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8 min read

    8 min read

    Do you know your Uber and Lyft driver apps? It turns out, there are some really neat features on the Uber and Lyft driver apps that can help you drive more efficiently, saving you time and helping you earn more money. As these features have been rolled out (mostly) nationwide, RSG contributor Jay Cradeur outlines below what these features are and how to use them to maximize your income.

    For better or worse, Uber and Lyft are always innovating and adding (or removing) features in the driver app. In this case, both Uber and Lyft have incorporated features that have made it much easier for a driver to manage his or her workload.

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    There are four features in particular that have improved the driver experience, and I’ll share my impressions and strategies so you can maintain more control over your day and maximize your profits.

    Do you know your Uber and Lyft driver apps? It turns out, there are some really neat features on the Uber and Lyft driver apps that can help you drive more efficiently, saving you time and helping you earn more money.

    Lyft’s Auto-Switch

    This feature helps to ensure you are getting the passenger pickups closest to where you are located.  In the past,  when I got a ping from a passenger who was, according to Waze, 10 minutes or more away, I would call the passenger and ask them to cancel the ride while assuring them that when they tried again, they would most certainly get someone closer than 10, 15 or 20 minutes away.

    However, all of that has been updated with a Lyft feature called Auto-Switch. Here is how it works. If I am driving toward a pick up who may be far away and the situation is optimal, Lyft will reassign that passenger to a driver who is closer. At the same time, they will assign me a new passenger who is the same distance or closer than the original passenger.

    The only issue I have with Lyft’s  feature is I do not get to see the Prime Time earnings bump for the new passenger. Still, Auto-Switch does make my driving more efficient and I don’t have to call the passenger, so overall this is a good feature.

    Uber did have a similar feature called Trip Upgrade, but that feature had some issues, so Uber is not currently testing Trip Upgrade in the US. Uber may in the future roll out an improved version of Trip Upgrade.

    Lyft’s Auto Queue / Uber’s Next Trip Feature

    Both Uber and Lyft offer a version of this feature.  With Lyft, as I am approaching a drop off point with a passenger in my car, if there is another passenger waiting for a ride near the drop off point, Lyft will automatically assign me the next passenger.  I am notified by a voice message: “A passenger has been added to your queue.”

    By my observation, this usually occurs within five minutes of the drop off, although during extreme high Prime Time periods, I have been assigned a new rider up to 10 minutes in advance.

    With Uber, the queuing does not occur automatically.  Uber will notify you that you have a passenger ready for pick up, but you must click “Tap to accept” in order to claim that passenger.

    If you are talking to a passenger in your car, or are really focused on driving in heavy traffic and miss the notification, you will not get the new passenger. This will impact your acceptance rate.  In addition, if you are working on an Uber consecutive ride bonus and you miss a queued request, this will break your string.

    Related: What App Improvements Would You Like to See Uber Make?

    This happened to me.  I thought I had earned a bonus.  I contacted Uber and they told me I missed a ping.  I had been talking to a group of guys in my car and missed it completely.

    Related: My Thoughts on Uber’s Next Trip Feature

    However, this situation could be avoided altogether if you are using the Mystro app, which auto accepts your rides for you.

    Last Ride

    Both Uber and Lyft give you the ability to declare your current ride as your last ride.  This is very useful and there is no limit to how many times you can use this feature.

    How to Maximize Your Earnings with the Last Ride Feature

    I work in San Francisco.  Sometimes I may get a ride down to San Jose (45 minutes south of San Francisco).  I certainly don’t want to do much driving in San Jose because I don’t like it.  Everything is flat and far apart, I am not familiar with the city, and the traffic signals seem to last at least twice as long as in San Francisco.

    Once I see I am going to San Jose, I set my app to Last Ride.  This way, once I have completed the ride, I can set my destination filter back to San Francisco.  Then I know my next ride will take me in the direction of San Francisco, and I won’t be stuck in San Jose.

    There are three other situations when this feature comes in handy. First, you can use this feature at the end of a shift.  If I get a destination that is close to my home, I immediately set the app to Last Ride.

    Second, I sometimes get a passenger who asks me if we can do two stops.  Now, both Uber and Lyft provide the passenger with the flexibility to schedule multiple stops through the app.  However, I have had more than a few passengers who could not figure out how to do it.

    No problem, because I set the app to Last Ride. This way I will not get any new pings as I arrive at the initial destination.  Then, after the first stop, either the passenger or I can change the destination to the next stop.

    This avoids the uncomfortable situation of having to tell your passenger that you have been reassigned to another passenger, or having to decline a ride, hurting your acceptance rate.

    The final situation occurs when you are making a drop off just a few minutes before Peak Rides, which count toward your Power Drive bonus. For Lyft, this would be M – F from 7 – 9 a.m. and 5 – 7 p.m., and weekend nights.

    If I am dropping someone off at 6:55 a.m., I will set the app to Last Ride.  After making the drop off, I will then drive towards my best area for a few minutes.  Once the clock strikes 7:01 a.m., I will turn the app back on, making sure my next ride will count toward my Power Driver Bonus.

    Related: Don’t forget to track your miles, even if your app is off! Best Mileage Apps for Drivers

    Destination Filters

    Both Uber and Lyft offer this feature. You can use it 2 times with Uber and 6 times with Lyft.  If you drive with both platforms, that give you 8 uses per day.

    I use this feature as many times as possible.  It is one of the best of the newer features as it allows the driver to exert some control over his or her daily workload.  There are several ways to maximize your earnings using this feature.

    Related: Uber Drops Destination Filters Back to 2 Per Day

    How to Maximize Your Earnings with Destination Filters

    If I am in downtown San Francisco, and the traffic is not too bad, I will set my destination filter to the airport.  More than 50% of the time, I will get a ping going to the airport.  This is a very profitable run when there is no traffic.

    In addition, given that I am taking someone to the airport, I have a 50/50 chance that I will pick up a ride going back to the city.  One day, I did this three times in a row, 6 long rides with no traffic.

    Another way to use the destination filter is to get back to a bigger city. If I have taken a long ride to San Jose, or to the East Bay, I use the destination filter to get back to San Francisco, and it usually delivers.

    The key is to set the destination to the furthest point in San Francisco (or the city you want to get back to). For example, if I am in San Jose (south of San Francisco), I will set the destination filter to Fisherman’s Wharf, which is the furthest point north.  If I am in Oakland (east of San Francisco), I will set the destination to the Cliff House, which is the furthest point west.

    No matter which city you work, you will want to set the point well beyond where you want to end up.  This will make sure you will get any ride that is going to the destination city.  I have talked to some drivers and they set the destination filter for the middle of the city.  If you do this, you will miss out on any destinations beyond the center reducing your chance by 50% or half.

    Overall, These Features Should Help You Earn More

    All of these features are wonderful additions to the Lyft and Uber app. If you drove a few years ago, you will most likely appreciate them even more. Used properly, they can increase your efficiency and earn you more dollars per hour.

    Have I missed anything?  Have any of you discovered any additional ways to use these features?  If so, please share in the comments below.  Be safe out there.

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    -Jay @ RSG

    Jay Cradeur

    Jay Cradeur

    Jay Cradeur, a graduate of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, is a full-time driver with over 26,000 rides. Jay has a driver-focused podcast: Rideshare Dojo with Jay Cradeur. When Jay isn’t writing articles or making videos, he is traveling the world. You can see what Jay is up to at www.nomadjay.com.

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