So you want to become an Uber driver in Christchurch? The ride-sharing service is really starting to take off. After some early turbulence back in 2016 (about the time I first signed up) the NZTA was getting all blustery about these rogue drivers hitting the streets (no doubt the taxi companies were throwing their weight in behind all the posturing, or maybe the NZTA were hoping for a ‘look-the-other-way’ payment from a big american corporate) it seems like things have settled down and Uber is becoming a more accepted option for Christchurch people and NZ in general.

You do now require a P endorsement which you can get at any NZTA Agent, such as VTNZ, AA, or VINZ. Uber will also help you with the process, and provide you access to one of their local greenlight hubs for assistance.

Before you start – Requirements for NZ Uber drivers

Whoa there, just because you’re a self-certified wheelman doesn’t mean you’re set to be an Uber driver on the mean streets of Christchurch. Here’s the official list of must-haves:

Uber NZ Driver Requirements

  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Have held a full NZ driver’s licence for at least two years.
  • Have a current ‘Certificate of Fitness’ (medical certificate completed by a New Zealand registered medical practitioner).
  • Have access to a vehicle that meets Uber’s vehicle requirements (see below)*.
  • Be listed as an insured driver on the vehicle’s insurance policy*.

Uber NZ Vehicle Requirements

  • In excellent working condition, with no cosmetic damage
  • Registered and insured in New Zealand**
  • 10 years old or less (2008 model or newer as of 2018)
  • Have 4 doors
  • Seat 4-7 passengers plus the driver
  • Have a valid Certificate of Fitness (a COF, different from a WOF, is available from most vehicle testing stations)**
  • Not a taxi, government, branded or rebuilt vehicle

* If your current mode of transport doesn’t meet those requirements, don’t stress – you can still sign up to be an Uber Eats delivery driver!
** You’ll need to take photos (or have electronic copies) of your COF certificate, relicense label and insurance, which you’ll upload on the Uber partners site

What can you expect when you drive for Uber?

If you tick all the boxes for yourself and your wheels, and you’re ready to start earning with Uber then you might be wondering what to expect. One thing to know is that Uber, like its economy-sharing cousin AirBNB, have a great setup – an efficient system for signing up new drivers and getting you paying rides. They’ll guide you through the process (even if you describe yourself as a technophobe!) and support you for any issues you run into – it’s in their best interests to look after their drivers so they can keep growing their business.

Familiarise yourself with Ubers rules and get suggestions from other drivers on the best way to run your Uber business (you’re essentially a self-employed contractor). You’ll learn along the way and figure out what works best for you – your hours of operation, how you take care of your passengers (everyone leaves a review so make it a nice experience for them!) and the types of rides you’ll accept (all online drivers get offered fares and the first driver to accept gets the fare).

Uber does remind me of my AirBNB experience, which I started about 10 years ago when the Christchurch AirBNB market was just getting started. There were definite downsides to having to share your space with strangers but the positives outweighed the cons – we got to meet some great people and pocketed some easy moolah along the way. Uber is much the same. It may not be your main source of income but it can be a great side hustle and a good way to maybe make some new friends (and help an old lady get home with her groceries, and save on an expensive taxi ride).

Ready to start driving with Uber Christchurch?

Even if you don’t have everything on driver and vehicle checklists above it doesn’t mean you can’t start the application process. The local Uber reps (and the Greenlight Hub) will work with new sign-ups to get all the bits you need to get driving.

Sure, Uber has its critics but it’s here to stay (just like AirBNB) and everyone has the opportunity to be a part of the drive-sharing economy, which is bound to become more popular as people see the benefits of not owning a car, and Uber offers a more affordable way to get places, or enjoy a night out on the town.

For drivers, they get to decide how much they want to get involved, it might just be one day a month or it might be 7 nights a week – it’s up to you and you can change your hours at anytime.

If you’ve got a car* and some spare time then start the application process.

*If it’s just a scooter or bike then why not sign up for Uber Delivery?

Become an Uber driver – An easy guide
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