St. Patty’s Day (and weekend) is always busy, but if you’re not careful, you could end up with a whole lot of green puke in your car. Senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins gives us some advice on how to handle St. Patrick’s Day as an Uber driver, plus tips from drivers in Philadelphia, PA and Washington, DC.
St. Patrick’s Day is a busy time for rideshare driving — especially if you drive in cities with a large Irish background or population and go all out for their festivities.
I spoke with drivers from Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. who had success driving last St. Patrick’s Day. I’ll also give some tips from my experience doing the same in St. Paul, MN.
Quick tips for driving on St. Patrick’s Day:
- Be prepared to engage with drunks! If you don’t like drunk people, maybe drive delivery that night instead
- Bring barf bags!
- Make sure to read up on Uber’s and Lyft’s cleaning policies
Is It Worth Driving on St. Patrick’s Day?
This will 100% depend on your city. If you live in, say, Phoenix, you might not be in for a day that’s different from any other.
But if you live in Chicago, it might be a different story for you. You know your city. Do they do anything big? Are there celebrations outside of the day itself? Are there road closures? Learn these things about your city before making your decision.
As for where I drive in St. Paul, Minnesota, there is a celebration the weekend before as well as the day of. The weekend before is known as LuckyPalooza and shuts down a street in downtown St. Paul for the entire Saturday.
Then, on the day of St. Patrick’s Day, there’s a big parade also in St. Paul. It’s something people do not miss.
St. Paul is always rocking on St. Paddy’s Day, but it’s twin, Minneapolis is dead as a doornail and not worth any kind of effort. It’s very much a ghost town on St. Patrick’s Day and during LuckyPalooza in Minneapolis – something you wouldn’t know unless you knew your city well.
It’s possible that your closest main city may not have festivities, but a nearby smaller one will be worth looking into. Here’s how things shook out for two drivers last year — one from Philly and one from Washington, D.C.
Driving on St. Patrick’s Day in Philadelphia, PA
RSG reader and driver, Kelly C., drives in Philadelphia, and happened to do so on St. Patrick’s Day last year. Here’s what he had to say:
“In Philadelphia, St. Patrick’s Day can turn into a three day event if it falls on a weekend. On regular weekdays, I start about 4:00 pm; on St Paddy’s Day, it gets drunk out earlier so I’ll start about 2:00.
The blue collar neighborhoods in southern Delaware County with a heavy Irish influence that I avoid on Saturday nights become much more lucrative on St. Paddy’s Day with the short trips, surge pricing, and higher proclivity for tips.”
He went on to outline what last year’s St. Patrick’s Day looked like for him:
“Last year over the three-day weekend I grossed $950 in 28 hours of work, about $34/hr.”
See Kelly’s screenshots below showing his earnings over the three day weekend of festivities in Philadelphia.
Needless to say, his conclusion: “Yes, it’s worthwhile to drive in Philly on St Paddy’s Day.”
Driving on St. Patrick’s Day in Washington, D.C.
Another RSG reader and driver, Eron S., related his experience driving in Washington, D.C. last St. Patrick’s Day.
“Driving rideshare in the Washington, D.C. area on St. Patrick’s Day is, like in most situations, all about timing and location. In 2019, it fell on a Sunday, so I decided to get out during the early afternoon to provide rides to folks going to Irish-themed bars and pubs.
“I drove from 3:45pm to 7:45pm in 2019, and made $98.75 net on 9 rides in 4 hours, for a $24.69 per hour gross average.”
Eron’s conclusion concerning driving on St. Patrick’s Day:
“I was able to make a decent gross hourly wage driving on St. Patrick’s Day in 2019 driving on a Sunday afternoon and early evening. It was one of the best Sundays of the year for me.
In 2020, I plan to do more hours of driving, though later in the day, as St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday, so revelers might be going straight from work to the pubs. I always carry extra water for people on these drinking-themed holidays, and found it useful for people to keep hydrated.”
Driving on St. Patrick’s Day in St. Paul, MN
I did not drive last year, but in 2018, I did. I started around 1 pm and went until 5:30 pm. In that 4-and-a-half hour time frame, I earned about $112, averaging about $25 per hour gross pay.
I distinctly remember that even at 1 o’clock, people were already wasted. After dropping someone off downtown to start partaking in the festivities, a couple of people tried piling their drunk friend into my van thinking I was their Uber… I was not. I was already on my way to pick up someone a few blocks down.
So, the hourly was definitely worth it, and while that drunk person was the worst drunk of the day that tried getting into my vehicle, I was lucky that he was not actually my fare. I do feel bad for whoever was his Uber driver for the day. I’m almost certain he threw up in their car.
Overall, I would drive on St. Patrick’s Day again, and I’d do similar to what I did. I would drive during the day, not too late at night, and I’d be vigilant about who was trying to get into my car. If they are not my passenger, they are not allowed in. Lock those doors!
Tips for Dealing with Drunk Passengers on the Big Day
It’s a holiday known for drinking. Be prepared for that.
If you absolutely do not want to drive any passenger who may be drunk, just stay home. It won’t be worth it for you because they will all be varying degrees of drunk.
If you’re mostly ok with that, there are precautions you can take to help stave off the inevitable.
Barf bags are a necessity. Keep them on hand and in a spot easily accessible for your passengers. They will take one if they need it.
The mostly sober passengers will likely ask you about them, but all the drivers I spoke with for this story concurred that it’s a great idea to have them on hand, especially for this kind of holiday.
You can also make sure to have cleaning supplies on hand just in case accidents happen despite having barf bags at the ready. That way you can clean up messes without completely interrupting your day, so you can keep earning.
With that in mind, also be sure to take pictures and submit them to Uber or Lyft if someone does have an accident in your car. That way you’ll get the cleaning fees associated with it.
Another thing that might help with that is to have seat covers. That way at the end of the day you can just remove them and toss them in the wash to be ready to go for the next time you drive.
For a full list of our recommended driver necessities, visit our best car accessories page here.
Should You Drive for Uber on St. Patrick’s Day?
I can’t stress this enough — KNOW YOUR CITY. If you live somewhere without any celebrations, it’s going to be like a regular old Tuesday this year.
If you live somewhere that does have festivities, learn what they are, know what roads are closed and when, prepare yourself for a bunch of drunk people and get out there and drive!
Have you ever driven on St. Patrick’s Day? How did it work out for you? Where are our Boston drivers at with their two cents?
-Paula @ RSG
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