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Otto Life Stories #4: Eniola

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Eniola shares great ideas about how to work longer shifts, shares her own experiences as a female driver and explains why this role is such a good fit for family life.  

What jobs did you do before PCO driving?

I was an IT helpdesk manager for the Department of Health. I’ve also been a school administrator and an office manager. My last role was as a church secretary.

How long have you been an Uber driver?

Officially since 2019, which is when I picked up my first car. However, I didn’t actually start working until the following January. I’ve been with Otto since May 2020.

That’s an odd time to begin. Just after the first Covid lockdown.

I did consider taking the car back, because I was only making in a month what you should make in a day. But I had been planning this job for a year and decided to stick with it

How did you cope as a new driver at such a tough period?

Otto gave me flexibility – and that was important when I needed breathing room. But the company is not a fairy godmother. We always made solid arrangements to resolve things.  

Happy driver Eniola standing in front of her Kia Niro at Otto Car's Hammersmith Hub

Did you have concerns about being a female driver?  

Uber changed the game by going cashless. In the old minicab world, you only tended to get robbed for your money. I’m not carrying cash, except for coins to inflate the car tyres.

And that makes you feel safe?

Of course, there are always hate crimes but it’s less likely with Uber. Because the riders need to register for an account, there is always a payment card attached to each booking. 

You mean there is always a paper trail? 

Exactly. That credit card creates accountability. So, heaven forbid, there is some incident, there will always be a way to tell who was in the car.

What reactions do you get from passengers?

Other women say they feel more comfortable. For instance, if they are dressed-up to go out, they know that they are not being looked at by me and can just relax or go to sleep. 

What about male riders? 

They feel that a lady driver is perhaps a bit calmer. I play Classic FM and my car always smells fragrant. So people tend to get in and say: “Oh, this is so nice. Thank you”. 

Adding fragrance is a nice idea

If a passenger has eaten garlic or has food in their bag, it can leave an odour. Some drivers use a Febreeze spray for this but I prefer Fabulosa because it’s antibacterial too.

What made you want to do this job?

The main thing is flexibility – and I also love driving. In fact, I’ve always driven the church minibus all over the country. It feels natural.

Happy driver Eniola standing in front of her Kia Niro at Otto Car's Hammersmith Hub

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

When you’re tired, stop. If I ever feel drowsy, I’ll drop the passenger, pay for a parking space and take a power nap for thirty minutes.

What is a power nap? 

A normal nap is when you shut down completely in a bed at home. With a power nap, I  cover my head with a scarf, recline the seat – and relax for while. It’s like a shot in the arm. 

Does such a small amount of rest help?

It can be the difference between having to go home and being able to stay on the road. One time, I took a nap just after breakfast and then managed to work another ten hours.

Great tip. Do you have any others?   

Find what gives you energy. For instance, sometimes, you think you are hungry when you are really just thirsty. It’s about learning what works for your own body. 

Any message for other women thinking about this job?

If you like driving and need to work around school timetables, get a PCO licence. Many women worry they can’t afford the car but Otto makes it affordable and will back you up. 

What kind of backup do you mean? 

Repairs and stuff like that. Nobody is trying to rip you off or tell you that the crankshaft’s gone if it hasn’t. That gives you a safety net.

Anything else that you’d like to add?

I’m grateful for the opportunity to get a brand new EV car on rental. I wasn’t forced into this and it was great to try one with no pressure. I also want to shout out to Rebecca from the Otto team for being so encouraging.

So you are feeling the family vibe?

I do feel that. In some offices, life can be up and down – or hostile. When I come into your hubs, there’s a friendly approach and a lovely flow. Like talking to your brothers or uncles.

Want to learn more?

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