Uber drivers finding success in Ames


Katy Klopfenstein/Iowa State Daily

Terry Aguilar an Uber driver in Ames told us about Uber expansion in Ames. Aguilar is an Uber driver in his free time. He told us stories during a ride-a-long on Aug. 24. 

Sarah Muller

By day Terry Aguilar is a general welder, but by night he is a click away from being a knight in shining armor to those without transportation. 

An Uber driver. 

The car-service application for smart phones has created an alternative transportation option for students.

“All you have to do is go on your phone, just push a button, and we are on our way,” Aguilar said.

Picking up driving in his time off, Aguilar thought about it as an ideal way to make some extra cash but has found it enjoyable to interact with the customers.

Aguilar said most customers request the service after a night out on the town.

“[It’s important to make] sure that the ones [who] go out and have a little too much fun on a Friday night get home safe and that they are not driving,” Aguilar said.

After requesting a ride on the application, the driver receives a notification informing them to pick up the customers.

To become an Uber driver, one must fill out an online application, which includes car registration, car insurance, driver’s license and a background check.

Aguilar finds it important to pay attention to the time and location of the crowds when he selects the hours he works. 

“On Friday nights or Saturday nights, I’m usually down by Welch,” Aguilar said. “During school hours, I’m usually by Dunkin’ Donuts, just in case someone needs a ride home.”

Aguilar gets most of his fares on the weekends. 

“On a Friday night, it’s nonstop. I don’t even get a break,” Aguilar said.

In just a week of working for Uber, Aguilar already had stories to tell of his adventures being a driver.

“The first night I picked up five girls at Whiskey River,” Aguilar said. “They just started to do Chinese fire drills.”

In case of any accidents or damage to the car due to other cars or customers, Uber has the driver covered.

“I would file [the damage] on the app right then and there, and Uber has a little insurance on themselves as well for that so it’s all covered,” Aguilar said.

A rating system monitors the driver and customers’ satisfaction with each other.

“It doesn’t tell you what the person rates you or why they rated you that,” Aguilar said. The rating system only projects the average out of five stars.

While Uber prides itself on reasonable pricing, costs surge when there are high demands in drivers during a short period of time. Surge pricing is displayed by a lightning bolt in the bottom corner of the application.

“Friday and Saturday night, [it varies between] 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.,” Aguilar said. “It just depends how many passengers are requesting rides at one time.”

Dan Breitbarth, senior in business economics and Student Government president, was the first person to use Uber when it debuted in Ames over the summer.

“[Uber] creates jobs that students have the opportunity to work with flexible hours and provide safe alternatives to drunk-driving home,” Breitbarth said.

He continues by applauding Uber’s accessibility and convenience.

“You don’t have to worry about doing a darn thing,” Breitbarth said. “In the case that you are intoxicated, it doesn’t require as much mental thought to [request] an Uber than to call a cab.”