There have been a lot of changes to rideshare since TheRideshareGuy launched in 2014, and we’ve chronicled them all. Today, senior RSG contributor Jay Cradeur gives us a history on the important rideshare changes over the years, plus how things have actually improved for drivers over the years.
I started driving for Uber in December 2015 and quickly added Lyft to my repertoire in early January 2016. Since then I have accumulated nearly 20,000 rides, 12,000 with Lyft and 8,000 with Uber. Since I began driving, there have been quite a few changes for Lyft and Uber drivers, some good and some not so good. This article will look at those changes and point out that things are actually better for drivers now than back in late 2015.
Recent Rate Adjustments
Both Uber and Lyft have a history of lowering the price of their services. Since we drivers are all paid as a percentage of those rates, any price cut impacts our revenue.
However, over the past two years, Lyft and Uber rates have dropped just a bit or stayed fairly level in most markets. The last time we had a big price cut was in January of 2016.
The table below for San Francisco shows you the very minor Uber changes that have negligibly impacted driver revenue. Lyft’s current rates are identical to Uber’s rates.
The destination filter feature has put more money in my pocket than any other addition to our driver’s arsenal of tools. There are several ways to use the destination filter to bolster revenue.
During times of light traffic, I use the destination filter to manipulate my schedule. I set the filter to the San Francisco airport, and more than half the time, I get an airport run. Then from the airport, I often get another long ride. From there, I use the destination filter to get back to San Francisco.
In this example, I got 4 long rides in a couple of hours. Before the destination filter, I had to get lucky to get an airport run. Now I have some control.
The other time the destination filter is handy is at the end of my shift. Instead of not having a ride home, now I can usually get at least one additional ride on my way home. This puts more money in my pocket.
Both Uber and Lyft now offer cool benefits for drivers. These programs were not available when I started driving. Lyft’s program is called Accelerate Rewards. Check out all the offerings.
Both Uber and Lyft now give you the option to get paid at anytime of the day or night. I use this service daily. It costs me 50 cents each time, but the $3.00 each week is worth it to me.
I like to make each work day a game to reach a certain goal. I find it very rewarding to reach my goal, and then put that money directly into my bank account. This also clears my account for the next day.
With Lyft, the bonus funds show up on Monday night and you can then Instant Pay them into your bank account. When I started, we did not have this form of instant gratification, which I have turned into a daily incentive program.
Related article: Essential gear every rideshare driver should have
More Driving Options
Over the past two years, driver opportunities have exploded. You can drive people around with Uber, Lyft, Juno and a handful of local providers. You can drive around cooked meals with companies like Postmates, UberEATS, and Caviar.
Or as many drivers are now trying, you can charge scooters for Bird!
Today, compared to two years ago, it is easier than ever to find a flexible gig to make some extra money while valuing your other time and work commitments.
Re-match for Airport Pickups
In the good old days, when you went to drop someone off at the airport, you had two choices. First, you could drive away and head back to your town or city and get back to work. Or, you could join a long queue of drivers and wait in an area called the staging lot. Both Uber and Lyft can show you what your number is in the queue so you can judge if you want to wait it out or not.
As of about a year ago, both Uber and Lyft changed their policy as follows: if you drop someone off at the airport, and there is a passenger at the airport who needs a ride who is close to you, you will get the ping before the folks who have been waiting in the staging lot (this is called re-match).
This was a game changer for me. This made every airport run an opportunity for a second long ride after my drop off. In my experience, there aren’t many airport pickups early in the morning, but by mid morning and throughout the entire day, the chances of getting a ride request at SFO (San Francisco International Airport) is better than 50%.
Since I use the destination filter daily to get rides to the airport, this additional benefit really ramps up my earnings.
Check out these three rides, again using the destination filter to get to the airport, then the re-match feature gave me a ride down to Apple’s Headquarters in Cupertino, and then the destination filter got me a ride back to the airport. That is over $100 in about 90 minutes!
While rates may have dropped a bit in the past 2-3 years, they have not dropped all that much. When I look at all the extra revenue I can generate using all the latest tools, there is no question I am making more money now per hour than I could ever have made three years ago.
In addition, there are a smattering of perks that didn’t exist back then to further sweeten the pot. Some people say the glass is half empty and some say it is half full. I say that working now versus three years ago allows us to buy more glasses! Be safe out there.
Drivers, do you agree with Jay’s assessment of driving over the years? Let us know!
-Jay @ RSG