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Tidbits From Ubering in Los Angeles 2019

Jack of all trades, master of none, had to do side gigs to pay the bills. I have a lot of BS degrees/certificates.

Driving for Uber or Lyft

In Collateral, Max, a taxi driver, dreams of a better life, and faces death. Well, I'm a driver and meticulous like Max: I have a 4.94 rating with Uber and a 5 with Lyft. Let me tell you about my experience driving for them.

Why Uber and Lyft

In the beginning, I signed up for Sidecar and Uber, needed to make some extra money. I really liked Sidecar because the driver can set their minimum price and rate. So I got longer rides. Also, the rider can choose his/her driver. However, the best platform does not win.

I tried to become a US postal worker (I should have chosen to be a clerk). I failed; had to quit because of my gout. It was a 100-degree day in Whittier, CA that summer and I was sweating like a...anyway, with no air conditioner and trying to walk quickly, my ankles started to swell. I finished that day limping back.

Then I tried life and health insurance. I joined a company that had a good relationship with unions. Failed again.

So, I'm back doing Uber and Lyft. Also, some Postmates and Grubhub for a change of pace. Last summer, the Bird scooter was good when it was over $10 for each.

Now, I will try to go into tech. However, at my age, it's harder to learn. So I'd advise you to learn as much technical stuff as you can before the age of 30.

All those certificates and degrees don't matter if you cannot use them...UCLA BA in Economics (took 1 graduate class in business), CA Real Estate Sales License, Series 7, CA Teaching Credentials (failed the writing the first time), Postal Exam 473, CA Life/Health Insurance License.

Well, good thing I can deal with people and clean up. I do Airbnb and have had a Superhost rating since 2016.

1. She Sat in the Front Seat

Most Uber riders sit in the back seat. One night in Hollywood, one lady, "K", sat in the front. The reason, she said, was that it was more interesting to sit in the front and start a conversation. First, she asked where I was from...Korea. Then she said, "I love you" and "thank you" in Korean, my home country.

Wow, that's pretty good I said, although her pronunciation was terrible. What impressed me was that she knew a few words from the Korean Mountain Rabbit song. I vaguely remember my mom singing this to me as a very young child and now makes me a little sad and teary-eyed that I cannot take care of her...she is in a nursing home because she has partial dementia.

Anyway, back to the story. She had learned to say "I love you" and "thank you" in over 20 languages. Of course, she was from New York and I asked her to speak in that accent and she did. But it wasn't as pronounced as on TV or from other New Yorkers I met. The LA life has made her accent slowly disappear.

She hated talking about work and the weather. She noticed that most Asians didn't react well to the "I love you."

Well, it was a positive experience, but I don't recommend talking to most drivers in Los Angeles with heavy traffic and crazy drivers. Just "Hello" and "Goodbye" will suffice.

2. Street Parking in Los Angeles

Finding parking in Los Angeles is tough and watch out for "Except" rules. You can count on parking in yellowing loading zones to park for free on Sundays and after 7 pm, Monday through Saturdays. However, look for the signs for exceptions.

It's getting tougher to find street parking nowadays. Last Saturday, I had to park over a mile away from the restaurant that I went to, so I Ubered it from there. Still cheaper than parking. It's now $15 and up to park in Koreatown LA.

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Ride sharing was once a it's business. Sidecar was the best for drivers and riders but you can't please everyone.

Ride sharing was once a it's business. Sidecar was the best for drivers and riders but you can't please everyone.

3. Good Attorneys Are Hard to Find

A few months ago I picked up a lady, "G," from a restaurant. She mentioned how her mom did not text her...she was running a little late. She was an alumnus of the same high school as me and I missed the opportunity to get her contact info. She was honest and straightforward and soon to be an attorney. It's difficult to find an honest attorney.

I did get contact info for a good architect and stair builder. Wow, I should have stayed in Real Estate. I passed the Real Estate sales exam right after college and decided to not stay the course.

What a waste of all those certificates and degrees I earned.

  1. UCLA BA: It is a BS degree...haha.
  2. Series 7: Lost my savings and my home.
  3. Teaching Certificate: Lost interest. Stupid. Had to go to school 2 more years
  4. Exam 473 (US Postal Exam): Had to quit. Gout attack.

Uber or Lyft

Some drivers in Los Angeles do both...Uber 10 to 1

Some drivers in Los Angeles do both...Uber 10 to 1

4. Will Smith is a Generous Man

I always thought that Will Smith was a funny, generous person from his Fresh Prince of Bel Air days, and from his rapping career and blockbuster hits. I have a negative view of Steve Harvey with his anti-white woman and Asian jokes. My take on Will Smith was confirmed when I gave a ride to a part-time actor. He pushed for giving a raise to a certain over-the hill-actor and keeping the smaller-time actors' pay the same. Usually, when you pay more for another actor in the budget, other payments must be cut but Smith demanded that other smaller actors not get their pay cut.

5. Be Logical and Go into Tech

I met a person in the Tech field and got some useful info. He was originally from France but lived in England. I was right when I noticed his slight British accent. He now lives in SF but looking into living in LA for a few months. Thank you for the info...I forgot his name.

To learn some tech languages, check out Codemy. Or for Apple Swift language, AppCoda. Also, check out YouTube.

If you're committed to being a software engineer and don't want to pay until you are employed, check out Lambda School.

Advice to New Uber/Lyft Drivers

As of March 2019, Uber dropped the minimum ride fare you make from $3.75 to around $2. They need to beat Lyft's minimum fare of $2.

So make sure you take advantage of the consecutive quests and bonuses.

Also, there is no need to get an LAX placard (the thing you need to get rides to and from the airport). I spoke to one Uber driver without one and he gets plenty of local rides. Besides, traffic is getting worse at both LAX and Burbank airports.

I hate carpool rides; many times it's difficult finding the riders. So, if you want, you can stop new requests. I usually stop new requests after I pick up two people. One driver I met turns it off after one.

Go to the hot spots, usually Santa Monica and West Hollywood. Downtown LA is great too, but getting around there is tough.

Although riders rarely tip, it's a good idea to try to talk to riders, and give compliments if warranted. Of course, some riders don't want to talk, so you should be able to sense that. One good thing about driving for Uber and Lyft, it helped me talk a little more.

Differences Between Uber and Lyft


Wait time before charging

2 minutes

5 minutes

Rider cancellation fee



Rating of rider

Must rate immediately after ride

Can rate later (you can give a rider a 3 and not deal with him or her again)

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