Can using Uber and Lyft’s destination filter help you boost your earnings? Yes – if you use it wisely. Today senior RSG contributor Jay Cradeur shows exactly how he uses destination filters in San Francisco to stay consistently busy and earn more. If you’re not using the destination filter to its fullest, try Jay’s strategies and let us know if that helps to increase your earnings!

    When Uber and Lyft first unveiled the Destination Filter in late 2016, I thought it was great.  I felt it would be very useful at the end of the day, heading home, and not wanting to waste time deadheading all the way.  It took me about a year before I really started to understand the possibilities of the Destination Filter.

    In this article, I will share the many ways to fully utilize the Destination Filter to produce extraordinary results.

    How Does The Destination Filter Work?

    The Destination Filter allows a driver to set a target point.  For example, let’s say I am at the end of my day, and I want to go home.  I would set my home as the target point (see how this looks below).  Then, both Uber and Lyft will only assign you rides that move you closer to your destination.  You will not be assigned any rides that move you farther away from your destination.

    Consequently, your chance of getting a ride are lower, but when you get a ride, it will be helping you to meet your objective, which in this case is to get home.

    Often, I set the destination to be the San Francisco Airport.

    Since the Destination Filter is so useful, it encourages drivers to use both Uber and Lyft when possible in order to maximize the number of destination filter uses you have on hand.

    Lyft allows you to use the destination filter six times.  Lyft does not make any distinction between a successful use or a futile use.  If you set a destination, and your time runs out (approximately 15 minutes), that is determined to be “one use”.

    Uber, on the other hand, allows a driver two successful uses.  Therefore, having both services gives you eight Destination Filter uses.

    Watch: How to Use Uber and Lyft’s Destination Filters

    Setting Your Target Point

    I recommend you set your target point at the furthest possible point in the direction you want to go.  I have talked to many drivers and they often make the mistake of setting the Destination Filter target at the center of a city.  When you do this, you are cutting off half the city as a target.

    In all my years, I have never had the Destination Filter take me past my target.  For example, let’s look at this map of my San Francisco market.

    When we set the target point at the center, we are cutting off half our target which will reduce our ride options considerably.  When I am using the destination filter in San Francisco, I will set the point at Fisherman’s Wharf when traveling north (the furthest point North), and The Cliff House when traveling west (the furthest point West).  This maximizes my options for an on target connection.

    Short Rides vs. Long Rides

    There are times during the week when you want to maximize your short rides in an effort to secure a Quest or Weekly Ride Challenge.  There are other times of the week in which you want long rides, rides that allow you to drive at 75 MPH over long stretches of highway.  Each day is an opportunity for both.  Morning and afternoon rush hours are the time for short rides.  You can pick up many UberPOOL and Lyft Shared rides and really rack up the numbers.

    During the middle of the day, and especially on weekends, it makes sense to focus on long rides.  If you have not done the math, we drivers do not make much money on the short city rides because we are moving very slowly and often find ourselves stuck in traffic.

    Watch: Are Long Rides Better Than Short Rides? 

    Due to the traffic, our options are limited.  In San Francisco, I earn just 18 cents per minute waiting and over $1.30 driving at 70 MPH down the freeway.   We can use the Destination Filter to get more long rides on the freeway.

    Putting In The Miles On The Weekend

    If you are working a full day on Saturday or Sunday, and you are not using all of your 8 destination filters, you are not making as much money as you possibly could.  If you are not using you Destination Filters on the weekend, you are leaving your earning up to luck and chance.  Let’s take a look at a recent Sunday.

    Jay’s Rideshare Driving Earnings on a Sunday in San Francisco

    Notice the number of long rides.  These do not occur by accident.  When I find myself in San Francisco, I set my Destination Filter for the San Jose Airport (approximately 40 miles South).  I am telling Lyft and Uber that I want rides going all the way to San Jose.

    In the image above, you can see a ride for $64.  That was a passenger who went from the Marina District in San Francisco to the San Jose Airport.  Once I reached my destination, then I reset the Destination Filter to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco which is approximately 40 miles in the other direction.  I most often get a ride to the San Francisco Airport, since that is a popular destination.

    At the end of my day above, I had used all of my six Lyft Destination Filters.  I used an Uber Destination Filter to get back home.  This past week I was at a Lyft Driver Appreciation Event and one driver told me he does not get the same kind of results.  It is the little details such as how to maximize the use of the Destination Filter which, when added to all the other tips and strategies, contributes to a big difference in results.

    A Few Fine Points

    Don’t burn through your Lyft Destination Filters.  You only have six uses.  I have found that when I go offline with a Lyft Destination Filter in operation, and then back on line, I have used one instance of the Destination Filter.  Plan ahead so that you don’t have to run to the bathroom while a Destination Filter is in use.

    Often, you may find that you have set the airport as a destination, and when you arrive, Lyft will not assign you another ride because you have arrived at your ultimate destination.  You will need to cancel the Destination Filter and then make sure you are back online.  This is one option.

    The other option is to reset your Destination Filter to go to another location.  In my case, I may want to return to San Francisco, and so I will set my filter to Fisherman’s Wharf.  This way, I will only get rides from the airport that are heading toward the city.

    Remember, when you drop someone off at the airport, you are put at the front of the line for a ride.  This is the re-match feature.  Don’t worry that you won’t be re-matched because of the use of the Destination Filter.  You will be.  I have tested it with the Destination Filter and it definitely works.

    Use Your Destination Filter to Earn More as a Rideshare Driver

    This article provided you with  a deep dive into the various ways you can use the Destination Filter to your advantage.  Used properly, the Destination Filter can add 10% – 20% to your weekly earnings.

    In addition, you may be like me and you will get a rush when we have a passenger in the car, and we are driving for 40 minutes at 70 miles per hour.  It is very satisfying to be earning the highest per-minute revenue possible.  I suggest you experiment and see what you can do with the very valuable tool.  Keep me posted.  Be safe out there.

    Drivers, do you use all of your destination filters while you drive?

    -Jay @ RSG

    Read next: How to make more money as an Uber or Lyft driver

    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