The confusion about unaccompanied minors on Uber

Uber does not allow people younger than 18 to sign up for or have an Uber account.

This is what Uber says:

A rider must be at least 18 years of age to have an Uber account and request rides. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by someone 18 years of age or older on any ride.

As a driver-partner, you should decline the ride request if you believe the person requesting the ride is under 18. When picking up riders, if you feel they are underage, you may request they provide a driver’s license or ID card for confirmation. If a rider is underage, please do not start the trip or allow them to ride.

I will never ask a rider to see their ID card for confirmation. The reason? Because I cannot imagine a situation where I believe a person requesting a ride is under 18. Uber says I should ask for an ID card if I believe the rider is under 18. I tend not to believe in things that are not substantiated by evidence.

If a person has an Uber account they must be 18 otherwise they would not have an account. Remember, Uber says:

A rider must be at least 18 years of age to have an Uber account and request rides.

Knowing this, why would I believe a rider is a minor? Why would I ever feel they are under 18? Uber states in black and white that riders must be 18 to have an account and to request rides.

Also, I don’t know how to read ID cards. Living in Maryland, I suppose I could find out a rider’s age if they present a Maryland driver’s license, but then I would need to do math involving the rider’s birthday. That seems like a lot of work, especially when I am not being paid for said work. Uber does not begin paying me until the rider is in my car and I begin the trip in the app.

The confusion about unaccompanied minors on Uber - Bent Corner

What if the ID card is not a Maryland driver’s license? Living and driving in Western Maryland, riders can live in West Virginia or Pennsylvania. I have no idea how to read a West Virginia or Pennsylvania driver’s license, nor is it a skill I want to learn.

What if they do not even have a driver’s license? They are requesting an Uber. They very well might not have a driver’s license. What would I do then? If I wanted to learn how to read each and every type of ID card people may have and then ask people for their ID cards, I would have become a professional cigarette salesman.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Asking for an ID card is an unnecessary intrusion to someone’s personal privacy. It is also a thing someone prone to power trips would enjoy doing if given the opportunity. A person’s ID card not only has their date of birth, but it also has other information a person may not want anyone to know. For example, a person’s full legal name, their sex, their height, and their weight. People should never show their ID card to a complete stranger, especially without a valid reason.

As an Uber driver, I am aware of the fact that many Uber drivers are creepy.  Some even have YouTube channels and publish videos they record of people without their consent.

Considering how creepy some Uber drivers are, showing your ID card to one seems like an especially bad idea.

Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress

BuzzFeed News reported last night that President Donald Trump directed his former personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about his dealings with Russia over a proposed real estate deal in Moscow.

From BuzzFeed News:

The special counsel’s office learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office.

Also reported in the same article was that Trump’s children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump were heavily involved in the Moscow deal. Donald Trump Jr. then lied about his level of involvement when he testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September of 2017.

It’s a witch hunt!

Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress - Bent Corner
Demon-Possessed Witch from Magic: The Gathering (Art: Ryan Pancoast).

From reading the BuzzFeed News article, it certainly seems as though Robert Mueller has the goods on House of Trump. If his investigation is indeed a witch hunt, it would certainly seem Donald Trump has surrounded himself with a lot of witches. I can almost smell the brimstone and eye of newt here in Hagerstown, about 80 miles from Washington D.C.

Does it even matter?

I’m not sure any of this even matters. I wouldn’t put it past Trump to not only pardon his children but also himself. The U.S. Constitution gives the president absolute power to issue pardons as he sees fit. It doesn’t say anything about a president not pardoning himself. The other two branches of government, the Legislative or the Judicial have the power or the authority to rescind pardons.

I don’t think the framers of our Constitution ever envisioned someone like Donald Trump being president.

Would Trump’s followers, the 39 percent of the population who support him, even care if he pardoned himself? I don’t think they would. I think they’d just chalk it up to owning the libs. They’ve supported him up until now. Why would this make them stop?

Update

It now looks like this entire story is as fake as trickle-down economics. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office is disputing the entire BuzzFeed News story.

Lyft changes driver pay rates for Western Maryland

Lyft announced last week that they are adjusting the Western Maryland driver pay rates. They were increasing the per minute amount by 65 percent and decreasing the per mile amount by 16 percent.

Without even doing the math, I approved of these new driver pay rates. I’ve always believed the per minute amount was far too low. I routinely have passengers who want to make a “quick” stop. I don’t mind stopping, I just want to be adequately compensated for the stop.

Most of the trips I drive in and around Hagerstown are the low mileage, high minute variety. Although there aren’t many miles from one end of Hagerstown to the opposite end, it can take time to go from one end to the other. This is especially true if a lot of cars on the road. It’s even worse if there are school buses on the roads dropping off kids and parents who want to speak to the bus driver.

Lyft changes driver pay rates for Western Maryland - Bent Corner
I hate school buses.

The old Lyft driver pay rates

Lyft changes driver pay rates for Western Maryland - Bent Corner

I wasn’t aware of the fact the penalty for the scheduled trip wasn’t the same as the standard canceled trip penalty. I had to cancel a trip because the rider failed to show up and I received only $7.00.

The New Lyft driver pay rates

Lyft changes driver pay rates for Western Maryland - Bent Corner

The new Lyft diver pay rates went into effect yesterday, December 17.

Everything stayed the same except the per mile amount dropped from $0.96 to $.8025 and the per minute amount increased from $0.1275 to $0.21.

If you apply the old numbers to a hypothetical 5 mile, 10-minute trip, it works out to be:

Base Rate:  $1.2375
Miles: $4.80 (5 miles x $0.96)
Minutes: $1.275 (10 minutes x $0.1275)
Total: $7.31

Apply the new numbers to the same hypothetical 5 mile, 10-minute trip, it works out to be:

Base Rate:  $1.2375
Miles: $4.01 (5 miles x $0.8025)
Minutes: $2.10 (10 minutes x $0.21)
Total: $7.35

In conclusion

Lyft changes driver pay rates for Western Maryland - Bent Corner
I drive strangers around in my car for earthly riches, not glory.

I will not see much of a difference in the amount Lyft pays me to drive strangers in my car. If I see any difference, it will be on trips that take longer because the passenger wants me to stop at Dollar Tree to do some quick Christmas shopping. On trips like these, I’ll be making more money than I would have made before.

Want to try your hand at driving strangers for Lyft? Click this link to get started.

Hagerstown Mayor Bob Bruchey is an idiot

Hagerstown Mayor Bob Bruchey posted a comment on Facebook that implied the mayor of London was a terrorist.

Hagerstown Mayor Bob Bruchey is an idiot - Bent Corner
Photo: Brittany Wedd

The mayor of London is Sadiq Khan, born to Pakistani emigrants in Tooting, South London. He is also a Sunni Muslim.

Mayor Bruchey is suggesting that since Mayor Khan is a Muslim, he’s a terrorist. What an idiotic thing to believe, let alone post publicly on social media. Only a microscopic fraction of Muslims are terrorists. Considering there are over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. If Mayor Bruchey was correct and every one of those Muslims was also a terrorist, by now the planet would be a smoking hunk of rock.

To imply every Muslim is a terrorist is like implying every Christian goes to funerals of U.S. service members and holds signs that say, “GOD HATES FAGS.” It would be an absurd thing to suggest. Absurd and stupid.

Hagerstown Mayor Bob Bruchey is an idiot - Bent Corner
God didn’t say he hates fags, he said he hates figs because they’re so high in sugar. God tries to stick to a low carb diet.

The position of mayor in Hagerstown is honorary

Hagerstown Mayor Bob Bruchey is an idiot - Bent CornerHagerstown’s City Council wields all the power in city government. The Hagerstown mayor is more of an honorary position. What happens then when the mayor is someone without honor? To post a comment on social media implying Muslims are terrorists is a very stupid and dishonorable thing to do.

Bob Bruchey lacks good customer service skills

Those of us who live in Hagerstown are Mayor Bruchey’s constituents. Another way of looking at it is we are his customers. I know for a fact some Hagerstown residents practice Islam. To post such an insulting and inflammatory comment on social media suggests at the very least, our major has no customer service skills.

Speaking of customer service, when Mayor Bruchey isn’t representing the people of Hagerstown or posting stupid comments on Facebook, he works at Hagerstown Ford as the Director of Sales. We’ve purchased three cars at Hagerstown Ford.

Hagerstown Mayor Bob Bruchey is an idiot - Bent Corner

After Bruchey’s stupid remark about Muslims, we won’t be buying a fourth vehicle at Hagerstown Ford.  When it comes time to buy another vehicle and if we decide to buy another Ford, we’ll go to Frederick to buy it before we spend another dime at Hagerstown Ford.

Worst day of rideshare driving ever

I don’t know why, but yesterday was the worst day I’ve ever had as a part-time Uber and Lyft driver. It was like somebody came to Hagerstown and gave everyone who didn’t have a car a free one if they agreed to delete the Uber and Lyft app from their phone.

Worst day of rideshare driving ever - Bent Corner

I had a total of five drives yesterday for a total of $22.47 not including cash tips. For some reason, the few riders I did have were being quite generous with the cash tips.

Worst day of rideshare driving ever - Bent Corner

All five rides were with Uber, not Lyft. I don’t even know if Lyft was working yesterday. Normally as soon as I get a ping from Uber or Lyft and I accept the ride, I go to the other app and go offline. I got to the point yesterday where I didn’t even bother going offline in Lyft. What was the point? It was like Lyft forgot I existed yesterday.

Worst day of rideshare driving ever - Bent Corner

Not getting many drives meant I spent a lot of time sitting in the car reading. We had a wonderful spring day in Hagerstown yesterday. It got up to 95 degrees. That’s right, 95 degrees. The perfect temperature for sitting in the car reading a book. It’s not August, it’s May. Whatever happened to four distinct seasons? Is that just not a thing anymore?

To make matters worse, I didn’t sell any WordPress plugins yesterday. I did get a promising email from a WordPress developer asking if I would be available for future freelance work, so there was that shining moment in a day full of economic darkness.

Worst day of rideshare driving ever - Bent Corner

Not driving people around yesterday meant I had a lot of time for other stuff. I stopped in at Walmart while still logged into Uber and Lyft and bought a magnetic dry erase board and a white t-shirt. It meant I spent more money in less than ten minutes than I earned yesterday.

I haven’t read many books on business, but I don’t think that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

And so goes the life of a professional freelancer. It’s a lot of hit and miss. Yesterday was pretty bad, but last month I made more money with selling WordPress plugins, integrating eCommerce onto websites, and rideshare driving than I’ve ever made working at a real job. Last month was a very good month. Yesterday was a very bad day.

Update

After writing this post on Friday I went out and made $134.56 just from Uber and Lyft. That doesn’t even include the cash tips I received. This one-day success more than made up for Thursday’s meager earnings. I guess all I have to do is complain here on my blog about not making enough money and poof, the following day I will rake it in like I’m Thurston Howell III.

Thurston Howell III