Uber in the Upper Valley
Welcome to the future, Upper Valley!
In brisk February of 2017 Uber was announced in the Upper
Valley. Uber is an innovative company that takes pride in connecting people
with cars that meet their transportation needs. They make getting from A to B
as easy as clicking a button inside of their award winning app. Since March
2009, Uber has been filling transportation gaps for city dwellers
internationally, now they are in the Upper Valley changing the way we do
On an early Friday morning, I had the pleasure to sit down for breakfast and a coffee fueled discussion about Uber with our own driver pioneers.
I first learned some truths about being a driver in a rural area like the Uber Valley. Many times a driver will get a “Ping” to make a short 1-2 mile drive. That is not always the case, though. The driver never knows who they are going to pick up or where the rider might want to go. Many times they are seeking a ride to the Logan Airport in Boston. With the limited number of drivers that exist in the Upper Valley, not everyone can accept a lengthy trip like this.
Joy Tyo, one of the three female drivers, takes personal pride in doing everything possible to help any person in need of a ride with getting in connection with a driver that can make the trip. The Upper Valley Uber drivers work together to keep in contact via WhatsApp, group messaging, and the Facebook group Upper Valley Ride Share. This keeps them aware of anyone who needs a ride at any time. They work together to ensure the customers’ needs are met. This type of planning speaks to the connection the Upper Valley has with its community. Tyo does not want to leave anyone stranded or without a ride ever.
This type of networking granted Tyo and the other Uber drivers praise from the national Uber representatives that come meet with the group every so often.
Our Upper Valley drivers pair this part-time work with other income. Peter Pardoe spends much of his time working at the Valley News, but drives Uber during off times and lunch breaks. He found Uber after spending 12 years delivering pizzas at EBAs.
Pardoe adds, “I used to delivery pizzas, now I deliver people.” In addition, to using Uber driving as a source of extra income, he uses it as inspiration for his comedian routine.
Sometimes drivers have to act fast on their feet. Tyo shared a story with me regarding a time when she was called to Molly’s in Hanover to assist a rider in making an emergency trip to the hospital.
The rider was non-English speaking, at first Tyo explains that she thought it was just for an appointment at the hospital, before she the rider verbally proclaimed that it was an emergency! Tyo than helped the rider into a wheel chair and into the emergency section of Dartmouth.
The busiest time for Uber drivers in the Upper Valley is Fridays, Saturdays, and events like Alumi week. Some Uber drivers like Dennis Adams that are able to devote entire days to driving, like making the 90 minute commute to drive in Burlington. Adams spends much of his driving time at Dartmouth Hospital helping riders get to appointments and return home safely.
During my talk with the drivers, I heard words like passion, rush, and community impact. Ubering in the Upper Valley is about helping people and filling the gaps where our current public transportation system lacks.
Upper Valley Uber drivers can be contacted through the Uber App. Cards for specific Uber drivers can be found at bars and in the airport.
Our Upper Valley Drivers:
Jane Barlett Chipman
Dennis Adams, SR
Ronald James Hooker