Christian here, Today we have a sponsored article from Via. They’re one of the biggest rideshare companies that has less than four words in their name and driving for them offers a lot of new and interesting mechanics around earning on the road. I encourage you to check them out!
Via Driver Overview
Via is a rather unique rideshare company when compared to the Big Two. Via drivers get paid to shuttle multiple passengers who are headed in a similar direction, only stopping to pick-up and drop-off on a corner to corner basis. Passengers then walk the last block or two to their destination to avoid unnecessary detours while making the rides more efficient. Most rides are shared rides on Via.
A lot of former Uber drivers are finding they enjoy Via’s model for a few good reasons. For starters, Via allows many drivers to choose between hourly pay (aka Blue Mode) and per-trip pay (known as Online or Flex Mode). Drivers are also rewarded for doing shared rides instead of being punished with a lower rate of pay like on UberPOOL. On top of all of this, Via charges a much lower (and fixed) commission rate. All of these things contribute to something important:
Via Drivers Earn More Net Than Any Other Drivers In NYC
Rideshare companies in New York City are required by law to share their trip data with the Taxi and Limousine Commission. This means that NYC is one of the very few places in the United States where we can get reliable, third-party data from regulators on the pay of rideshare drivers.
Want To Become A Via Driver? Start Here
The TLC data published in July of 2018 showed that Via drivers earned a median of $20.99 in net earnings (after expenses) per hour. Meanwhile, Uber drivers earned a median of $14.17 per hour. That means an Uber driver in NYC could potentially increase their pay by 48.14% by driving for Via.
Via drivers also operate in high-density urban zones. That means Via drivers tend to put fewer miles on their vehicles since there are no long distance trips outside of their tighter operating zone. Additionally, pickup locations are mapped in advance so drivers can wait safely, not blocking traffic or requiring riders to step into traffic. All of these things add up to make a big difference in reducing wear and tear and depreciation.
Two Earnings Modes: Blue and Flex
Via drivers can choose to earn in different ways. Drivers can earn guaranteed hourly rates or by-the-trip. Guaranteed hourly rates, known as Blue Mode, are available for all drivers in NYC and Chicago and for selected drivers in other cities.
In Blue Mode, drivers earn at a guaranteed hourly rate and pickup and dropoff as many passengers as Via assigns. When you drop-off your last passenger, Via will direct you to a “Terminal” to wait for your next dispatch. You can take breaks in Blue Mode between rides by “pausing” the app.
The hourly rates are posted pre-commission. For example, a “$20-hour” will net a driver $18 after say, a 10% service fee.
Drivers in “Blue Mode” receive more stable hourly earnings, but they don’t collect Via’s version of Dynamic Pricing (called Rocket Pay). They get paid the same regardless of how many rides they give in Blue Mode, whether that’s giving a lot of rides or none at all. It’s perfect for those who want stable pay during commute hours.
Hourly rates in Blue Mode will also change throughout the day according to peak demand. The rates are viewable in advance within the Via app. Blue Mode hours are not available 24/7 for drivers in each market but tend to be fairly consistent while mirroring the busiest times of the day. If there are no Blue Mode hours available, the driver app will switch over to Flex Mode.
Related article: Essential gear for rideshare drivers
Via Blue Mode Promotions
Via is testing promotions in Blue Mode that will offer a cash reward for completing a certain number of hours in a given day. It’s similar to what Uber calls “Quest” and these earnings are in addition to the hourly earnings in Flex Mode. It’s kind of like getting a bonus for doing more rides.
How Do You Become A Blue Mode Driver?
New York City: Blue Mode is available to all drivers in NYC. Drivers can toggle between Blue Mode and Flex Mode based on their preferences.
Chicago: Via offers a Welcome Promotion for every new driver to join in Blue Mode if they want. They can opt-out, and drive in Flex if preferred.
Washington DC: Blue Mode is presently offered to a subset of drivers that have a history of good performance and quality driving. Once a driver opts-in to Blue Mode, they can opt out at any time.
For those driving in DC and Chicago, you can switch to Blue Mode and back to Flex once. If you want to be a Blue Mode driver, we recommend reaching out to one of Via’s local driver centers. However, drivers outside of NYC cannot toggle between Blue and Flex Modes.
Drivers in Flex Mode get paid for every trip they complete. They earn money based on a published rate card that pays similar to UberX or Lyft Classic (so with Via there are no reduced rates for shared rides). In fact, drivers on Flex Mode are incentivized to accept more passengers on each ride since each passenger triggers a small increase in the multiplier for the entire ride.
So think of getting paid the same for an UberPOOL, but then getting a 1.1X or 1.2X multiplier for picking up additional passengers along the way. It’s a far more compelling pay model for drivers than UberPOOL or ExpressPOOL.
There are a lot of factors that go into the dispatch algorithm, but the algorithm seems to assign a higher “weight” to those in Blue Mode. This is important to consider if you choose to opt for Flex Mode because it may be tempting to go from Blue Mode to Flex Mode with the belief that you will be just as busy on Flex Mode.
Rocket Pay Multiplier
Rocket Pay is Via’s version of dynamic pricing and is available to drivers using the Flex Mode pay scheme. This acts as a pay multiplier on the entire fare for areas that experience more demand by riders than can be fulfilled by drivers. So a $10 fare that got 1.5x rocket pay would become a $15 fare. Rocket Pay with via has the following features;
- Rocket Pay zones refresh every 10 to 15 minutes.
- Rocket Pay zones are much larger than Uber’s Surge hexagons.
- Rocket Pay is still a fare multiplier (vs. an assigned dollar amount under Uber’s New Surge).
Rocket Pay is similar in many respects to Uber’s older version of surge that most old-school drivers prefer since it’s easier to predict and leads to less “chasing the surge”.
That being said, Via “surges” with Rocket Pay occur less often than Lyft Prime Time or Uber Surge. So don’t expect it to always be around. Especially at 2 a.m.!
Via Pays More For Shared Rides
For Flex Mode drivers, Via will add a sharing premium for each additional passenger ranging between 5% and 20% depending on what city you drive in and how many additional riders you get.
I think this is compelling because it actually provides a financial incentive for drivers to do shared rides. When Uber is paying less per mile and requiring more work, Via is actually paying more to reflect the extra work of the ride.
Shared Rides on Via are Also Far More Organized
Via’s original business model is based on providing shared rides. The service is corner-to-corner (versus door-to-door with POOL on Uber). Via also only dispatches drivers to pickup and drop-off in legal, safe locations, resulting in far less time spent trying to locate your passengers since Via passengers will already be in these designated places.
Via Has A MUCH Lower Commission Than Uber
Via takes far less of each fare than Uber or Lyft. In Chicago and Washington DC, Via only charges a 15% service fee on each fare. In New York City they only charge 10% for Blue Mode and 20% for Flex. Both are MUCH lower than the commission rates charged by Uber and Lyft.
In comparison, Uber and Lyft charge most drivers a minimum commission of 25% but their REAL commission often comes out to anywhere between 27% and 55% after you factor in things like Upfront Pricing, New Surge, and Service Fees. So only charging 10% – 15% is big a deal.
Consider this, a driver giving $50,000 in gross fares over a year would save $5000 on Via’s lower commission structure. Or you could drive 3-5 fewer weeks each year and make the same as before.
Want To Become A Via Driver? Start Here
Live Support: Call (Or Text) Via Anytime
One of our favorite parts about Via is that they have a live support team that you can call or text whenever there is a problem on the road. You will get a live person who works for Via in real-time. They’ve had this around since day 1 when they launched 5 years ago, much longer than Uber.
Via Has More Consistent Passengers
Since Via operates as a shared-ride service, it is busiest during commute hours, so the passengers tend to be of a regular (non-drunk) variety that are simply trying to get to and from their jobs without incident. Most of the passengers use the service often, which means that you end up with a lot of repeat passengers that you can build a great relationship with, too.
Via also does a great job educating passengers about the shared ride experience, so you get passengers who know how everything operates. Or in other words, they are far less likely to ask you to wait or to drop them off in another location than they requested, or to show up with more people than were originally booked. In fact, if the passenger is not ready then you are expected to leave.
Sign Up To be a Via Driver
You can sign up for Via by clicking here.
I have always said drivers should diversify the platforms they drive for. Via is a new earnings platforms for drivers that is worth checking out. Once you are signed up, you can also take advantage of their driver referral bonuses as they grow – and they plan to grow.
Since they are still relatively new/young this gives early adopter drivers a really good opportunity to make some serious referral income on top of their standard pay model. Via currently operates in New York, Chicago, and DC, as well as in partnership with the cities of Arlington, TX, and West Sacramento, CA and its joint venture, ViaVan, operates services in Amsterdam, London, and Berlin.
Readers, have you ever heard of Via? What do you think of the UberPOOL/Lyft Line model that actually pays you more to take on multiple riders? Do you think this would save you gas costs and time?
-Christian @ RSG
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