inh is about my age, (which meant that both of us awkwardly called each other “older brother” for the duration of the chat) with an 8 year old kid and a family to raise. I took a twenty five minutes long ride to the airport in his Honda City. It was early in the morning and he had driven since 5 AM. He drives daily until late at night, but was glad to chat with me.

How long have you driven an uber Anh?

14 years.

Oh that’s longer than how long I’ve taught. I’ve taught for 12 years.

Oh, so old brother is a teacher?

Yes… So… 14 years. 2002. The traffic and driving must have changed a lot since then.

Oh driving was lovely then. Empty roads. Barely any cars. Back then there was just vinasun and Mai Linh. We made a good living driving people around and there weren’t a lot of options. Now there are more people but a lot more cars, so it’s harder to make a living.

I switched over to uber because all the customers went over there. We can’t make a living driving a regular cab, so we just have to follow the customer. When I drove for vinasun I could drive for a day rest for a day, spend it with family and friends. But driving now means I have to drive everyday. The traffic’s bad too.

This week I had two trips. One trip took me one and a half hour to drive 60 km. Another took me the same time, but for 10 km. So the traffic can ruin or make your day. I make six time less money on the second trip and the customer was unhappy too.

Did you ever try doing something else?

I don’t know how to do anything else, anh. Been driving for fourteen years and it’s all I know. I have to take care of my family now. Pay the cost of the car too.

When you go out with your family, do you drive them in the car?

No anh. It’d be like working. Wouldn’t be fun. Finding parking is hard and I’d have to pay a lot.

How much?

It’s usually about a dollar. more expensive than motorbike parking. If you want to enjoy yourself it’ll be two or even three.

Do you think the traffic will change, get better, Anh?

No. you look at our country, 90 million people. So many people want to come here to live. And you see the land is tiny, there’s no space for everyone here. But people keep coming.

What about the subway system being built, Anh? Do you think it’ll help?

No. you have to force cars off the road or else the subway won’t be used. People will keep driving anyway. I’m not hopeful it’ll change. I’ve driven for fourteen years and it gets worse every year.

Looks like we’re here Anh. Thanks that was quite fast!

Thank you Anh. Have an enjoyable flight!