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Uber at a glance

•Uber service is available in 83 countries and over 674 cities worldwide.

•Uber fulfills 40 million rides monthly and has over 77 percent of US ride-hailing market.

•Total number of rides by 2016 – 2 billion.

•Gross revenue 2016 – $20 billion.

•Driver’s average income – $364 per month.

-Source: Business Insider and Forbes

Taylor Bisher is going places. The 21-year-old law student is an on-the-go, need-to-be-there-now woman.

Deadlines, studies, commitments. But with no vehicle to call her own, the Coeur d’Alene native and current law student at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Bisher must rely on other options when she seeks to get from point A to point B.

Enter Uber.

The 2014 Lake City High School grad discovered Uber a couple years ago and it’s been an incredible travel convenience, she says.

“I don’t have a car and the Uber app right on my phone makes it’s easy and cost-efficient to get around,” Bisher says. “It’s dependable, and you don’t have to worry about traffic or finding your destination.”

And because Uber services are billed directly to the user’s account, there are no worries about tipping or overcharging. The fee is set before the pick-up.

There are also ratings on each driver, so the client can be comfortable knowing the history of who’s picking them up. Depending on the location, pick-ups are typically under five minutes—longer in more rural areas. For example, a recent call for a ride from Hauser Lake to Post Falls took just 15 minutes for the driver to arrive.

Going the extra mile

Uber driver Jonathan Smith of Post Falls opted to be a driver to help pay for his education. The Florida native is seeking a master’s degree in occupational therapy and says the supplemental income helps.

“It’s kind of a side thing to get a little money,” says Smith, 30. “Uber’s nice because it’s not a 9 to 5 job—I can fit it into my schedule. It’s enjoyable and you get to talk to different people and have interesting conversations.”

Smith has been shuttling clients in the Kootenai County area for about six months and says he loves the job.

“It’s like the easiest job I’ve done,” he says with a quick smile. “You just pick somebody up, take them to where they want to go and there’s no hassle over money. It’s all done online.”

Smith said the income is decent, too. Depending on the trip, he makes between $10 and $20 an hour. “I’ve enjoyed my experience and the side money is nice,” he says.

Flexible hours

Smith says the appeal of Uber was being able to choose his own schedule that allows him to focus on his studies while earning money to put him through grad school.

“I drive about three hours a day, but I’m online for customers a lot longer than that just to seek out rides that work into my schedule,” he says. “Driving Uber is not my main income. It’s something to get a little bit of money so I stay at home and study take the job when it’s convenient.”

And Smith says it’s nice to know that you never know who you’re going to meet and what you might learn.

“I like the diversity. Like yesterday, I ran into a Realtor and my wife and I are looking for an apartment so he was able to give me an idea of places to check out. You just never know who’s going to jump into your car.”

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