Driving for Uber and Lyft combats loneliness

Driving for Uber and Lyft combats loneliness

Mark McCann (left), Dean Ceran (center) and Jason McConahy (right) said they benefit from the social interaction that can come from driving for Uber and Lyft.
Mark McCann (left), Dean Ceran (center), Jason McConahy (right)

  • Making money as an Uber and Lyft driver can be tough, but some drivers value social connections.
  • Being a driver can help people transition into retirement and avoid driver burnout.
  • Not every Uber and Lyft driver has a positive relationship with their customers.

Jason McConaughey, a part-time Lyft driver He sometimes drives 10 hours a month in Las Vegas. But the social benefits of the concert make his time on the road worthwhile.

In 2001, McConahy suffered a serious back injury that forced him to spend most of his time at home. He tried several jobs, but he said work became unsustainable. In 2016, when he and his wife felt their older child was old enough to care for their younger child for a short period of time, McConahy began actively exploring venues for social interaction.

It was during this search that he found. He said most customers prefer a “quiet ride,” but occasionally one will be up for a chat.

“Regardless of the type of passenger, it’s about human interaction,” he told Business Insider, adding, “Driving for Lyft provides me with much-needed and appreciated social interaction outside of my home.”

McConahy is among many driving drivers those who do not work only for additional income. For some, social interaction with the riders is just part of the gig, but for others it’s become more important than that.

To be sure, drivers do not always have a positive relationship with customers. Some Uber and Lyft drivers They told Business Insider they faced everything from rude comments to harassment on the job — female drivers may face its own challenges. And when it comes to making money, ride-hailing is what many drivers told BI brings less income than before.

But as the United States faces a problem, “an epidemic of loneliness,” one that could cost the economy dearly hundreds of billions of dollars a year, riding provided a social outlet for some people.

Business Insider asked six Why Uber and Lyft drivers value the social interaction that comes with driving. BI confirmed its earnings, which reflect how much it earns after platforms are cut and before driving costs.

Driving can help people transition into retirement

Many Americans applied retirement replenishing their savings and reclaiming some of the social interaction they used to secure their jobs.

Mark McCann, a 60-year-old Dallas Lyft driver, started driving part-time in 2021 after leaving a career in sales. He revealed that his previous job required him to be around people all the time, so retirement proved a difficult transition.

While he is primarily driving to increase his income and tax benefitshe said he also enjoys dealing with the riders.

“Throwing has given me the opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the country and the world,” she said.

Larry, an Atlanta Uber driver in his mid-50s, started driving part-time in 2019 when he retired from his retail job.

While he drives in part to supplement his income — he’d earn about $12,000 before driving expenses in 2022 — he says social benefits are 80% of the reason he drives.

“It allows me to go out and meet people and mingle, which I enjoy,” said Larry, whose last name is known to BI but withheld for fear of professional repercussions.

Chatting with drivers can help drivers avoid burnout

Drivers told BI that even if earning money is the main reason for driving, social benefits can still provide some value.

Take the ring, one Arizona Uber driver He started driving in his 70s, mostly out of boredom. Although he considers himself retired, he told BI that he typically drives 40 to 55 hours a week when he’s not traveling.

Rich, who asked to use a pseudonym and spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of professional repercussions, said interacting with drivers isn’t just something he enjoys, but it’s key to getting through long lines and boosting his income. In 2022, he earned more than $80,000 before driving expenses.

“You must love to drive,” he said. “You have to be able to meet people and have an intelligent conversation. Otherwise, you’ll burn out quickly.”

Chatting with customers holds similar value for Dean Ceran, a 60-year-old Virginia Uber driver who works 50 to 60 hours a week. He earned more than $59,000 in 2022.

“Prophets is the money I make and the people I meet along the way,” he said, adding, “I love the interaction with the different people who request Uber rides.”

While conversations while driving offer advantages for some drivers, they are not the only ones who get something positive out of them. Drivers often enjoy having someone to talk to, drivers told BI.

“It’s like therapy,” said the 50-year-old Boston Uber driver, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of professional repercussions. “If someone wants to smile, connect, or just vent, that’s great. I enjoy a variety of conversations.”

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