Astana’s Uber Drivers Find Flexibility, Income

ASTANA – Uber has become very popular in the Kazakh capital, offering high quality service, safety and affordable prices and the opportunity to have a part time job for those who want to earn money using their driving skills and own vehicles at any time of the day or night.

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“I had to work as unofficial taxi driver for years, but it never was my main job. I used the job to make both ends meet when I had financial problems. I am a self-employed entrepreneur for more than 10 years and, basically, I can say that my small company is quiet successful. But, sometimes, when we don’t get enough orders and I have to fulfil my obligations, paying rent for my office, taxes and salaries to my employees, I do work as a taxi driver. In such hard times, I used to work as an official taxi driver and it helped me to solve my problems,” said Merkhat Bayangazin, 35, a businessman from Astana in an interview with The Astana Times on Feb. 2.

Uber was the first international taxi company represented in Astana and now it competes with Yandex taxi, which was the second. Two major companies have big fleets of cars and offer quality conditions not only for clients, but also for taxi drivers.

“The only thing I didn’t like in the job is that it isn’t safe. Of course, the job had many other disadvantages, such as necessity to drive across the streets to find clients, but the worst is that nobody can guarantee that you will be safe and come back home to your children each day. Everybody knows that working as a taxi driver, especially late in the evening or at night, is dangerous,” Bayangazin said.

“Uber, Yandex and any other official taxi services give you an opportunity to earn and do it safely. The first one is a very flexible system, where you can start working any time of the day and night and finish any time as well. I really like that. As I already had a business, it was extremely easy to start working in Uber. Of course, you need to have a middle-aged or better a new, well maintained and clean car, all your documents, including your car insurance have to be valid and that’s it. Go to the Uber office, download their mobile application and start working,” he added.

“Usually, I start working at 9 p.m. and it takes me two hours to make 3-5 trips and get back to my home. I specially choose this time, because I work from 9 am till 6 pm. After work I go home and have some rest and have a dinner with my family. At 9 pm traffic isn’t heavy and all my trips don’t take too much time. I don’t work everyday, but I do that very often and sometimes it is very profitable to work on weekends: traffic isn’t heavy at all and Uber pays more. My salary isn’t so high and I have a real estate mortgage. So there is no great choice for me,” said Sayat Aitanov, 26, a sales manager from Astana.

“I have many friends and relatives working in Uber. Some of them are young ladies. I like the job, but I can surely say that the money I earn in the taxi service isn’t easy. Also, you have to understand that using your own car for this job will decrease its life cycle. So, if I have a possibility to have another job with the same flexibility and opportunities, I would change it. But now, I even can’t imagine, what company can offer me that,” Aitanov said.

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