Well, it might not be the gazillion-dollar income that many of the swells who flock to the Hamptons each summer can claim. But there’s still good money to be had by the little people in this Shangri-La of the well-heeled set.
How? Uber, that’s how.
Scores of drivers for the San Francisco-based ride-sharing start-up are leaving New York City this summer to shuttle around the well-to-do who descend on this tony region of Long Island every July and August. The demand, apparently, is great. After all, these poor rich folk have to somehow navigate between badminton court, beach, bistro and all-night bash, right? And waiting up to an hour for a taxi just won’t cut it anymore, not in a world where Uber drivers can be at your fancy manse in a heartbeat.
According to a post in Bloomberg, some drivers are pulling down $2,000 a weekend, using their own vehicles to haul the deep-pocketed one-percenters from place to place:
The Hamptons provides one of the most concentrated pools of wealthy passengers during the summer. Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have spent time in an East Hampton rental, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein bought a property listed for $32.5 million in the area in 2012.
All of that is drawing drivers like Don Banks, who’s worked for UberX for the past year in New York. He recently spent $65,000 on a new Chevy Suburban so he could ferry passengers in the Hamptons this summer.
“I bought an SUV to make more money,” said Banks, who owns a livery fleet of three cars in Westchester, New York.
According to Bloomberg, night time is the right time for making big bucks in the amateur-taxi business, thanks to the booming party scene. But even during the day, everyone benefits from this new transport option:
That’s good news for passengers whose wait times in the Hamptons for a ride is now a fraction of that for a regular taxi service, which on a Saturday night might have been as long as one hour, said John Foley, founder of Peloton Cycle, a maker of video-enabled spinning bikes with a store on East Hampton’s Main Street.
“Uber has done an amazing job in guaranteeing a high-quality service with an average wait of 4 to 5 minutes,” said Foley. He said he uses Uber when he wants to drink without worrying about driving back from gathering spots like the Crow’s Nest or the Surf Lodge in Montauk, the increasingly popular spot on the east end of Long Island.
A note of caution, though: Uber-mania could have a downside before long:
So many Uber vehicles are now also flocking to the Hamptons that there’s too much supply, said some drivers. As a result, demand for Uber luxury cars only peaks at night when the party-going starts, said Mohamed Bhatti, who on a recent Saturday afternoon was driving his Suburban for UberX in East Hampton.
“There’s too much competition,” he said.