How Commuters Can Take Advantage of Driving in a Big City


Harry right here.  Commuting into a massive metropolis may be an awesome endeavor, for brand spanking new and veteran rideshare drivers. Today, visitor contributor Jim Miller shares his expertise and recommendation for drivers to the LA market, however this information is relevant to virtually all huge cities. Jim commutes into LAX, and the ideas Jim shares apply to rideshare drivers nationwide who in the suburbs, however drive in giant cities to remain busier and earn extra money.

I’ve been driving for Uber part-time for the final three years, and I’ve discovered a lot in this time. The dangerous information? Uber and Lyft are sluggish in the suburbs. There are a lot of drivers, however not a lot of passengers. Except for actually huge occasions, you gained’t make a lot cash. The excellent news? There’s nonetheless cash to be made in the town, which is why I drive into LA one or two weeknights and most Saturdays to maintain my earnings excessive. Here are a few ideas for somebody getting began in a massive metropolis, and particularly my recommendation for the LA space.

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Considering commuting into a big city to earn more money? Strategies on how to commute effectively and make it worth the time and effort -

What Are Sign Up Bonuses/Quests/Boosts like in the City?

If you’ve been driving in the suburbs or a smaller metropolis for a whereas, you might be unfamiliar with quests and boosts. Sign up bonuses can be a little totally different in greater markets vs. smaller markets, however for those who’re an present driver, you gained’t be eligible for a sign-up bonus.

However, when you recruit a new driver to drive in LA, the current bonus is $500 after 75 journeys. Unfortunately, Uber typically presents “guarantees” as an alternative of bonuses. A pal of mine who lives in the Inland Empire signed as much as drive with my referral code and I acquired this e mail from Uber:

Wow!  $10!  Maybe I’ll decide up the tab at In-N-Out.

Before signing as much as drive, ensure you choose the closest main metropolis as your driving space. As an Uber driver in California (or any state), you’ll be able to drive anyplace inside that state.

The purpose you need to be an LA-based driver (or different giant metropolis driver) is so that you could be eligible for Los Angeles Boost and Quest promotions. When I used to be based mostly out of the Inland Empire (suburbs), there have been by no means any promotions. I solely received emails and messages in the app about a few native occasions that pop up in the app.

Boost signifies that you’ll earn larger fares as whether it is surging in anybody of 5 zones in the LA core.  The increase quantities change each few hours based mostly on the projected want.  During busy occasions, most of the 5 zones in the LA core may have a increase.  During sluggish durations, don’t anticipate any increase. This is a typical busy day increase:

Your passenger nonetheless pays the bottom fare until it’s truly surging once they request a journey.  If the surge worth is greater than the increase, you earn the surge worth.

Quest is a weekday and weekend bonus that you would be able to earn in case you hit the goal like this:

As a half time driver, I not often full sufficient rides to earn the Quest bonus.  I solely earned the Quest bonus one time when solely 20 journeys have been required. If you’re a few journeys shy of your bonus, then head to USC or any busy school campus to shortly rack up a bunch of brief annoying UberPool rides.

A Commuter’s Friend: The Destination Filter

The Uber Destination filter has acquired a lot of consideration recently because the quantity of Destinations was elevated from 2 to six, then back to 2 after lower than a month.

Luckily, for part-time drivers, we don’t have to fret. You can have four locations every Uber shift. What? How? You begin your shift with 2 locations. Then, as soon as the clock strikes midnight, you get 2 extra locations. You can beat the two locations restriction in the event you drive late at night time (advocate particularly on the weekends).

I get a little nervous choosing up passengers after midnight as a result of they could be drunk.  But I’ve by no means picked up a drunk on the airport regardless of how late it’s. Plus, after midnight, you’ll have very mild visitors. If you’re driving house to the burbs, remember to save one vacation spot for the journey residence otherwise you’ll be deadheading.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Rideshare Driver Lingo

On my method house, I’m extra more likely to settle for a Pool journey as soon as I’m previous the LA core.  The farther away I’m from LA, the less rides I get.  However, so long as the app is on, you get to put in writing off these miles.

Tips for the Airport (LAX In Particular)

In numerous Facebook teams for Uber drivers, a lot of drivers speak trash about LAX. The extra haters the higher; that’s extra LAX rides for me.

When the airport is absolutely busy, it may be very chaotic. Even when it’s sluggish, I not often have to attend greater than 10 minutes for a rider. Most Saturdays, I can go from LAX to downtown at full freeway speeds.

To legally drop off or decide up riders at LAX for Uber and Lyft, you want watch a video and move a quiz, it’s straightforward.  You can discover the LAX guidelines here. Not all airports require you to move a check: to seek out your airport’s guidelines, sort in “driving at [your airport name]+ uber/lyft”.

Note that the airport placard is restricted to Uber or Lyft. For LAX, one huge rule is that you’re not allowed on the decrease arrival degree ever, not even when the flashing indicators approaching the airport encourage drivers to make use of the decrease degree.  If a passenger insists that you simply decide them up on the decrease arrival degree, it’s in all probability a police sting, so don’t do it.

I do not know why the airport has a drawback with twin commerce gown.  I discover that about 40% of rideshare drivers on the airport have each decals completely caught on their automobiles; it’s a silly rule, however they’re begging to get a ticket:

Per Uber’s web site:

There are distinctive commerce gown necessities at LAX and SAN. These two airports prohibit twin commerce gown.  This signifies that in case you are on an Uber journey, you could solely show the Uber commerce gown.  Please be sure to are solely displaying an Uber commerce gown in your entrance and rear windshield if you find yourself finishing an Uber journey. Having two totally different commerce clothes may result in a superb.

Although I sometimes driver for Lyft, I NEVER activate the Lyft app at LAX even when Uber is sluggish as a result of I don’t have an Lyft Airport placard, simply Uber. And even when I did have a Lyft airport placard, I’m not prepared to swap out the commerce gown to match the journey.

I’ve not heard of anybody getting a ticket for trying to select up a Lyft rider with Uber commerce gown, however LAX is the one place in the world that the tiniest infraction might value you an encounter with the LAX police.  Speaking of tiny infractions, I obtained this pop up a few weeks in the past:

LAX needs you to make use of the placard that Uber mails to you.  It’s printed on heavy cardstock paper.  The one you print by yourself printer is simply momentary.  LAX police have been implementing this in a sweep just lately.

In most instances, you’ll be able to decide up these placards at a close by Greenlight Hub.

I purchased a plastic sleeve which inserts each the commerce gown and airport placard.  It comes with a suction cup for straightforward removing.  Mine sags with out a few items of scotch tape in the center:

What is Rematch?

A couple of months in the past, Uber and LAX accredited “Rematch”:

Since the rematch function was launched a few months in the past, I’ve finished about 40 airport drop offs. I obtained a rematch journey about 60% of the time.  If I don’t get a rematch inside the 45 second window, I pout, then drive to the rideshare staging lot 1.6 miles away to attend for an additional LAX experience.

Do You Really Need a Dashcam?

For lower than $140, you should purchase a high quality dashcam.  I’ve the Falcon 360. Some drivers might really feel like they don’t want it, as it may be a huge expense for a new, part-time driver. However, as this current viral video demonstrates, we have to shield ourselves from the LAX Police:

I’m a member of the Facebook group the place the driving force first posted this dashcam video.  He commented that for a jiffy, he forgot he had the dashcam. He might have ended the confrontation instantly if he provided to play again the video in the primary few seconds of his dialog with the officer.  The driver confirmed that he didn’t get a ticket because of his dashcam.

Dashcam Disclosure Stickers

Every metropolis and state has totally different guidelines relating to filming, so that you’ll need to perform a little research (or ask in native Facebook teams), however in California, you could have to disclose you’re recording video and audio. To cowl myself, I’ve these stickers on all 4 home windows of my automotive.

Don’t Pick and Choose Your Airport Rides

One profit to driving the airport routes is the good alternative to get lengthy rides.  Unfortunately, some of our fellow Uber drivers decide and select rides. They will name or textual content their passenger to seek out out the place the passenger goes. If it’s a brief experience or a place they don’t need to drive to, they may cancel the journey.

I picked up a rider lately that advised me I used to be their third driver that didn’t cancel on them (and he was going to Santa Monica, about 10 miles, a good place to finish up).  Pick and choosers defend the follow in Uber driver teams on Facebook by saying they’re unbiased contractors. But when an Uber buyer or two complains about your cherry choosing, you’ll be an unemployed unbiased contractor.  Cancelling on an airport passenger is number 10 on Harry’s top 11 ways to get deactivated.

This was a discover a driver from and Uber Facebook acquired after a passenger reported to Uber that the driving force requested the passenger for his or her vacation spot:

Metro Express Lane FasTrak Transponder

Many riders are headed to Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA). The experience from LAX into downtown is my bread and butter. The quickest route is the 105 east to the 110 north.  The 110 is usually jammed up.  But you possibly can bypass the gang by getting a Metro categorical lane FasTrak transponder.

Here’s a great article which describes all of the FasTrak particulars together with the place you should purchase a transponder.

I purchased my FasTrak transponder from the Auto Club (AAA) for $32.  The transponder comes pre-loaded with $40 of toll credit.  The month-to-month upkeep payment is simply $1.

But right here is the most effective half:  When you have got a passenger on the 110, there isn’t any toll cost in your or your passenger.  Many of my LAX riders that reside in DTLA have talked about that the majority UberX drivers to not have the FasTrak transponder.  I’ve acquired a lot of ideas from clients as a result of I all the time point out that there isn’t any additional toll cost, and I shave a number of minutes off the experience.

The transponder permits categorical lane on any FasTrak lanes in California.  For about a month, I attempted out driving in Orange County which has many toll roads.  You can be charged a flat payment for entry to toll roads in Orange County.  Your passenger is charged for the toll and you’re reimbursed:

Therefore, until you select to drive on a toll street as a solo driver, you get all the advantages of the categorical lanes with out spending your personal toll cash apart from the $1 month-to-month payment which is by far offset by the additional ideas you earn.

Be Careful of Airport Stings

If you watched the video above, you’ll discover safety has no drawback writing tickets even when you’ve been ready for lower than a minute to select up a passenger. This commonly occurs in massive cities, at airports but in addition close to bus stops and different “no waiting/no parking” areas, so watch out and take note of indicators once you’re stopping to select up a passenger.

Most LA rideshare drivers know all about this. If you’re ever approached by some determined damsel in misery with a lifeless cellular phone providing money for journey, don’t fall for it. If you agree to provide somebody a experience for money with utilizing the Uber or Lyft app, you can find yourself in handcuffs. Just say: “No thanks officer, I know all about your sting” then wave in any respect the cop automobiles which might be ready close by to swoop in to arrest you. Not at present!

Big City Places to Avoid

Many locations round LA will surge after huge occasions, nevertheless it’s often not well worth the problem together with:

  • Dodger Stadium – Very time consuming to get in and out and really poor cellular phone reception.
  • The Rose Bowl in Pasadena – Your solely escape is a few crowded slender residential streets, you’ll be caught in that mess for a very long time.
  • The Hollywood Bowl –The line of automobiles heading north on Highland strikes an inch an hour as soon as the live performance is over.  If you could have already accepted the journey request, ask your rider to stroll down Highland Ave to Franklin.

This gained’t be the case in each massive metropolis, so that is why it pays to know your market. In some huge cities, staging your self close to sporting occasions which might be about to finish is a nice concept as a result of there are a lot of methods to exit downtown, as an example.

In common, it solely pays to “chase” this surge when you can place your self in a good decide up spot earlier than the sport/occasion lets out.

Related: Rydar, the Swiss Army Knife of Driver Tools

Be Careful with Child Car Seats

Every state has totally different guidelines for youngsters in automotive seats, and California recently updated youngster automotive seat legal guidelines.

I would wish multiple hand to rely the quantity of occasions I’ve arrived to select up a rider with a child or toddler and no automotive seat. Not solely is that this very unsafe, when you caved and gave the journey, you, the driving force would responsible for an costly ticket and a level in your driving document. So don’t do it! Booster seats are required for teenagers which have outgrown a automotive seat. Become accustomed to state legal guidelines and keep away from hassle.

Coachella and Stagecoach

Every April, you might have a nice alternative to generate profits… keep in LA whereas newbies chase the surge at Coachella and Stagecoach. I wrote about this previously here.

Even although Coachella now attracts 125,000 individuals, there’s such a large over saturation of drivers, there’s virtually no surge pricing.  All that problem for no additional money.  The golden goose is lifeless.  I’ll by no means waste my time on the market once more.  Stay in LA throughout Coachella and Stagecoach.

Takeaways for Commuting Drivers in Big Cities

Overall, there are wonderful the reason why so many drivers commute from the suburbs into greater cities. Sure, the drive is longer and makes use of extra fuel, however the potential to earn extra by means of quests and boosts is far larger in the town than it’s the ‘burbs. This is why it’s essential to make use of the vacation spot filter, each to get into the town and to get again residence (or the place ever house is) on the finish of the day.

Personally, I’m a large fan of airports, LAX in specific. You get to satisfy differing types of individuals, people who find themselves often pleasant and sober. Airports undoubtedly have their very own set of particular guidelines, although, and it’s necessary to have the proper commerce gown, know the place to place your self, and shield your self with a dashcam. All drivers ought to have a dashcam, however notably frequent airport drivers.

When you drive in a massive metropolis, it actually pays to be told. For occasion, in LA, it doesn’t make sense to drive to sure huge occasions, like Dodgers video games or Coachella. If you have been a new driver, you wouldn’t instantly know this and may waste your time. Get concerned in native Facebook teams or different driver boards, and all the time be sure that to place your self early earlier than an occasion lets out, so that you’re in the perfect spot to select up a passenger shortly and get in your approach.

Have any questions on commuting into a massive metropolis? Leave a remark in the remark part under!

Bio: Jim Miller is a full-time customer support rep for a giant utility in Southern California for 28 years.  He’s a massive fan of San Diego State Football and Basketball (class of 1987) and long- struggling fan of Angels Baseball.  Jim has been married to his greatest pal Joanne for 29 years and is the proud father of two gifted and profitable daughters.  He drives from the suburbs of Rancho Cucamonga 50 miles to Los Angeles and again most weekends to earn a few additional dollars.

Make Every Mile Count

Did you realize that each 1,000 enterprise miles can generate $535 in tax deductions? Never miss one other mile with the brand new QuickBooks Self-Employed automated mileage tracker.

-Harry @ RSG

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I am Harry, the proprietor and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I was a full-time engineer however now I am a rideshare blogger! I write about my expertise driving for Uber, Lyft, and different providers and my aim is to assist drivers earn extra money by working smarter, not more durable.

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