Uber drivers gearing up for long days, hours during Republican National Convention

Uber offering specials week before RNC
Posted at 10:46 AM, Jul 11, 2016

Days from now thousands of people will descend on downtown Cleveland for the Republican National Convention. Businesses, restaurants and hotels have been readying themselves for months, but don't forget about Uber drivers.

Several Uber partners in the Cleveland area told they're not sure what to expect, but said they're ready to showoff their city.

“I'm just excited. I’m excited to be out there to meet new people, to have them meet me and to tell them about this lovely city I call home," Cleveland native, Sharuan Flemister said.

On a typical week, some drivers said they make anywhere from $600 to $1,200, but during the convention they hope to see more green in their pockets.

"There’s a lot of business and there’s a lot of money to be made," Keith Leporte said.

Destination Cleveland is also helping ready drivers for the busy week.

The visitor's bureau held a special CLE Travelbackers session specifically for Uber partners. CLE Travelbackers, introduced in 2013, provides Cleveland’s frontline travel and tourism staff with the knowledge and tools needed to help enhance a visitor’s experience.

"Their influence is tremendous. We really want to make sure Uber drivers are going above and beyond, really just making that personal connection with guests, taking the time to get to know them and find out what they’ll be interested in," Eric Embacher, Destination Cleveland's Visitor Experience Program Manager, said. 

Flemister said she's doing a couple of things to ready herself for the convention: learning alternate routes into downtown and trying new restaurants in the suburbs. 

"People say, 'well I don't want to go to one of the bigger chains, do you have any recommendations?' And I don't want to say, 'somebody told me such and such place was good.' If I can have first hand experience a lot of people believe that more, so that's a personal goal that I do," Flemister said.

Leporte says it's all about branding yourself. "When people like you, as far as a driver goes, they want to hold on to you," he said. 

Starting Monday, July 11 Uber will have pre-convention specials for riders. Here are the details: Half off rides (to these Cleveland specific neighborhoods) to encourage exploration throughout our city.

How does this work:

1. Open the Uber app
2. Enter the promo code MOVINGCLE
3. Request a ride
4. Get dropped off within one of the day’s highlighted neighborhood area from 6pm - 11pm on Monday throug Thursday of next week and a 50% discount will be applied to rides $20 or less

Ohio City
Public Square
Little Italy

East 4th
Waterloo District

East Bank of the Flats
Detroit Shoreway
University Circle

West 6th

50% neighborhood discount is valid from 6pm to 11pm
Promo code valid on rides ending in specified areas above within the outlined geofence
Promo code valid on rides up to $20
Promo code valid for up to 2 rides per rider until expiration
Promo code will expire on July 14, 2016 at 11pm
Promo code must be entered before trip has begun

We also checked in with Lyft about their plans for the convention. Read their statement: 

Lyft is excited to offer safe, convenient, and affordable rides for those getting to and from Quicken Loans Arena and around Cleveland during the Convention.

We've had productive discussions with the RNC about how Lyft can support and supplement their transportation systems at the Convention, and are looking forward to being a viable option for those looking to get around.

Prior to the RNC, we'll be growing the amount of drivers we have on the road in anticipation of increased passenger demand. We also recently expanded our Cleveland coverage area to include some of the outlying parts of the city to account for anyone staying in those communities.