SINGAPORE: "You shouldn't have taken this exit! I haven't met a driver who would take this route to Pasir Panjang! It's not about the money, I'm already running late."
My second passenger on my first day as an Uber driver was furious about my lack of route knowledge.
Just an hour into my 12-hour shift and I was already questioning whether doing this full-time would be worth the hassle.
It was the day after last week’s massive MRT disruption, and there were plenty of people trying to book me as an Uber driver rather than risk trying to get to their destination by train. And with the previous night’s disruption in mind, some people seemed to be on edge.
Uber, a ride-matching app from California, works by having a passenger key in their location and destination. Available drivers then take the booking if they want.
My day began in relaxed style in the wee hours of the morning in a dimly-lit carpark in Serangoon. I was there to collect the keys to a Nissan Latio sedan from 32-year-old Jay, a fellow Uber driver.
As part of our agreement, I was to be her relief driver for a day and would use her car, which was covered under a commercial insurance scheme.
With that, I found myself cutting my teeth as a chauffeur to a myriad of clients.
My first booking came 15 minutes after I hit the road. Punggol resident San needed a lift to Paya Lebar Air Base.
I tried to get the conversation flowing during the 20-minute journey by asking if she was taking an Uber service because of the MRT disruption. She said that she’s a regular user.
"I stay in Punggol and during rush hours, like 7am to 9am, it's really difficult to get a taxi. My worst experience was when I waited for one hour on the road and there was no taxi. I tried to call but there was no cab. It was a really bad experience," she said.
She added that Uber was "always available", hence her preference for it.