12 min read

    12 min read

    (Transcript) The Rideshare Guy Podcast Episode 1: What’s Your Passenger Pick-Up Strategy? #uber #Lyft #rideshare #ridesharing #makemoney #sidehustle #extramoney #sidehustletips #sidehusleideas

    This is a transcript of Episode 1 of The Rideshare Guy Podcast: What’s Your Passenger Pick-Up Strategy?


    A big thanks to reader Carolyn for transcribing the podcast!

    Welcome to the rideshare guy podcast, episode #1.
    I’m your host, Harry Campbell, and I’ll be discussing the world of Rideshare.

    The podcast and the blog are dedicated to the drivers
    So whether you drive for Lyft, Uber or anything in-between, we’ll cover it all for you here.

    You can head over to our blog, read some of our emails, subscribe if you like. You can also find our podcast on iTunes.

    So if there is anything you want to talk about, anything you want me to write about, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, let me know. 
Also tweet me on Twitter at “the rideshare guy”.

    This is my 1st podcast. I’ve been on a couple of podcasts. I run a personal finance blog. I recently went on some podcasts. I like the vibe, feel. I’ve spent a lot of time writing over the years. I love the planet money podcast.

    I wanted to think about how I could help the drivers.

    I want to make sure that as you’re sitting in your car waiting for a ride, you’re not just listening to music, getting tired listening to the same stuff over and over again.

    Strategies for passenger pickups. It is the #1 question from newbie drivers. They don’t understand how the request system works. Why am I getting a request 20 minutes away? I’ll talk about how the algorithm works.

    Hot Zones. I have a couple of thoughts on that. Maybe bring some fresh ideas into the mix.

    5 awesome tips for getting passengers. It isn’t JUST turning on the app. I’ll give you tips on getting more and better passengers.

    Whether you drive for Lyft or you drive for Uber, they have these fancy algorithms.
    Basically, how does a passenger get matched up with the driver? It’s not a mystery. We kind of have a good idea. I send a lot of emails to lift support. They are pretty good about responding. They usually get back to me in about 24 hours maybe two days at the most. Basically what’s behind request something out with them similar to the Google search? I go into this also on my personal finance blog. So, how does it work? On the back end, when a passenger turns on the app, they want to get matched up with the closest driver. That is the company’s number one thing. But on your end as a driver, as soon as you turn on the app, your car request pick up radius is going to increase the longer you are idle. What that really means is if you’re just sitting there doesn’t matter whether driving around doesn’t matter where you at your house, if you are just sitting there without any passenger request the radius of where you can pick someone up is going to get bigger. So you start with a 0.5 or 1 mile radius. That means that any passenger within your radius, you’ll go get them. The longer you go without a passenger request, the bigger your radius gets. That is why I hear people complain that they get requests 20 minutes away. You don’t think that driving all the way there and all the way back is worth your time. Especially if that person only wants a five minute ride. You don’t want to drive 20 minutes to give a five-minute ride and drive 20 minutes back. That’s 45 minutes of drive time for a five-minute ride. You are probably losing money at that point. So it doesn’t matter if you’re driving or staying in the same place. Your radius is getting bigger. So you have to keep that in mind.

    So one little trick that I found is that I turn off and on my app. so I find that is it is a little quiet, I’ll turn off and on my app quickly every I don’t know, every 10 or 15 minutes. That way it kind of eliminates those far away passengers. Otherwise you might have priority over that ride over a driver who is closer if you haven’t gotten a request in some time. However, at the end of the day, Lyft is really trying to cater to the passengers. They do want the passenger to get the closest driver. I think this is something that will be tweaking with in the future. It doesn’t make sense this way. A lot of drivers are complaining about it. It just doesn’t make sense for a driver to drive 15 minutes to pick someone up when there are other drivers closer.

    Another thing you’ll want to consider when trying to understand the request system, some drivers, between rides, like to stay in the same place while other drivers like to drive around. If I’m driving around between rides, I’m wasting gas. Once I started understanding the request system, I realize it doesn’t matter if you’re driving around or whether you stay in the same place. What really matters is how many other drivers are around. Lyft really wants to match the closest passenger with the closest driver.

    What really matters is how many other drivers are around. Lyft wants to match the closest person to the closest driver. Lyft wants to make the passenger experience the best. Driver experience will always be secondary to passenger experience because the passengers the customer. That makes sense, right? So when you’re out there driving, you want to keep an eye out on the other drivers, where they are, what are they doing? Are they grouping up in one area? That could mean there are a lot of ride requests in that area. Or it could mean that there are just a lot of drivers over there. What I can really do is I go to an area that is not quite as crowded but I’m still in a good position where I can reach a lot of different areas. That way I’m going to be closer to a lot of passengers. I don’t like being bunched up with a lot of other drivers. I don’t usually drive all around a lot, but I will move spots. So I will move somewhere where I think I’m going to get a better chance of getting a passenger. So that something you might want to keep in mind.

    Hot zones.
    Lyft and Uber talk a lot about hot zones. If you go to your city’s page it tells me where the hot zones are. So out here in Orange County the hot zone r in Huntington Beach on Main Street by the bars down in Newport Beach where I live down on the peninsula where all the bars on again and over by UC Irvine.

    So when you are out there you want to think about is hot zones because obviously the hot zones are where a lot of the people are you know a lot of people are meeting right generally it’s in areas you know where the bars are things like that. You know obviously a college campus is a really good place for a hot zone because it was a lot of people that don’t have cars and they need rides here and there.

    And they all have smart phones and they all know how that app works.

    So you want to find these hot zones. They might not tell you all of them. But you can figure it out. For example, if there’s a sporting event going on then you’ll know they’re out there will be a hot down there.

    When you are out there, I look at it in a different way. When I Drive night times on Friday and Saturday night, there is a big hot zone right where all the bars are. I could go there and get some rides, but those will be a lot of short rides. Austin from one bar to the next. I’ve had some extremely short rides, like a minute or two. I almost told the passengers, why didn’t you guys just walk. But of course I didn’t.

    So I like to think about, where are the people coming from? So if it is a Friday night and everybody’s going to the bars, I’m not going to hang out at the bars. Not until later in the night. I’m going to hang out in the communities that are 10 or 15 minutes away from the bars. That way I can get all the people who are heading in. So somewhere between 7:00 – 10:00pm or 11:00pm I hang out on the outskirts and try to get all those people. That way you get rides that are a little bit longer. Yes, you could get the rides around the bars, but those are going to be shorter ride. That has been my experience. I like getting the longer rides rather than a short arrives. I think you make more money that way.

    So I’ll drive people that are on the outskirts, 10 or 15 minutes away from the bars, and I’ll Drive them in. Then what I sometimes do is turn off the app so I can get out of that area. So I can avoid the one or two or three minute rides. Or you could turn your app on and make a few short rides and slowly work you’re way back out. Yes, it may be a little bit more gas because you’re going to drive in, and then drive back out. But I think you can get a little bit better value for your money, instead of those little quick short rides. You can experiment with it and figure out what works for you.

    As far as those hot zones, you might want to consider networking with some other drivers. Figure out your own hot zones.

    Last item on the agenda today. I’m going to share my five awesome tips on getting better passengers.

    1. Sundays are great day to work. I never would have guessed. I usually use Sundays as a great day for relaxing. Back on Easter Sunday I was up in Los Angeles and turned in my app on and drove for 2.5 hours continuously. I made a ton of money. I never went more than one or two minutes between passengers. Sundays a lot of people are out doing brunch and socializing and exploring. A lot of them need rides. So, the take away from this is, think about when people are going to be out and about needing Lyfts. Think about days or times that people out and about needing rides. Taco Tuesday? Or holidays that fall in the middle of the week? You always want to be vigilant and looking for opportunities like that.

    1. A lot of people are out day-drinking on Saturday or Sunday.

    2. It is okay to eject a lift once in awhile. Let’s say you’ve been waiting around for a while and you got a request that is 20 minutes away. You could drive out there 20 minutes and you might have a five or ten minute ride. Keep in mind; is it worth your time to drive all the way out there? And then potentially have to drive all the way back? If you are in a hot area, or an area that’s pretty busy, and you get a request that’s far away, it’s okay to turn that request down. If your request is 20 minutes away, I’m probably going to decline that. People often get caught up in their acceptance rate. But it is okay to decline a ride once in awhile. The next night when you accept it n Ride in a row that will increase your acceptance rate. This right your company’s really want drivers. They don’t want to get rid of good drivers. Often drivers worry too much about that acceptance rate. They will give you plenty of warning if your acceptance rate drops too low. More, you want to think about maximizing your profitability. If you have to drive 15 minutes for a five-minute ride, that’s just not worth your time. What I do to avoid that is I slide the app off and on every 10 – 20 minutes.

    3. Miles are better than minutes.
    New drivers might not realize, but you want a longer drive. The longer the ride, the better. Last time I checked, I was getting paid $1.25/mile and only 25 cents per minute. A difference of 5x. Pretty significant. Your time is not that valuable, but your miles are very valuable. So if you get a passenger that wants to go far, rejoice. If you get a far ride of 10 or 20 or 30 miles, and you can use the freeway, that’s excellent. The more miles you go, the more you get paid. So think about that.
    There is a 60-mile cut off point for lift. So you don’t have to accept a ride that is 60 miles or more. However, it might be in your best interest as a very profitable ride.

    4. You can drive in other cities as a lift driver. I’m not quite sure how it works with Uber. I signed up in Orange County California. I’m able to drive in any other cities within California. I’ve heard you cannot drive in other states, but I’ve never tried it out. However I have tried driving in LA, and made a ton of money. You can mix business with pleasure by going to other cities in your state.

    5. Keep an eye on the local events calendar
    Sports games.
    Conventions. Concerts. Street fairs. Brewery events. Do your research, it could really pay off. There might not be a lot of drivers for a particular event because people don’t know about it. You might not be able to, or might not want to, drive every Friday and Saturday night. If you find out about a particular event, a lot of drivers might not know about it. You could take advantage of that. You could be highly rewarded by keeping an eye out on those calendar events. Check out the Internet, even Facebook, and see what your friends are doing. Maybe they know of an event you don’t know about. A friend of mine went to an event, Coachella, and he made nearly a thousand dollars in a day. Driving for Uber, there was price surging of some ridiculous rate, because there were a ton of people but no drivers out there. When the concert let out, there are a lot of people who needed a ride.

    Those are my 5 tips.

    Hope this helps.

    I would love for you guys to leave a comment at,

    You can email me at harry[at]

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    You can tell me what you want to hear about, what you want me to talk about and stuff like that. Happy driving. See you on the road.

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.