Jay’s back, and this year he decided to try out rideshare driving for New Year’s Eve, something he hasn’t done since 2018. How has New Year’s Eve driving changed over the years and, most importantly, did Jay make his earnings goal? Contributor-at-large Jay Cradeur shares how New Year’s Eve rideshare driving in 2022 in Sacramento worked out for him below.
The last time I drove late at night was New Year’s Eve 2018. I was a full-time driver living in San Francisco. I start at 4 AM and finish in the early afternoon. My preference is to avoid intoxicated passengers.
In 2018, I was curious to see how much money I could make in one day, so I decided to drive both the day and the night. As I recall, I made over $600.
This year, I am living in Sacramento. I am a part-time weekend driver. I thought it would be fun to see what I could do with New Year’s Eve, in Sacramento for New Year’s Eve 2022. This article will share my trials and tribulations – and whether or not I reached my goal.
Rideshare Driving on New Year’s Eve: My Strategy
I broke the day into two sessions: morning and evening. I would drive from 4 AM to 10 AM, and I wanted to make at least $150. I decided to grab a nap in between.
My second session would start at 4:30 PM and run until 1:30 AM, with a break for fresh coffee. My earnings goal was $250, and my total goal was $400.
There were two main bonuses I would work to attain: Lyft offered an $18 streak bonus for completing three rides in a row starting at 4:30 PM.
I had to be in a specific zone that I could reach with a short 10-minute drive to the east side of Roseville.
Uber offered a bonus based on achieving 11 rides in a five-hour time frame.
11 is a reasonable number of rides, as I average 2.5 rides per hour. I can also be selective and avoid longer rides.
Calculating My Strategy
Given I could achieve both bonuses, I would earn an additional $88. At $25 per hour, I could earn approximately $200 in the evening session plus the bonus, which would put me over my goal. These were my projections:
Morning – 6 hours x $25/hour = $150
Evening – 8 hours x $25/Hour = $200
Bonuses – $18 + $70 = 88
Total Projected Revenue = $438
I was excited to undertake this adventure.
I woke up at 3 AM. I was immediately disturbed to hear the loud sound of rain outside my window. It was not a nice spring rain – no.
Then I heard the sound of a storm. Little did I know it would impact my New Year’s Eve 2022. I went through my morning routine and was ready for whatever the day may bring. I even wore my yellow Bombas socks.
My New Year’s Eve Rideshare Driving Begins: The Morning Session.
I started right at 4 AM.
After getting gas, I turned on the Uber app, and within seconds, I got what appeared to be an excellent first ride. If I can get a ride that pays more than $1.00 a minute in Sacramento, that is a good ride.
I don’t accept rides more than 15 minutes away. This ride was right at the limit. So I took it.
Most Distraught Passenger Ever
As I approached the pickup area, I could see there had been a severe accident. I did not see my passenger, so I drove past and turned around. My passenger messaged me and asked if I could pick her up at the nearby gas station. There, a police car drove up, and an officer asked if I was the Uber driver. I told him I was, and he told me my passenger was a passenger from the car accident.
Then a young woman in her mid-twenties got into my car with a bandage wrapped around her wrist. I know from experience that when an airbag explodes open, the outer covering can do some damage to your hand and wrist, which is what had happened to her. My passenger immediately sobbed profusely.
I have done a ton of rides – over 28,000! This was by far the most upset I have seen a passenger. For the entire 25-minute ride, she cried. She was on the phone with someone close. I offered some tissue, but she was far too deep in shock and despair to notice. All I could do was give her space and drive smoothly and safely to her destination. When we arrived, she got out.
Not a word was spoken between us. This was not an auspicious way to start the day.
Morning Session Results
The driving was horrible. Since it was storming, everything was dark, wet, windy and flooding. At one point, my car started to make a loud noise on the highway. Then it would stop. Then start again. Finally, it seemed to quit for good.
I believe some water got into my car when I hit a big flooded area. I drove through it, but the water was pretty high and almost brought my vehicle to a complete halt. It was treacherous. In terms of revenue, I hit my morning goal with a total of $226.58.
Getting Into a New Year’s Eve State of Mind
This year I decided to get into the mood of the evening, so I picked up some New Year’s Eve paraphernalia during my mid-day break and decorated my car. I strung long confetti from the headrests and put some horns in the back seats.
I even provided some hats passengers could take with them taped to the back headrests.
The Evening Session, aka The Session From Hell
Well, dear reader, things did not get better. The rain kept falling, trees were falling, the wind was howling – and there were plenty of accidents and closed roads. Great rideshare driving weather, right?
I was getting angry because it was so challenging to drive. I wanted to drive. Yet, I could feel I was pushing too hard.
I gave it my best shot. I drove for 3 hours with the incessant sound of rain pelting my car as I slipped and slid on the highways and city roads of the greater Sacramento area.
After two hours, my car started to make several noises. There was the original sound that had returned when I hit another flooded area. And my wheels were now making a loud, disturbing, rubbing sound. Something might have been wedged into my brakes.
I’m no mechanic, but it did not sound good, and my last passenger could hear it. Then I came upon this and said, “Nope, I’m done!”
I dropped off my passenger. I drove 30 minutes back to my home. I listened to the wind pelting my bedroom window and was asleep by 11 PM. I made the right decision.
Final Results of Rideshare Driving on NYE
I drove for nine hours and earned $350.42, failing to achieve my goal. Had I been able to drive the final 6 hours, I could have hit $500, as tips would have put me over the top. Apparently, it was not meant to be on this final day of a fairly lousy year.
Good riddance 2022.
Today as I look out my window, the sky is blue, and the birds are singing. Can you see the hummingbird?
The storm has passed, as has 2022. Hallelujah, 2023 is here, and it looks like we are off to a great start.
I don’t know how my car will drive today. It is due for an oil change, so I’ll bring it in this week for a check-up and see if any real damage was done.
I made $350, and I’m alive to write this article and make a video. Ultimately New Year’s Eve 2022 was an adventure. I took a big swing and missed, but at least I took the swing.
All I ever want in life is to be able to be in the game. Happy New Year. May 2023 bring peace, prosperity, and the realization of your most satisfying dreams.
Did you drive on NYE 2022? How did it go for you?
-Jay @ RSG