Since then, both have been engrossed in a tussle to win over a Pakistani market that has been pretty resistant to adopting new technologies — be it because of security concerns or just a lack of a trust in companies.
During the past year, I have become a regular user of car (or even bike) hailing services and I have come across pretty much every kind of driver imaginable. Some are fun, loving the car life, while others are quiet, only focused on getting you from Point A to Point B with as little distraction as possible.
I even met a guy who was doing this just to kill some hours — he simply loved how every ride took him to a new place.
Being inside a car — their private car — is way more personal than, say, a taxi or a Rikshaw. It just peels off the barrier between the customer and the seller and, to me, that’s kind of fun. After all, these drivers are also human beings with their own lives and stories.
So, here is to every person who helped me reach my destination on time (and some, who were not so successful, thanks to Karachi’s incredible traffic situation). Here are 10 types of Careem/Uber drivers you meet in Pakistan,
1. The Chatterbox
Want a quiet, peaceful ride to your home back from office? Too bad. Your Careem or Uber guy isn’t exactly the ideal guy for this occasion as he will continue to demonstrate for the next half an hour or so of the trip.
During this time, as you reply half-heartedly to his observations on everything from the current weather to how expensive the latest iPhone is, you will continue to debate inside your head about how low of a rating you will be giving him when the ride ends.
However, sometimes, when you are travelling alone, touring a new city, or are just in the mood, the chatterbox is exactly the kind of driver you want.
2. The Helpful Uncle with Life-Advice
The beauty of this self-employed model car-hailing services have introduced is that there are all kinds of people using them. My favorite kind is the helpful, experienced men who have essentially braved through life and are now passing the time by providing their services on Uber or Careem.
Brimming with experience and knowledge, it’s always a pleasure to hear their thoughts or even an interesting story or two, while stuck in the horrendous traffic jams in the streets of Karachi.
3. The Route Expert
These are the ones who can navigate better than Google maps, making way through narrow streets and deserted roads that you never even knew existed. All you have to do is hop in the ride, utter out your destination and without so much as a moment of thought, they step on the accelerator and off you go.
Not only do you end up at your destination much quicker than expected, but you also save some money on the fare due to the short travel time.
4. The Hobbyist
Not all of the drivers are doing it for the money — some are doing it just for fun! I once met a guy who, bored with his day job as real estate agent, Uber-ed in his free time. Jolly and happy with his life, he told me how this pastime of his led him to discover new places around the city.
Every day, he got to eat at some new place in a corner of the city he hadn’t been to before. And the best part? He was actually getting paid to do it.
5. The I Won’t Go
I am sure anyone who regularly uses Careem or Uber has experienced it at least once. You order a ride, wait for it to come, hop in the car and then the driver says,
I won’t go there.
Sometimes, it’s because the route to your destination is too patchy, or because the destination is too far and the driver just isn’t in the mood. Sometimes though, I have also been refused because I was using a promo code and the driver said he can’t take me if I used one.
Although this is very rare, it is still frustrating when it happens and I make sure to call the helpline (in my case, the issue was resolved within the hour almost every time).
6. The Silent One
Ever wanted to feel like you are in a self-driving car? Well, this is exactly like it, except that there is a man sitting in the driving seat. He will sit there, pretending that there is an invisible barrier between him and you (the passenger) and will only respond when you ask him something or tell him to take a route.
Fortunately, a silent driver can be a blessing sometimes — especially when you are dead-tired and just want to pull the seat back and lie down.
7. The Racecar Driver
A racecar driver is self-explanatory. Like the route expert, this type of driver too will get you there way ahead of time. However, unlike the route expert, you might feel compelled to fasten your seat belt within a few seconds of getting in the ride.
8. The Uber/Careem Lover
He will tell you how much he earns at his job, how many rides he has per day, and how life-changing this job has been, whether you like it or not. He might even tell you how the company he currently works for is better than the rival if he feels like it.
9. The Music Junkie
While most drivers will let their passengers choose the music they want to play, some just play what they want without even asking. You better hope that their music taste suits yours, or you (like me) may have to sit through some uncomfortable rides.
10. The Hypertensed dude
Have you ever witness a driver who just can’t stop worrying? Be it the longer route you want him to take or the condition of his car after going over a pothole?
I once sat with a guy who definitely wasn’t used to the traditional Karachi traffic and the city’s absolute disregard for traffic rules. In fact, he used to engage the hand-break every time the car stopped in the traffic, even if it was for a second or two. Needless to say, my ear was still ringing from all the cars who honked at us when I got home.