Uber drivers and farmers have something in common – they both like wet weather.
The well-known rideshare service launched under rainy skies in Wollongong at noon on Thursday.
But NSW general manager Henry Greenacre said it definitely wasn't a case of raining on Uber’s parade.
“What we generally find in places like Sydney and Newcastle is that when it rains people want to jump in a car and go from A to B,” Mr Greenacre said.
“They don’t want to ride their bike, they don’t want to walk. We generally find it gets much busier when it starts raining, or when it’s really cold or really hot.”
The first Uber driver in Wollongong was Fairy Meadow’s Nadina Avis.
She said she’d used Uber in Brisbane and liked it, so was keen to jump on board when it came to Wollongong.
It also helped her to make some extra money while on her day job.
“I’m a sales rep and I work for myself so I’m on the road anyway,” Ms Avis said.
“So I can do Uber in between my jobs. It gives me the autonomy to work when I want to work and come and go as I please.”
Ms Avis has stocked her car with mints and bottled water – and something else just in case she picks up someone who’s had a little too much to drink and, well, might suddenly feel rather unwell.
“I hope that doesn’t happen [but] I’m prepared for it,” Ms Avis said.
“I’ve got plastic bags already for anyone who might be looking like they’re going to be sick.”
That wasn't a problem with her first passenger – Fairy Meadow Surf Club captain Matthew Theris (Uber is helping Surf Life Saving Illawarra by donating $10 for every person’s first ride if they enter the promo code SLSI).
It wasn’t his first Uber ride – he’s caught one from Sutherland to Wollongong – but he’s keen to see it in the city.
“I think Uber’s a great idea,” Mr Theris said.
“I’m really happy that it’s in Wollongong. I think it’s a good market, with a university town with people who will want to go out and find a safe ride home.”
With the strong chance of rain over the weekend, Mr Greenacre said surge pricing could start – where fares go up due to high demand as a way of encouraging more drivers onto the road.
He said riders could wait until the surge period ended before they booked their ride, to lock in the lower price.
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