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Uber offers student drivers flexibility, independence in part-time jobs

Winston said the flexible schedule and social aspects of being an Uber driver fit perfectly with her life as a UNC senior.

“My schedule changes from week to week, which makes it hard to commit to a certain time every week,” Winston said. “Setting my own schedule every week makes it extremely convenient for me.”

Arathi Mehrotra, general manager of Uber North Carolina, said Winston is not the only college student turning to Uber as a flexible option for part-time work.

“We’ve seen more and more students partnering with us, both here in the Triangle and across North Carolina.” Mehrotra said.

Winston said she usually drives two to three nights a week when she doesn’t have a lot of homework and doesn’t feel like going out.

“It’s still kind of like going out,” Winston said. “A lot of times I end up picking up my friends, or even someone I haven’t seen in a while, and it’s the perfect time to catch up.”

Winston said it’s just as great driving new people.

“I’m a social person and love getting to meet new people when I’m driving, getting to hear their stories,” she said.

“I’ve met some really cool people and made some great contacts — I’ve driven professors, recruiters and just really interesting people from around the neighborhood.”

Winston said she started driving in January after an Uber driver told her how easy and flexible it was. She checked out the job online and easily met all the qualifications.

“You just sign up online, submit documentation that you have your license and registration and they do a quick background check,” she said. “And then you’re eligible to drive.”

An added bonus for Winston is her love for driving, especially combined with meeting so many people.

“It’s been a great social job, and I love driving,” she said. “But the main thing is the flexibility of the schedule.”

Mehrotra also pointed out the incentives Uber has in an effort to recruit more student drivers.

“Students can sign up to drive with their .edu address and get $100 after their first 20 trips,” she said.

“Whether they’re saving for books, tuition or spring break — the Uber platform is a great, flexible earnings opportunity for students.”

But the flexibility is not quite as highly valued by all students. Jessica Porter, a junior journalism major, works set hours at the Office of Research Communications.

Porter writes features for “Endeavors,” the online magazine that discusses research by UNC researchers on campus and around the world.

She said she has set hours and likes that she knows what her schedule will be every week.

But she said it really depends on each student and what their schedule is like from day to day.

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“For me, I have really specific times for which I work, but other students might have more of a flexible week that allows them to (drive for Uber),” Porter said.

“And that’s a great way to make some money.”