What Kaaboo meant for Uber drivers

High pay, dust, free music, barf bags, barf bounties

Uber homepage. Over the weekend Jane from El Cajon made just under $1000 – her best weekend in the four years.
  • Uber homepage. Over the weekend Jane from El Cajon made just under $1000 – her best weekend in the four years.
  • uber.com

Teri from Allied Gardens made $450 over the weekend driving her Hyundai Sonata for Uber and Lyft; much of her “best weekend ever” monies was due to the Kaaboo 3-day music festival (September 14-16) held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Pancit left by Uber customer

Pancit left by Uber customer

“I did have four ladies that I picked up in Mira Mesa that were already having a pretty good time with some drinks,” she said. “They were giggly all the way there but they weren’t obnoxious [as others drinking].”

Teri dropped them off at the “Uber Zone,” the designated Uber/rideshare lot accessed at the Solana Gate off of Via de la Valle.

“I just had these girls jump out at the turn into the Kaaboo drop off [area] and everyone is yelling at me and they’re threatening to cite me,” said Sara. “I’m avoiding [Kaaboo] next year …. these passengers are gonna get me in trouble.”

List of charges customers can be assessed

List of charges customers can be assessed

Some of the rideshare-drivers that did not abide by the venue rules received citations from the sheriffs and policemen standing by; one female driver received a $300 ticket.

“I heard of drivers getting tickets that dropped off in unauthorized places,” Teri said, “I think the ticket was only a little over $40, though.”

Many of the unauthorized drop-offs were initiated by the passengers in mid-traffic; drivers reported about aggressive attendees who demanded they pull over along Jimmy Durante Boulevard.

“It’s really hard to miss the signage directing to the Uber/rideshare lot,” Teri said, “but I know some customers can be very insistent on being dropped at other places. You have to be friendly but firm and let them know that you can only drop them off in the proper place. I always remind them that there’s a big police presence and they ticket us drivers — so I really need to follow the rules.”

Jane, a 37-year-old El Cajon-based Uber driver agrees with Teri about following the rules. Over the weekend she made just under $1000 and it was her best weekend in the four years driving for the company. She requested her name changed for the article.

“Passengers complained that we couldn’t pick them up at the gas station or Denny’s (which are at the corner of Jimmy Durante Boulevard and Villa De La Valle),” she said. “I picked up a lot of people who weren’t very intoxicated because they said that drinks were too expensive inside Kaaboo.”

Sheri, an Escondido-based Uber and Lyft driver steered clear from the venue to avoid sitting in traffic and the partiers.

“I only did one drop-off and that was to the ARCO across from the event,” she said. “I stayed as far away from there as possible.”

Sheri had good reasons as posted on her Facebook: “So I had my second puker tonight after 2.5 years of driving …. but he used the bag; he got a 5-star for being responsible and respectful.”

Not all share-drivers carry barf bags because they are difficult to find locally — but more so, the driver/rideshare company can charge the passenger up to $150 if proper documentation is taken and sent in: including photos of the vomit and a receipt from an auto-detailer.

The Uber app states in part: “$20 – Small interior mess that requires vacuuming or simple cleaning (minor food or beverage spills, dirt)” and “$150 – Major mess that requires cleaning between the window and door or air vents (major bodily fluid messes).”

But many drivers cannot find an auto-detailer late at nighttime when the majority of the vomit-accidents occur.

On the flipside, drivers were reported to have taken advantage of the $150 “barf-bounties” by buddying up with a bonafide auto-detailer, stage a vomit scenario by purposely smearing dog-food looking concoctions on the door panels and then sending in the staged-evidence and a copy of the detailer’s invoice.

When Sheri posted about the puker, most of her colleagues were bothered by her leaving the “pax” a 5-star rating. There was, although, another female driver that was just as compassionate. “I would have given the guy 5-stars too for puking in the bag and being respectful of the car,” she said. “I’ve had riders who made a mess and did not give a (rat emoticon) ass. I made my claims and got my fees but I lost a day of driving because I had to wait for my interior to dry.”

Gwen Wang is a 32-year-old driver from La Mesa; she like Sheri has a barf bag stash for her Uber and Lyft passengers which didn’t help with some of her “paxes” over the weekend. “Sometimes people would smell bad as they had been at the festival all day,” she said.

Wang’s been driving for both companies for three years. She prides her service with a super-clean Toyota Prius in hopes to maintain her 4.9 star rating (out of 5).

“When we got in, we were circled around a dirt lot that made out cars dirty,” she said. “Then when we were leaving, we could usually only leave in one direction: to the right, towards the 5 Freeway. However, because so many cars were headed that way, the traffic was excruciating and ate up valuable time we could spend getting rides.”

Many drivers like Wang, referred to the dirt area at the fairgrounds as the “dust bowl” because they had to clean up their vehicles after making a drop off — to avoid getting a ding on their ratings by their next set of riders.

“Also, the passengers were not thrilled with having to get on a dirt lot,” she said, “then walk a whole entire racetrack inside the fairgrounds before reaching the actual [concert] venue.”

Some of the drivers didn’t mind the traffic and admitted to listening to some of the acts with their windows rolled down: music from Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Katy Perry, Post Malone, and Wiz Khalifa.

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