By Jess Grieveson-Smith
A creative Uber driver has introduced his own carpool karaoke for his customers – known as ‘cabbyoke’ – in a bid to score a top rating on the app.
Taxi driver Ray Barbrook, 69, has created the perfect solution for party-goers who aren’t ready for the clubs to shut, his very own back seat sing off, complete with thousands of song choices.
The Uber driver introduced his car karaoke system five months ago in a bid to boost his popularity from his current 4.93 to five stars.
And, while his car – which is a Skoda Superb – looks like an ordinary model, once inside his customers are always reluctant to leave.
A typical day for Ray consists of picking up consumers from his hometown in Ely, Cardiff, after a drunken night out.
Ray said: “Most people know me as Cabbyoke Ray nowadays and they recognise me coming.
“I started doing this as a bit of fun but people seem to love it.
“A lot of people even extend their trip, and ask me to go round the block, just so they can stay in a little longer – it’s like they don’t want to leave.
“All I do is set up a tablet in the front, give them the chance to pick what songs they want and away we go.
“I have two microphones, but I’ve got space for four people to sing at once.
“I ask them if they want my second phone to film them singing as they belt out their favourite tracks and I showcase my favourite performances on my Facebook page as long as they’re happy for me to.
“I’ve had some good singers in here now – a couple of people from The X Factor, an Elvis impersonator, it’s all just gone a little bit mad.
“People seem to love doing a bit of Abba, Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen.”
As Ray is an Uber driver who is a licensed through Newport Council he can’t be booked outside of the app, although he now boasts an impressive following on his Facebook page, dedicated to showcasing the best talent he’s had in his car.
Ray added: “For most it’s a complete surprise for them and that adds to the excitement of it I think.
“There’s over 1,000 people that like my page on Facebook and the reviews are brilliant.
“I’m also part of Ola Cabs which will hopefully help build up more of a clientele.
“But I love chatting to my customers, hearing their stories and hearing what they sound like – in the end it’s a bit of fun and I’ve always enjoyed music – why shouldn’t I make sure I love my work?”
Reviews of Ray’s cabbyoke are posted regularly to his Facebook page, and have included, “Best taxi driver you will ever meet in your life.” and “5-star best taxi ride ever – I had a great laugh on the mic and Ray has got jokes and props that will have you in stitches.”