Some highly educated executives prefer to drive for Uber, Ola
BENGALURU: Mohit R is an MBA in corporate finance from Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. He began his corporate career in Siemens, moved to HSBC and his last stint was with Ernst & Young in their project management team in Bengaluru. In April, he quit E&Y to become a driver on taxi-hailing app Uber’s platform.
His passengers are often intrigued by the 28-year-old MBA taking to the wheel. Some senior executives he ferries often engage in friendly chat to understand why he made the shift. “I’ve got at least ten job offers from senior executives I’ve ferried,” Mohit says.
The Bengalurean got behind the wheel after long hours at his earlier job took a toll on his health. “Sometimes I’d clock 65-75 hours at work a week and I ended up having high cholesterol,” he says.
Many of us crib about the city traffic snarls, but Mohit enjoys driving. And he doesn’t consider his decision a social embarrassment. “My mom was fully supportive of my decision. I’m earning close to Rs 80,000 a month, more than I was in my last corporate job. I see this as a short-term opportunity. I may do my own startup one day,” he says.
A number of handsomely paid executives have ditched their corporate jobs and are on taxi-hailing platforms. Some do it part time. Some for the love of driving. And some because the money is really good — many earn Rs 90,000 or more in a month.
Raghunath R is a senior manager for software development in an MNC IT firm. He’s an electronics and computer engineer and has an MBA degree. But he also drives his Chevrolet Optra Magnum three days in a week for Uber. “I have the flexibility to choose what time of the day or night I drive. There is dignity of labour,” he says. Raghunath, however, doesn’t see it as a full-time opportunity. “I’ve recommended some technical changes on the driver-partner log-in and the Uber team has been receptive,” he says.
Deepak S, who spent eight years as a technical engineer in Hewlett-Packard in Bengaluru, joined Ola over a year ago. He chose Ola over other platforms because he wanted to serve an Indian company. He doesn’t regret his decision and he says he has struck a chord with customers by doing things like enabling wi-fi in his cab even before the service was formally launched. “I wi-fi-enabled my car six months ago. My customers take early morning flights and are on conference calls and hence the need for wi-fi,” says the 33-year-old.
Arun Kumar Yadav, who did his post-graduation in geography and post-graduate diploma in remote sensing, enrolled on the Ola platform to augment his income. Today, he earns Rs 40,000 a month by chauffeuring people to their destinations. Yadav recollects his father-in-law feeling sorry about getting his daughter married to a cab driver and not an engineer. “My father joked that he wouldn’t have spent a fortune educating me if I was destined to be a driver. My mother was neither supportive nor angry. But my wife has been supportive throughout,” says Yadav.
It’s difficult to estimate how many well-educated people have opted for using these platforms. Uber and Ola could not provide data. But clearly, the potentially high earnings and the love of driving are persuading quite a few to choose the option.
Car-pool service pilot in Bengaluru:
Uber will pilot UberPool, its carpooling service, in Bengaluru in the coming weeks. Commuters can share a ride and split the cost with another person who requests a ride along a similar route. Uber will notify users with the co-riders’ first name. The service is currently available in San Francisco, New York, Boston, Austin and Paris.