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Otto Life Stories #6: Blaise

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To celebrate the diversity of the Otto Car family, we shine a spotlight on one driver’s cultural background in this occasional series of interviews.  

Blaise Mudiayi is a university student with six children who drives a Tesla Model 3. He explains how to keep a busy life on track and why a career in African politics prepared him for being a PCO driver.  

You must be one of the only students driving a Tesla? 

Yes. When I carry my mates from uni, they always ask ‘how can you afford this car?’ and I usually tell them a joke before I say I’m a cab. My Uber clients also have a good impression and ask me questions. 

Most students drive old cars or take the bus. How did you manage this? 

I wanted to drive a Tesla and Otto Car made my life easy by partnering with me. They made the dream happen for something little. I just paid a £1,000 deposit and within a week I had the car.  

Can you afford such a premium car while studying?

Yes. I’m in the last year of a degree in finance at the University of West London but working self-employed with Uber means I can support my family.

You must have to drive a lot of miles? 

Most weeks, I drive for between 35 and 45 hours. If I’m working on a university assignment then I only go for 30 hours. Remember I have family duties as well, so it depends. 

How did you get into private-hire driving? 

Back home in Congo DRC, I worked in politics but when I arrived in the UK in 2017 I was a site-manager at Wembley Stadium on 14-hour night shifts. I wanted independence and so joined Uber 18 months ago.     

Your political career sounds like a fascinating story. 

I was an advisor to the foreign affairs minister in Kinshasa [in Congo]. It’s a long story but I decided to relocate with my wife and family. I have four children here and two more are still in Africa.  

Did you learn much in your old career that helps as a PCO driver? 

These are two different worlds. But if you want to make money, you need discipline and patience. Taking customers calmly from A to B is your duty – asking personal questions is not your duty. 

How does driving in London compare to Kinshasa?  

London is a little better because we respect regulations. People in Congo drive the way they want and try to make their own rules. Some of the authorities do that as well. 

What do you miss about living in Congo? 

The weather. Over here, we have four seasons but most of the time it’s cold. You can’t miss culture or food because that doesn’t require a visa. You can carry your traditions wherever you go. 

How can other drivers get a taste of that authentic food? 

If you meet a Congolese, ask them to cook a dish called pandu. It’s cassava leaves cooked with palm oil and it will make you feel you are enjoying life in the Congo.   

What are your plans for the future? 

When I get my accounting degree I will get a job in finance. And I’ll keep Uber as my second job because being a cab helps me to top-up my monthly budget. 

Did you take advantage of Uber’s scheme for free education? 

No. I’m doing it separately as I’d already begun my university course when the scheme was introduced but I’d consider using Uber’s if I do a master’s degree. 

Would you ever go back into politics either in Africa or here? 

I cannot say no to that because that is a calling. It might happen again. And I cross my fingers – I cannot wait for that to happen.

Any final advice for newer drivers in the Otto family?

Give the hours and you will make money but do it when you feel strong. If you are tired, you are going to lose everything. 

Do you have a story to share? Every driver featured Otto Life Stories gets a £100 Amazon voucher by simply popping into our Shepherd’s Bush Hub for a quick photo and chat. If you are keen, register here

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