July 28, 2017 3:43pm
WITH Victoria on the cusp of legalising ride-sharing service Uber, they say signing up to be a driver has never been easier.
But I won’t be picking up passengers any time soon, as neither my car nor I passed Uber’s tests, including a physical examination.
Uber’s new green light hub in Port Melbourne provides a one-stop-shop for anyone keen to start driving for a living.
I joined a steady stream of prospective drivers undertaking an induction at Uber’s new facility in Plummer St, which is open Monday to Saturday.
The new multi-million dollar facility, which opened in March, feels more like an Apple store as new drivers relax on black leather couches while others are signed up on iPads at the tech bar.
The facility has been given a distinctive Melbourne feel to celebrate Victoria’s capital city.
The original names of all Melbourne’s football teams hang on signs overhead while the street names of the city grid have been painted onto the floor to provide a quick knowledge test.
A team of around 40 Uber experts is on hand to provide support to new drivers keen to sign up.
With hundreds of drivers going through the facility each week, the team certainly has its hands full.
The first step for new recruits is to complete the driver application process and create an Uber account before consenting to background screening, which can take up to 10 days.
Drivers now get the chance to upload some personal details about themselves on the new app, which is designed to create some suggested talking points for passengers. New drivers also undergo an on-site medical.
After filling in a quick questionnaire, drivers are assessed by a nurse and a doctor to ensure they are fit to drive.
My initial high blood pressure reading subsided on my second test, meaning I was physically fit to drive.
However, my declaration of colour blindness caused slight concern,
despite me telling the doctor I could tell the difference between a red
and green traffic light.
The doctor, from medical firm Jobfit, wanted me to undergo further
testing on my sight before he was comfortable signing me off as Uber’s
While I was failing in the clinic, my car also came off second best in
the garage as it underwent a stringent vehicle inspection conducted by
independent company RedBook Inspect.
A mechanic put my rather dirty-looking 2011 Peugeot 207 through its paces.
The inspection covered basic mechanical and safety features like the
status of my tyres, brakes, lights, and seat belts.
I was told my car needed four new tyres before it was deemed safe to
take paying passengers — and the child seats in the back would need to
Lucas Groeneveld, Uber state manager for Victoria and Tasmania, said the
new hub was already proving popular with customers.
“It’s about getting new drivers on the road as easily as possible while
maintaining the quality and safety standards that riders expect,” he said.
“Hundreds of drivers come through here every week to inquire about
becoming a driver or UberEATS delivery partner, and there are more than
20,000 driver partners here in Victoria right now taking trips every week.
“People are impressed by the new facility — there’s a little bit of an
Apple bar feel to it.
“There’s a lot of space, and a lot of staff who are really pumped about
Uber so people come in here and leave feeling really encouraged by the
And what makes a good Uber driver?
“Our drivers come from all walks of life, but at the core, our drivers
are friendly, provide a good service to our riders, and have a car
that’s clean and safe,” he said.
“We do provide some water and mints when you first join the platform but
it’s really up to you on what you want to give to your riders.”