Well, yesterday my insurance finally ran out. It's over. I'm not renewing it.
My reasons are several and varied. Any one on its own I could cope with. But not all put together.
1. Too much aggression from people. Being bullied by aggressive people on the road. Passengers with unrealistic expectations. For example, wanting me to stop or wait in places where it is dangerous, illegal or just plain stupid, such as bus stands, zig-zag lines, blind bends or where I am blocking the road. When I try to say no, they give me grief. And to say nothing of the schizophrenic who damaged the car, and would likely have damaged me given the chance. Or the man who threatened to punch my lights out when I was willing the women to hurry up and come out of her house so I could move on ASAP, as the street was so narrow that I was in the way.
When you are moving, often the aggressive black cab driver is your worst enemy (although maybe not for much longer, they are pricing themselves out of business as I speak in the 21st century). When you are not moving, it's the blood sucking traffic warden. Given that they pick on honest people who are just trying to earn a living, it makes me feel as though we might just as well give up trying, let the blasted councils pay us housing benefit to do nothing instead. Sometimes I (and others) wonder why we even bother trying to earn a living when we cannot just simply be left alone to do so in piece.
2. It's not as profitable as expected. I typically spend 20% of my takings on petrol. The office take a large cut, Uber 20%. Then insurance is about £2500 per year. And my wife complains "you're not giving me any money"! Attempting to explain gets me nowhere, she doesn't care about truth, fact or reality. And the money I have left just goes on bills with nothing left for me. Enough said on this one; I think you know the feeling well enough.
3. Another way I get robbed of my pay is via fines and penalty charges. You cannot leave the vehicle for something as basic as going to the toilet without risking a parking ticket. Getting to the toilet in central London or the West End is an absolute nightmare, and it's not easy in most other places. Rarely does one see any public loos nowadays, and even when you do spot one from the road, one often cannot stop or park anywhere near them.
And then there are so called 'moving traffic offences'. It's entirely about revenue, I don't care what anyone says on the matter to the contrary. Every small mistake such as accidentally turning into a no-entry gets you a fine. Even if you immediately realise the mistake, don't cross the line and turn around. I have even had passengers ask me to make illegal turns before. If it was them who got the penalties I wouldn't care less. But of course it's not the passenger is it now? I hate being somebody else's cash cow to be milked at will.
4. Constant distraction from my work.
Being constantly called away from work looses me money every single time. The work has busy and quiet periods. Being called away during the busy periods by my wife looses me money each and every single time. Money I cannot recover. Sometimes I am expected to come away for a whole day to suit her. At Ryan, the other drivers got left alone to earn their pay in piece. But not me, I have to be different don't I? The pattern of work is what it is. If I don't match that pattern, I am prevented from earning. And in self employment, there is no such thing as catching up. Money lost is money lost. And I cannot sustain the losses which quickly add up.
5. Stress. Constant stress. All of the above are causes of stress. At Uber, the above are all causes of stress. And the days I keep getting bad ratings are days on which I am feeling stressed, whatever the original cause. And not only that, I am far more likely to make mistakes, leading to fines or bad ratings when I am stressed. Which just increases my stress level still further. It's a vicious circle.
6. Isolation. Since I started I have come to realise just how much I hate spending all my working life alone. It's impossible to make new friends if you are always alone. I felt this particularly acutely around my last birthday.
Given all the above, the disadvantages far seem to outweigh the advantages of this life. You have to spend 12 hours on the roads just to make things pay. And let's remember, one works to live, only fools live to work. To me quality of life is more important than material gain. Given the above, I have decided to sell up and get out. Renewing the insurance for just three more months will cost another £600. Each time I do renew it, it feels like money I spent God knows how many hours working my arse off for just being thrown away into a bottomless pit, never to be seen again.