Stroll by the local basketball courts near the College of Staten Island and you might see a squad of students playing a pickup game. It’s not unlikely that you might see a car with an Uber sticker on it parked curbside, and that the car belongs to driver-partner Usman.
For the past three years, Usman has been fueling his passion for fitness and gaining a reputation on the local basketball court. He’s able to fill his free time doing this in between his classes at the College of Staten Island.
Usman is a senior at the College of Staten Island pursuing a degree in Business Management and Finance.
This year, Usman has taken on 22 credits and plans to explore opportunities to put his degree towards opportunities in Dubai when he graduates next spring.
In the meantime, when he’s not playing a pickup game, he spends his free time picking up riders—while driving on the Uber platform.
Whether it’s in the classroom, on the court, on in the car, for Usman, opportunity is the name of the game. Since making the switch from driving for a cab company the 24 year old has been on the receiving end of job offers, new friends, and most strikingly, a refreshing demeanor from riders.
Usman started driving with a cab company shortly after his family moved to Staten Island 6 years ago. While he admits he was hesitant at first, after a family friend working as an Uber driver-partner referred him, he decided to give it a try.
Now 3 years later and Usman isn’t looking back.
As a cab driver, Usman worked on average, 60 hours/week, sometimes barely having time to take a break to eat, responding to call after call. Now, Usman drives 35-40 hours/week with Uber, and makes double the amount he would at his company.
It just happens that Usman plays pickup basketball with 7 of his friends who also drive with Uber.
But the accommodating schedule isn’t the only notable change Usman has welcomed since becoming an Uber driver-partner; It’s the riders.
“[With cabs] when a rider wants a car…they dispatch it, versus, when a rider wants a car [with Uber], they order it.” When people get into a cab, “…they think they own you.”
Usman explained that the shift of how drivers and passengers connect creates a different experience with riders—one that pleasantly surprised him.
“Uber passengers don’t look down on the driver.”
It’s no surprise after speaking with Usman, why riders give him such a high rating. Moreever, they’ve even offered him opportunity beyond his job as a driver-partner. Usman’s favorite conversation he’s had was with a rider who actually offered him a job at the rider’s company after their great conversation about marketing.
For Usman, being an Uber driver-partner is about moving people—and him—forward.
INSIDE SCOOP ON STATEN ISLAND: PARTNER PICKS
Usman’s local picks for the best places on the Island for:
A night out with friends : Burrito Bar
A night out with family: Staten Island Stadium 16
Sri Lankan food: *Usman declined to comments saying that, “it’s hard for him to like South Asian food because his mom makes it so well.” Looks like we’ll just have to explore somewhere to find out!