Taking Juno in New York City
I spent the last few days in Brooklyn. On occasion, the wait time was exceedingly long for Lyft and Uber or the surge charges were high. I decided to try Juno, which as of right now, is in beta and only operates in New York City. It was quick, inexpensive, and I enjoyed talking with our driver Ahmed (not real name) about his experiences.
Bryan: This is our first ride with Juno. Are you happy driving for them?
Ahmed: I’m very happy. I used to drive with Uber but Juno is better. Basically it is just like Uber but Juno takes less from the drivers. I get just as many rides as I did when I was an Uber driver. Plus, I think the quality of passengers is better.
Bryan: Did you often have difficult passengers?
Ahmed: Not with Juno but often with Uber. People were always asking for things. They want to smoke or they want to eat in the car. I used to let people eat in the car but now I don’t. People would get in the car with gyros and make a mess. They’d drop food on the floor and wipe their oily hands on the seats. Then the next passenger will complain to me about how the car smells. I had one passenger who had a gyro and she promised not to eat it but then she lay down in the back where I couldn’t see it and was eating it. That made me angry because she lied to me. It was late at night so I didn’t ask her to get out but if it had been the daytime, I probably would have. Now if I see someone is eating, then I will lock the doors and politely tell them I will wait until they finish. I don’t even eat in my car.
Bryan: How do you deal with drunk passengers?
Ahmed: They can be difficult. When I was driving for Uber a passenger threw up in the back once.
Bryan: Sorry to hear that. Could you keep some plastic bags back here or something?
Ahmed: It doesn’t matter – even if they have a plastic bag in both hands, the drunkest ones will find a way to miss. As a driver, you know the ones who are very drunk but if you ask them if they are ok, sometimes they will be argumentative – why do you think I am drunk? You think I am going to throw up? You think I am a child? That kind of thing.
Bryan: You have less of an issue with drunk passengers now that you drive for Juno?
Ahmed: Yes, even though I work nights. It helps that I avoid the areas with the most bars and night clubs.
Bryan: I’m guessing the vast majority of your rides are in New York City?
Ahmed: Yes, I take people who want to leave the city to the airport, the train station, or the bus station. I did have someone who wanted me to drive him to Boston once, which I did – but I insisted on cash up front as I knew that I wouldn’t be to find someone from Boston who wanted to go to New York City on the way back. There and back was a long trip.
Bryan: Is there anything you wish passengers knew?
Ahmed: When I am going places, I often take rideshare myself and I go out of my way to be considerate to drivers. Other people should also be considerate and not do anything in their driver’s car that they would not do in their own car. That’s it.
Bryan: Our stop is over here. Thanks!