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Random conversations with Uber drivers




For several months now, I’ve been taking Uber at least once a week. This is usually during my coding days or if my schedules are tight that taking the car to a meeting and looking for parking will just be a huge hassle.

During these days, most of the Uber drivers would spark a conversation. The conversations started out with mundane topics such as traffic, gas prices and the usual politics. Eventually, I would steer the discussion towards how the drivers fare with the Uber network. While I won’t ask too many detailed questions, I’d allow them to volunteer the information.

For the most part, the Uber business is still very good. One driver tells me they could still earn as much as Php37,000 in a week. That nets the owner around Php22k after Uber takes its 20% and the driver gets his 20% share as well.

That’s the normal setup — 60% to the owner of the car, 20% to the driver and 20% goes to Uber. If the owner is also the driver, then they get 80% of the proceeds. The driver of the brand new Toyota Fortuner that I got managed to rack up Php93,000 on his first six weeks since December with an average of around 10 to 11 bookings per day. The high revenue could also be attributed to the high sruge rates during the Christmas season.

Of course, this driver is the exception. He basically lives in his brother’s Fortuner for most of the week, plying the routes of Makati and The Fort 7 days a week and almost round the clock. He would still drive up until the wee hours of the morning, picking a lot of late-night partygoers along the way and booking travelers going to and from the airport. He’d sleep in free parking slots and wake up just before 6am so he’d won’t be fined by the traffic enforcers. He has friends and relatives in a few cities in the metro that he’d visit if he needs to take a shower and change up then drive back to his home town in Pampanga once every two weeks to get a new set of clothes.

Other drivers have much less stress with running Uber. One drives his boss to work every day and picks up passengers in between runs. It’s a more cost-effective way to recoup the investment on the loaned car. Another one owns a small fleet of Toyota Innovas and Mitsubishi Monteros that they provide for short-term lease and for out-of-town trips. Many more have just invested in a brand new car thru a bank loan hoping that they’d recoup their mortgage from the profits of running on Uber. So far, it’s working out quite well. That brand new Toyota Fortuner costs Php26,300 a month on a 5 year loan.

Drivers of Mitrubishi Monteros have different storis though. Either I’m just always in luck or most of the Uber Black cars are Montero Sports. About 4 out of 5 Uber Black cars that I get in the last couple of months are Monteros.

Since they’re the more controversial cars due to the SUA issue (Sudden Unintended Acceleration), they share the most interesting and funny stories. During the peak of the SUA issue, Uber drivers would get a lot of cancellations whenever a passenger discovers the one they got is a Montero. That very same day it broke out on TV last December, one Montero Sport driver shared that he got zero bookings for the entire day. Now that the issue has died down, bookings are back to normal.

As more and more SUVs are enrolled into Uber Black, we’re seeing a wider mix of car models although we very rarely see the likes of Nissan Patrols or that Mini Cooper that we used to spot during the first few months of Uber in Manila. Today, the pool is mostly dominated by Monteros.

Majority of the drivers we talked to say Uber is still a really good business. Uber riders are also satisfied with the quality of vehicles, the ride experience and the options. Them surge pricing that occasionally surprised a lot of riders has caused bills reaching over Php2,000 for a Metro Manila ride is indeed a nightmare, it is still the option of the rider to foot the bill or not. That’s perhaps the only biggest compromise the public have to deal with in accepting innovative technologies like Uber.



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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11 Responses

  1. UberRiderX says:

    One of my Uber drivers also told me that Kris Aquino and Ayala own a fleet of 200 uber vehicles each which caused business for the UberX to go down.

    • kuratong_balileng says:

      While it is true that she is an “angel investor” in Luis Manzano’s taxi line LBR Transport Incorporated, Kris stressed that the said company has not invested in Premium Taxis.

      Kris explained: “It has reached my attention that I am being dragged into the LTFRB-Premium Taxi-UBER-GrabCar issue.

      “In particular, I am being accused of #SelfishMotives & #UnfairCompetition.



      “Here are the FACTS: 1. I HAVE NOT BOUGHT NOR OWN 200 VEHICLES EARMARKED FOR PREMIUM TAXI UNITS from TOYOTA.

      “2. I DO NOT OWN ANY TAXI COMPANY THAT WILL OPERATE PREMIUM TAXIS.

      “I DO HAVE A LONG TERM FINANCIAL INVESTMENT AS AN ANGEL INVESTOR w/ @luckymanzano’s LBR TRANSPORT INCORPORATED BUT I HAVE NO DIRECT PARTICIPATION IN LBR’S MANAGEMENT & OPERATIONS.

      “LBR DIDN’T INVEST IN PREMIUM TAXIS.”

      Kris further explained that she fully trusts Luis’s capability to manage his own taxi business without using his family’s influence nor hers for that matter.

      “I INVESTED WITH LBR BECAUSE I HAVE FAITH IN THEIR VISION, MANAGEMENT, AND THEIR GROWTH DONE THE RIGHT WAY- BY HAVING FRANCHISES ACQUIRED THE PROPER WAY WITHOUT USING Luis’s Mom Governor Vi [Vilma Santos], his stepfather Senator Ralph Recto, or me.”

      Kris didn’t exactly name whoever was “spreading malicious lies” about her, but she reiterated that she has earned millions “the honest way.”

      “3. Get your facts straight before spreading malicious LIES about me. 


      “4. I’VE EARNED MY MONEY & CONTINUE TO EARN GOOD MONEY THROUGH HARD WORK, COMMITMENT, AND PASSIONATE DEDICATION.

      “WHY WOULD I JEOPARDIZE OUR FAMILY’S GOOD NAME & REPUTATION WHEN I ALREADY EARN MILLIONS THE HONEST WAY?”

  2. ron says:

    interesting… my co drivers on Uber are saying the exact opposite thing. Are you sure this is Manila? Figures bloated. Looks like you were given the wrong info Abe. Or the drivers paired with you are paid drivers of Uber so they can put in a good word for themselves through you since they know you run a successful blogging site.

    If you really want to know how the operators and drivers are doing on this platform, probably be best for you to join their FB groups, there’s a lot and I’m a member of a few of them.

  3. jet says:

    Isang malaking kalokohan ito.. yung sa 11 trips a day baka d ka makakuha ng 1500 dyan.hay nakoo….

    • ron says:

      tama, o kaya naman eh nuknukan ng yabang yung mga driver na nakausap ni Sir Abe. kawawa talaga ang maniniwala sa ganyang figures dahil napakalayo niyan sa katotohanan.

    • Abe Olandres says:

      He is just one of several Uber drivers. He is an exception because he joined in December and drives almost 16 hours a day and sleeps in his car. As I said, the others (majority) I talked to shared that they don’t make much.

    • Abe Olandres says:

      Based on my daily bills on Uber from Makati to BGC, the fees are between Php200 to Php500 per trip. Let’s say average per trip is Php300 then they get 10 trips a day makes for Php3,000 a day or 90k a month.

    • fuhrer says:

      I think he is referring only to UBER BLACK and not X. Kaya irita yung mga black drivers 2 months ago dahil nagmix sila with uber x, bumaba tuloy ang kita nila

  4. Axel says:

    Can i ask a question po?:) im planning to get my own car para po sa uber. Which car is better an automatic or manual? Mga magkano po ang magiging difference ng kita per day? Malaki po ba ang difference ng kita? Thank you po.

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