Cab driver by day, Student by night

The buoyancy of the attitude I carried today piloted my decision to try something new. I had a fulfilling night’s hangout with a few colleagues after work to celebrate the arrival of my new car. It was my brother’s and he passed it on to me. So technically it’s not new.

Even though I run out of new ideas, I decided to drive through town without any particular place in mind. I made a few random stops, took some selfies and begun to stress eat. I was tired already because I retired very late to bed. Just when I decided to make a U-turn home, I heard a deafening noise that caused me to experience a total blackout in my thoughts. The air that filled my car tyre had just vacated its premise of abode.

Beads of sweat gathered at my forehead and I began to pant heavily. My hands and feet trembled in unison as I skidded off the road. Grace me! no cars were approaching. I slowly drove to the bus stop, parked and heaved a sigh of relief. Amazingly, I didn’t know what to do. I left home without my purse and I was out of airtime: all I had was data!

But I snapped out quickly. “This shouldn’t ruin my day”, I thought.

I found myself drenched in sweat from the indefensible rays of the sun while I tried to bargain for a reduction in the unremitted taxi fares to my end. Just then, the thought bounced again – to try something new. At least, I still had the rest of the day to myself. I’m my own boss. But just when I thought my day wasn’t getting any better, guess who popped out of the blue? – Ophelia! (a friend).

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After narrating my ordeal, we laughed till we were cracked up then she spiced up my day. She asked if I had ever experienced internet taxi booking in Ghana. I was lost. I said amidst laughter “internet taxi booking, where? here? In Ghana?”. Without answering, she got onto her phone and booked a taxi online (Uber) just as it’s done in Vancouver. Impressing! Within 5 minutes, our Uber arrived.

I engaged the driver in a casual conversation. He is Jeff Mintah. He is an evening student of the University of Professional Studies (UPS). During the day, Jeff is a professional taxi driver and a student at night.

He was neatly dressed. He wore a well-pressed sky blue slim fit shirt, discreetly tucked into a regular jeans pant. His hair was neatly trimmed and his side burns were sharply shaped.

Uber are trendy now. It comes with full air-conditioned private car, unlike the regular taxis we know.

Jeff said: “The swag it comes with is, you don’t go around looking for customers, customers look for you by booking on-line. It’s easy to track. The system registers everything. You cannot attack or abuse your customers because you are being monitored”.

Speaking on the charges, Jeff said: “The system calculates your fare for you. It’s not like the regular taxis that tell you any amount to pay as a taxi fare. With Uber, it’s different. I took someone from here (Independence Avenue) to Sowutuom and all he had to pay was twenty cedis. That’s the right fare you’re supposed to pay but a regular taxi driver will charge at least GH¢50.”

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I can testify to this fact because the charges are very moderate. I booked from the World Trade Centre in Accra to the Independence Square using the Movenpick road, through to Temastation then to the Independence Square, even with the traffic that hit us on that road, the system calculated my fare as GH¢5 only. I expected more but I was charged less.

Jeff speaks very good English. He sounds brilliant. On an average, he makes a minimum of GH¢500. He receives tips from some customers as well. The job is very lucrative. I bet I’m going to apply for it one of these days. Just to give it a try. As it turned out to be, my day wasn’t really bad after all. I tried something new.

So, when you find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere, or you just want to chill out in the AC of a cab, then get onto your phone and book for an Uber. Set your location and destination and you’ll get to see your driver’s picture and vehicle details, and oh! you can track their arrival on the map. It’s that simple! This week, try something new.

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