Claire left her full time job to become a Private Hire driver in London. In an industry where men make the most of the drivers base, Claire is among the rising number of female drivers choosing to drive with ride-hailing apps. She tells us about her journey from an office based activity to Uber and the other Londonian ride-hailing apps.
I was working as a property manager in an estate agents in East London. I was having difficulties with other staff members which was being ignored by my boss. I started doing Uber Eats in my spare time to top up my income. When I hit a difficult time of the year (such as my dad’s birthday who passed away 2 years ago), I was struggling to cope with my work load and the in-house bullying.
So after a long chat with a work colleague, I decided to jump ship. My work colleague offered to lend me the £100 I needed to get my medical done and she was so supportive. We had the chat on a Friday evening. I decided to pull a sickie on the Saturday to try working Uber Eats all day to see if it was financially viable for me to do instead. Sunday morning I sent my boss my letter of resignation with immediate effect (no notice). Monday, I handed back my office keys & work mobile. My boss told me I was making a big mistake because I didn’t have any savings if things went wrong. But I told him that if I don’t jump now, I’ll never do it. And that not having any money was inspiration to make it work.
When asked about how it feels to work in a male dominated industry, she says:
This isn’t the first time I’ve worked in a male- dominated industry. In 2005-2008, I was a nightclub bouncer. I think the hardest part is convincing the men that I can do the job just as well as they can (sometimes better!).
I don’t take any sexist rubbish from anyone. That includes when male drivers think they can talk down to me in a condescending way, calling me “love” or “darling”. They often don’t know what to say when I ask them if they’d call other male drivers that if they said the exact same thing as me.
From a customer perspective, I get very positive responses from lady passengers. They love having a female driver, especially as some of them have told me they’ve had negative experiences with male drivers being creepy/flirty with them. Male passengers often don’t check who their driver is and get in without realising I’m a woman. They get in the car without looking and call me “mate” or “boss”. Then they realise I’m a woman & get embarrassed.
Some female passengers think they can talk down to me because they think we are on a level where it is acceptable. I’ve had more issues with women riders than men. Men usually just shut up or get out when there’s an issue. Women will start screaming at me and kicking off. Of the 2 times I’ve had to call the police, it’s always been for women.
Alongside her activity with Uber and other apps, Claire also takes advanced bookings via the Smartzi app. For both men and women, some female passengers appreciate being in company of a driver of the same gender and require Claire’s services. It is indeed a need that is not met in the current market. For more info, check Claire’s professional card.
“Drivers Stories” is a series about drivers who are sharing part of their adventure as a Private Hire driver working with rideshare and ride-hailing apps. They are writing and talking about their issues, unique adventures or funny moments while on the steering wheel.