Now many taxi services offer the "sober driver" service - a taxi driver will take you home in your own car. Although the name suggests that most often this service is used by people under the influence of alcohol, the services advise calling for help in difficult weather conditions, and even if the driver is simply not sure that he can cope on his own. How everything happens, how safe it is and is it worth it, Ekaterina, a "sober driver" from Krasnodar with two years of experience, told us.
Interview: Ellina Orudzheva
Since childhood, I have asked any man - dad, uncle, family friends who had cars - to give me a lead. When I was seven or eight years old, the first car appeared in our family - GAZ-21, the legendary Volga with a deer. I dreamed of driving it, and my dad taught me - even then driving became my passion. Now I have more than fourteen years of driving experience and a car with a manual transmission - although today many do not know how to drive such a car at all.
Once an acquaintance told me that you can earn extra money: download an application for taxi drivers, get an instruction and, following the usual route, take customers along the way, compensating for the cost of gasoline. I drive about ten to fifteen kilometers a day in one direction only, so it is beneficial for me.
When I came to get a job in a taxi service, I was received with interest, but not particularly surprised, since I am not the first woman in this job. Although this, of course, is a "man's world" - some sarcastically ask how "my husband allowed me to drive", or say: "Yes, it would be better if you thundered with pots in the kitchen." But not all. Many admire my courage. The majority understands that a woman is the same driver - they give us a license on equal terms.
I am a very disciplined driver
and I do not violate it - there is no such thing for a client to bang his head on the seat.
And orders come either at night or early in the morning, when there are no traffic jams and it is a pleasure to ride.
I do not feel any awkwardness, and I am not ashamed to once again ask other taxi drivers something. If jokes begin that women are untenable in some matters, I am condescending to this. I prefer to remain silent, rather than enter into a discussion with people who do not understand what they are talking about. I think that someone may just have children's complexes - it's no secret that girls often develop faster and look older than boys at school. Perhaps in adulthood, men try to get rid of this, proving to women that they are now grown up and become tough.
When I was already working as a taxi driver, I saw in the application for drivers a service that you can earn a little more than usual, but for this you need to make a maneuver: get to the client who needs to be taken somewhere, leave your car there, take the client in his car to your destination and return to your car. I thought: "Well, why not, if it is more expensive and in demand?" And ticked the box "Ready to cooperate."
I am able to drive any car, from a tractor to a Rolls-Royce, it is completely relaxed for me. Once I went through a whole course of emergency driving, so I never had any accidents or emergencies. And I am also a very disciplined driver and I do not break it - there is no such thing for a client to bang his head on the seat. And orders for a "sober driver" come either at night or early in the morning, when there are no traffic jams and it is a pleasure to ride. Naturally, only a fool is not afraid of anything - and I was afraid to be alone with drunk men. But I can handle conflict situations, plus there is an "SOS" button in the driver application - if you click on it, other taxi drivers will come to the rescue.
Before the first departure, I talked with the drivers, they told me about their experiences. My husband often used this service, so I basically knew the procedure. Taxi drivers did not particularly teach me how to behave in dangerous situations - and there is nothing difficult, this is not special forces. Here is one recommendation - in the event of a conflict, behave with restraint, not try to curry favor with the client, but find out why and how everything happened.
My clients are usually calm even in alcoholic intoxication: if a person cannot control himself, he is unlikely to use such a service - most likely, he will try to leave on his own. I have not had any cases when a person was taken out in an unconscious state, put in a car and told to take him somewhere. Yes, many are trying to get to know each other, but I always somehow smooth out these moments and reduce everything to a joke. For example, they never asked for a phone number.
If we talk about some type of passengers, then these are accomplished men after thirty who would rather pay twice as much for driving a car than sit behind the wheel drunk. Most often these are those who leave earlier or later than everyone else. Although this service is used not only by people who have drunk alcohol. Sometimes clients drive their car to the airport and do not want to leave it in the parking lot, because it is expensive and unsafe - and ask to transport the car home and hand over the keys to a trusted person. At the same time, I have never met a woman ordering a "sober driver". I think women are more practical in this regard: if they need to pick up the car, they will rather turn to their sister, neighbor, husband. We women trust strangers less.
A typical trip goes like this: the client is surprised, tries to test me as a driver - but then everything becomes calm and the road turns out to be pleasant. A person's ideas about a woman driver are always changing. My first client was an ordinary middle-aged man who had to be picked up at the karaoke. He went out into the street, after five minutes he saw me and asked if I would really overtake his car. He double-checked everything, then realized that I really was his driver, gave me the keys with surprised eyes, and I calmly drove him home.
There was one memorable moment when a passenger was very surprised that a girl had arrived - after all, the gender of the driver was not indicated when ordering. He doubted whether I would be able to operate a manual transmission, asked questions: "Do you know what this is?", "Why are there three pedals, and not two?" and so on. But I see that this is such an average story when a man does not expect a girl to understand cars. He needed to feel confident and safe, I even rode back and forth on the spot and turned around to show that three pedals were nothing new to me - and only then he got into the car. I'm not offended. Now stereotypes are common, and I am even pleased to break them. Once a man, surprised that he was being driven by a woman, said that he wanted to ride around the city. During these few hours, I earned a little more than seven thousand rubles - this is the proceeds of two days. It was the end of spring, an empty road, I really like to drive - everything coincided. After he did not say anything - men in good expensive cars that come out of respectable establishments do not really count money.
Once a man, surprised, that he was being driven by a woman, said he wanted to ride around the city. During these few hours I earned a little more than seven thousand rubles - this is the proceeds of two days
My main job is related to advertising and marketing, so I am interested in people's lives, how they react to events. I check myself - I see a person and try to understand what he is, and then during the trip I communicate and think: "Well, well, but I understand people." At the same time, clients are the first to start a conversation with me - they definitely need to show how worried they are about whether I will be able to drive their car. They give compliments - that I am "pretty", "brave", that I am not afraid to overtake the car in the evening. They ask where I learned to drive and how I got into taxi drivers. A person switches from his problems to you - you are like a vest for him, only you talk about pleasant things. There is no such thing as customers coming out after having fun in a nightclub, bar or pub and crying.
My clients are people from different regions. They often talk about why they came to Krasnodar, what attracted them so much and how we are doing with the nightlife. Recently there was a passenger who arrived from Vologda. He said that he moved because of a divorce from his wife, but the children stayed there and he misses them very much. We found a common language with him - we talked about how the expenses for children had grown, remembered how our parents raised us. And all this happened in a short time, only five to seven minutes. And so with everyone - apparently, I have some kind of karma that everyone tells me everything.
I remember a client who got seasick and fell asleep. We arrived at the place, I shook him and woke him up; then his wife came down, I gave her the keys and my husband and left. In general, 70 percent of men are met by women. Everything happens to them very quickly: they say thank you for bringing them safe and sound, they are surprised, of course, but they treat them with understanding and wish you good luck. I take care of my clients - the main thing is that everyone is safe and sound and safely at home. Once a man went to the intercom and immediately returned and asked him to press the buttons, because he did not hit the keys and forgot the order, and left the keys at home. Nothing helped.
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