career

What's it like for female rideshare drivers? We spoke to 2 women and had SO MUCH to ask them.

Uber
Thanks to our brand partner, Uber

During extensive and exhausting lockdowns, Australian women have been hit with a triple whammy. 

A report from the Grattan Institute found women were more likely to lose their jobs, do a lot more unpaid work, and less likely to get government support.

With women now making up almost half the workforce, we are overwhelmingly employed in the industries that have been hit hardest by the government-imposed lockdowns. Think tourism, higher education, and hospitality.

Take Brisbane lady startup, Ange, who launched her gourmet cooking business in the last twelve months. 

"COVID definitely put a dampener on those plans," she tells Mamamia

Fortunately for Ange, she already had a side hustle that has remained an essential service – she’s been driving with the rideshare app Uber for the last five years.

Image: Supplied.

At the time Uber was launching in Brisbane, Ange had left her full-time job to support her partner launching his business and was looking for a way to generate extra income while working part time.

"I used to take the car into the city and work during the day. Then I would pick Uber riders up on my way home from work," Ange explains. 

She didn’t expect that the additional income would be the only bonus: "It gave me company and people to chat to instead of just sitting in traffic," she added. 

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"I like the social aspect of Uber, it’s great.

"You meet so many different people; people I thought I would never meet, and you get to have some great conversations."

Another lady startup and Uber driver, Rosie, has completed over 12,000 trips across Greater Sydney.

She is proudly a "pet-friendly" driver who has opted into accepting Uber Pet trip requests. Not only does she get to hang out with interesting people, she also gets her fair share of canine customers too.  

Image: Supplied.

"I was a full-time carer looking after people," she tells Mamamia.

"Instead, I wanted to be my own boss and work my own hours. I gave Uber a go and on my first day driving I made a few hundred dollars. I was ecstatic; I couldn’t believe it."

Ange describes one of the unexpected and rewarding aspects of the job is peering into the world of strangers and the different things they are willing to share. 

She often gets asked for relationship advice, but not from who you might think. "When blokes find out I’ve been married nearly 20 years, they are quite fascinated to find out how I’ve made it work."

"The women want to share about everything going on in their life, but the guys actually look for advice."

Ange has had many fascinating rides. A stand-out passenger was a woman named Kate. 

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"I arrived at a job and Kate appeared in a bridal gown and said, ‘I need you to drive me to my wedding.'"  

Image: Supplied.

Rosie has been involved in plenty of special celebrations with Uber including charity drives, giving roses and ice-cream away. She said it's one of the most rewarding parts of the job. 

She's even been interviewed by James Tobin on Sunrise: "We had him filming live in my car interviewing me," says Rosie. 

Image: Supplied.

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What about safety?

"I’ve never had a situation where I’ve felt compromised," Ange reassures. 

"Uber's in-app safety features always make me feel connected and protected when I drive. As an added measure, I also share my location with my partner through the 'Share My Trip' feature, so they always have my trip details."  

Rosie also agrees that Uber's in app safety toolkits makes her feel comfortable. "Uber is always developing new technologies to ensure the safety of drivers and rides are the priority. There are certain features in place, like the SOS safety feature, that makes me feel like Uber has my back if I ever need it."

When it comes to freedom and flexibility, both Ange and Rosie say that as women with side hustles, the convenience is as good as it gets. "I can do as many or as little hours as I want and I’ve got the flexibility to scale it up or down whenever my family needs," says Ange. 

"I mainly work during the day but will often drive with Uber before my own socialising begins after 7:30pm."

During a typical week, Ange drives with Uber 15 to 20 hours, which sees her pocketing a few hundred dollars. 

When Rosie was just driving with Uber full-time, a 'good week' saw her take home $2,000 in fares. Now she works part-time as a Protection Officer on the railway, a gig she scored while talking to an Uber rider in passing.

Rosie now drives with Uber as a side hustle in the afternoons and on weekends. During a 'busy week', she says she can still make up to $1,000 in fares. 

"But the best part is meeting people, driving around new areas and having fun," she says. 

For her part, Ange doesn’t understand why there aren’t more women out there driving.

"For mums who only have that space in between 9am and 3pm, you could even make money as a side hustle in school hours and it’s not going to impact school drop-off or pick-up," she says.

If you're looking to start your own side hustle or startup, join the largest network of active riders with Uber. Find out more about driving with Uber here.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Uber
Uber connects tens of thousands of people driving or delivering on its platform to millions of Aussies looking for a ride, a meal or to get groceries delivered. The Uber platform offers a flexible working opportunity that you can tailor around your life, enabling you to earn some extra cash whilst getting connected to your local area and meeting new people.