of these platforms in Canada at the moment are Uber and Lyft. There are a couple of factors that are considered by the sharing platform before you can become an official driver.
1. A good car
Unsurprisingly, the most important factor that is considered is that you need to have a car that is functioning at optimum levels. While making your application, you would be required to send photos of your car, and then eventually, your car would have to be taken for hands-on inspection and evaluation. Usually, the kind of car that is accepted is one whose date of production is not older than 2000. This is not constant for all ride sharing platforms. Apart from age, your car should be in good condition in terms of performance.
2. Driving license
Without a doubt, you need to have a license before starting work as a ride sharing driver. The type of license needed is the regular license which is issued to regular people who have a car. You do not need to have the official license which public taxi drivers are required to have.
3. A good driving record
This is only expected, since no company is willing to hire a driver who has shown tendencies of being accident prone, or who constantly violates traffic regulations.
Some common rules include; the driver must not have records of any major violation of traffic rules such as driving under the influence, or severe reckless driving. Also, the driver must not have committed more than two minor traffic violations with the space of two years. Such minor offences include failure to use your indicator before making a turn, and over-speeding.
However, different companies have different levels of strictness with regards to the quality of your driving record.
4. Personal insurance
This is also one major factor that ride sharing companies consider before recruiting you as a driver. In case of accident or any tragedy, it is expected that your existing insurance policy be up to the standards of your state. Normally, the companies have their own protective insurance measures, but your own personal insurance is needed for your personal safety.
5. Clean criminal record
To find employment as a driver, you must not have any record of being previously convicted. Apart from being convicted, if your record shows that you have committed some levels of petty crime, you might be disqualified. This however depends on the ride share company.
Working As A Rideshare Driver
After you pass the whole inspection process, you are ready to begin work. As a driver, you are always logged in to the driver’s version of the mobile app of the transport company you’re registered with. When a passenger needs a ride, they open the passenger’s version of the mobile app of the transport company. If your vehicle is close by, you will get a notification of the passenger who is looking for a ride from a nearby location. You’ll be shown the name of the passenger, their phone number, their exact location, their destination, and their photo. This way, before even accepting the request of a potential passenger, you can see their destination, and then decide whether or not that particular location is suitable for you. If it isn’t, you can decline the request.
Also, you can view the rating that the passenger has gotten from previous drivers. If you feel the passenger’s rating is low, you can decide to decline the ride. This way, the passenger’s request would be passed on to the next closest driver.
If you accept the request, you would move your car to the exact location of the passenger, if there’s some distance between your locations. You can exchange phone calls to decide an exact pick up location, as the passenger would also be given your details; name, photo, phone number, and location. When you get to the point of pick up, you can ask the name of the passenger and view their photo to be sure that you are not giving a ride to the wrong person. After the passenger gets in, you then take them to whatever location that they imputed as their destination while ordering the ride.
As the ride proceeds, the passenger gets billed per time taken for the ride, or in some cases, by the total distance travelled during the course of journey. The rate at which the passenger is billed is fixed, and it varies, depending on the particular ride company which you are using. After arriving at the destination, you are to click on the “End Ride” icon. Instantly, the amount of money which is the cost of the ride is transferred from the passenger’s bank card to the transport platform. Then, both you and the passenger can give individual reviews of the ride on the app. Then, you receive a weekly payment of all the money gotten from passengers within the past week. Usually, the company takes 20% while the remaining 80% goes to you. This percentage is dependent on the company.
You should keep it in mind that you would have to pay taxes on your earnings. In Canada, you would be considered as a taxi driver, and as such, you would have tax obligations to pay to the government. The rates can be checked out on the official website of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Ride sharing has gained prominence across Canada, because in most cases where the system is functional, ride sharing trips usually cost less than regular taxis for the same distance or time spent for a ride. Due to this fact, a lot of people are choosing to take shared rides, rather than go along with regular taxis. Of course, this has created some unhappiness among the public taxi community, but that has not been enough to stop the number of people who have taken up the job of a shared ride driver as a professional full time job.
There are some factors which make the whole experience of being a ride sharing driver to be profitable.
This factor is perhaps the most important feature of being a ride sharing driver. It is most valuable to people who do not want to work with restricted restricted schedules. As an employed worker who reports to a boss, it can be quite stressful to be expected at work early in the morning, and to not have any free time until late evening when your work is done. If you are seeking another alternative to tight work routines, then being a ride sharing driver is definitely a good choice for you. First of all, you do not need to report to any higher authority, as you are mostly self employed. You can decide to take a day off without being worried about getting fired from work.
Also, if you already have a job, or if you are a student, and you are looking for an additional source of income, this could be one of the best options for you. After classes, or after work, you can decide to take a couple of rides before going home, in order to boost your overall income. If you live in a major city, there’s a good chance that there would still be a lot of activities late into the night. This means that you can easily find passengers, even if the time is late at night.
Overall, if you do not have any other job, you get to create your own schedule, and work in the relative comfort of your car. If you have a preexisting job, or if you are a student, you get to create an additional schedule without needing to affect your already existing schedule.
2. Gain experience
If you keep driving for a long period of time, there is a good chance that you will learn a lot of things. Foremost of this is that you would learn more about navigating the city where you operate. Even if you have not been to a passenger’s destination before, you can always get there with the aid of maps which are available on the ride sharing app. After taking continuous trips on the platform, you would eventually get more familiar with your city, because some of your passengers would definitely have destinations which are places that you have not been to and would not have visited otherwise.
Apart from increasing your geographical knowledge, there is a good chance of you meeting passengers with interesting personalities and ventures. If you are good at conversations, then continuous talk with a large variety of people would definitely increase your knowledge about life and things in general.
3. Cashless payments
Unlike regular public taxi drivers, you have the option of getting paid via online banking methods. This means that all the money that you make from rides get sent straight to your bank account. This way, you are saved from the burden of having to carry cash around. This means that you get to experience a greater level of convenience. Also, this means that your money is more secure, since any potential robbers would not be able to take cash from you.
Other added benefit is that you get to experience a system of transport which is mostly smooth and convenient in its operation.
Just as there are advantages, there are also a number of hurdles which you can face as a ride sharing driver:
1. Restrictive Insurance Policies
Depending on your insurance company, there is a possibility that you would not be compensated in the event of an accident. The reason for this is because a lot of insurance companies do not compensate customers who get involved in accidents while engaging in money making activities. If you are using your vehicle to make money without informing your insurance company, there is a possibility that your insurance will be withdrawn. As a result, you can left without protection of any sort. Therefore, it is best to inform your insurance agency about your business as a ride sharing driver.
As mentioned earlier, the ride sharing company might have their own pre existing insurance policies which cover you in case of an accident. However, some financial experts have stated that the amount of money allocated for these policies is not sufficient for all drivers which are affiliated to these ride sharing companies.
2. Risk from passengers
By deciding to make a living by picking up random people, you are definitely going to be exposed to some risks from the passengers you carry. You cannot be sure of the kind of personality which your passengers have since they are total strangers. There have been incidents where drivers have been attacked verbally and/or physically by their passengers without any form of provocation. A possible way to curb this might be to install cameras in your car. This way, if there is a case of violence against you, the actions of the offenders can be filmed, and can help to ensure eventual arrest and prosecution of the offenders.
Apart from the general risk of accidents, some other disadvantages include; competition from other drivers, restricted movement in some cities, and the fact that the best time to get passengers is during rush hours, which are usually stressful. Also, maintenance costs such as the purchase of gas are coming from your personal pocket.
Conclusively, there are definitely many pros and cons that arise from being a ride sharing driver. If you feel that you can overlook the drawbacks, then the job could actually be what you need to gain earnings.