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Do you believe you make more money driving short or longer distances?

  • Short distances (less than 2 miles).

  • Longer distances (more than 2 miles).

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a few questions. I am not in a huge metropolitan area first of all, so ATL & L.A. drivers, please understand that your opinions may not apply the same way others' would. Not discounting your experience, just itso practical application to my situation.

Question 1: Distance vs. Quantity
How can I know how far away a fare is when it comes in? I have been accepting every ping I get & it is not a great idea. However I have come to wonder whether I make more money on these trips than I do running people a few blocks then trying to scoop up another fare.

An addendum to that question: what about the long trips after a game/show? I've picked up people who were going 20-30 miles away before, to an area that I certainly would not get another fare from. I'd this just totally "luck of the draw"?

Question 2: Surges
It seems to be the consensus that driving people during a surge is the best way to make money, however every time there is a surge in our area it is something like 1.2x or 1.3x. That & I never seem to get pings from surging areas, I only get them from farther away from town. I have put a lot of this down to these "how to 'hack' Uber" articles (which tell riders to wait out surges & drivers to play them up by switching apps). Maybe I'm wrong, I've only been driving for two days, so my observations are cursory.

Question 3: Airports
It seems not a day goes by that I don't read about some legal tangle that Uber drivers had with an airport. In my area I have read posts about drivers being charged with trespassing, even though the Uber site (for my city) only says that we are required to display our "trade dress" (the "U") on our windshield.

Question 4: The App
More than once the app has sent me to the wrong pick up location. Once, it was off by almost 2 miles. That's more than just a GPS that hadn't quite locked on. Another time, my fare was meant to be on one side of a block & bounced to the other side then back again almost instantly. It caused a lot of confusion since it was a very busy area where multiple Ubers/Lyfts were picking up/dropping off. This is particularly problematic in crowded areas. Is there no way to "double check" a fare's location? What if they move after calling? Will their position update?

Question 5: Dash cam
What, other than catching Uber execs being pricks to drivers, are the real uses for a dash cam? Accidents I gather, but do I need one that will record behind me (like a dvr back-up cam)?

Question 6: Apps
There are a number of "helper apps" in the Play Store. Has anyone used those & found them to be helpful? It seems like there are a lot of things that neither a GPS app, nor the Uber Driver app does, but should be possible. If there isn't an app that fills the gaps, someone should make one. I'm a developer, so I'm always looking for problems to solve.

Thanks in advance!
 

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A little birdie once told me that stop and go has more wear and tear on your car than highway miles ( you also end up making more mistakes). However, even if that isn't true it certainly is true for human beings. Put a driver in stop and go for an hour and put another driver in cruising highway miles and see which one has their head explode first. Then again, with all things being equal highway miles (long trips) are actually faster than short trips because the miles count up faster. The mile multiplier is much higher than the minute multiplier.

Also, you could get a fare from that area. You would be surprised.
 

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When it is all said and done you will probably make slightly more on longer rides.
However something to keep in mind if you're in a small area that's really busy you might have pick up after pick up very close to wherever your last drop off was so that you're pretty much continuously driving. That is sometimes the case in the college town I'm sitting in right now. Whereas on a thumb distance run there's a very good chance you will have to dead mile all the way back....
But whether it is a short or long run if it's not surging up a little bit or boost you are probably losing money. Definitely so in Sacramento California.
 

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1. When you get a ride request, it tells you how many minutes away it is. I don't accept anything further than 10 minutes out. You'll just have to decide what works for you. Deadheading back from long rides is part of the game.

2. No advice. Happens to everyone. If I'm in a surge area, I don't accept pings from outside that area. My acceptance rate is currently 38%, so I may not be a good role model.

3. Check the rules with the airport police.

4. Once you accept a ride, click navigate. Use goggle maps or Waze. Uber nav sucks. I find Google maps to be more accurate on pickup location.

5. You'll want a dashcam that records inside and outside. Pax accuse drivers of all kinds of bad stuff.

6. The only external apps I use are flightstats, to see what's happening at the airport, and the Uber pax app, to see if I'm surrounded by other ants (drivers)

Good luck.
 

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I have a few questions. I am not in a huge metropolitan area first of all, so ATL & L.A. drivers, please understand that your opinions may not apply the same way others' would. Not discounting your experience, just itso practical application to my situation.
Question 1: Distance vs. Quantity

How can I know how far away a fare is when it comes in? I have been accepting every ping I get & it is not a great idea. However I have come to wonder whether I make more money on these trips than I do running people a few blocks then trying to scoop up another fare.
As far as mileage, it won't tell you, but on the ping screen, right below the timer circle, it will tell you how many minutes you are away from the pax

An addendum to that question: what about the long trips after a game/show? I've picked up people who were going 20-30 miles away before, to an area that I certainly would not get another fare from. I'd this just totally "luck of the draw"?
Pretty much, but it's not an entirely bad thing

The longer trip you get, obviously the more you get paid, this can be anywhere from a $10~$50+ trip depending on your market and distance (definitely with surge), and this is guaranteed, the demand has it's supply (the $10~$50+ pax has a driver... You)

If you take multiple short runs on the other hand, you are at the mercy of your market's minimum fare (if you have one, my market's minimum fare is $3 to the driver), sure multiple ~$3 fares add up, but there's no guarantee how many people you are going to pick up in a given amount of time depending on supply (drivers) and demand (pax), so you could make 2 to 8 trips let's say, come back for your next, and all potential pax are gone, or surge is gone, or both, 2~8 trips at $3 min fare is $6~$24, take the higher number of both (a potential of $24 vs. a potential of $50+), which sounds better to you?

If you are out in the sticks or in a zone you can't drive in after drop off, there may be some deadheading until you will start getting pings again, but a ping nowhere near the event sure beats deadheading all the way back to the event only to find out it's a ghost town

Long story short, sometimes one long trip is much better than a bunch of short ones

Question 2: Surges

It seems to be the consensus that driving people during a surge is the best way to make money, however every time there is a surge in our area it is something like 1.2x or 1.3x. That & I never seem to get pings from surging areas, I only get them from farther away from town. I have put a lot of this down to these "how to 'hack' Uber" articles (which tell riders to wait out surges & drivers to play them up by switching apps). Maybe I'm wrong, I've only been driving for two days, so my observations are cursory.
Here's some surge tips that veteran drivers have mentioned

1. Do NOT chase the surge, this is exactly what Surge is for, to attract drivers (like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey), once enough drivers are in range or heading there, bye-bye surge, remember, you chase, you kill

If you MUST chase the surge, go incognito (go offline), you can't see an ant that's invisible

2. Again, don't chase the surge... Let the surge come to you, and yes, the surge can come to you, stay away and check your pings

3. Surge is NOT WYSIWYG, yes, the area that is red is surging, but you don't want to go near it, again, let the surge come to you, accept pings FROM that area, don't go TO that area, just because you're not in it doesn't mean you can't get pings that are (just had a 2x surge last night I got from a suburb over, I was nowhere near surge and I still got it)

4. Check the ping, not the map, just like I mentioned #2, right below the timer circle, you will get a row with some information about the pax (like rating for example), if the pax is in a surge zone, the surge multiplier will be displayed right next to the rating, if you are okay with that surge level, go for it

I am no surge pro and I still find myself chasing surges even though I know I shouldn't, but these tips should help you to get the best out of surge

Question 3: Airports

It seems not a day goes by that I don't read about some legal tangle that Uber drivers had with an airport. In my area I have read posts about drivers being charged with trespassing, even though the Uber site (for my city) only says that we are required to display our "trade dress" (the "U") on our windshield.
Airports are a mixed bag, and by varying levels, airports hate Rideshare

Many airports have completely banned Rideshare entirely, can't pick up or drop off, some allow drop offs, but have banned pickups, some allow both, but you must have the trade dress and you have to wait in a designated lot and be in queue

The airport in my market has slowly accepted Rideshare and is now almost issue free as long as you play by the rules, when I first started Uber, the airport allowed Rideshare pickups and dropoffs, but there was no system in place yet, drivers were sent an "airport etiquette" guide saying to park and wait at the cell phone lot, but since there was no queue system yet, drivers would disobey the etiquette notice and try to park as close to the arrivals loop as they could, causing chaos in the parking garage right in front of the loop, and since they didn't require the trade dress yet, you could easily blend in with everybody else and pickup/dropoff at the curb like normal

They later added a dedicated Rideshare lot and came up with an (invisible at the time) FIFO queue system, where you basically just waited until you got a ping and went to pick up, and at the time, they still didn't require trade dress, the queue system was later updated to where you could see what set you were placed in (1 to 10 cars, 11 to 20 cars, 21 to 30 cars, etc.)

After that they gave Rideshare drivers a quarter lane to wait for pax at pickup/arrivals (once you got a ping from the lot) and started requiring trade dress, and this is when I noticed the most issues, if you got just a foot out of that quarter of a lane, they would be on you like a predator to it's prey, I was yelled at twice at least for not being in the designated quarter, they finally just reciently gave us 3/4 of the lane now and that extra half has really changed things, there's still the occasional issue, but for the most part it's almost hassle free now

I would say print out everything listed from Uber saying what you should do at the airport and what is allowed, keep it together and in an easy to access spot in your car, if you are charged for trespassing or any other legal issues, show the Uber documents to the accuser showing that you aren't breaking any rules/laws, prove that you are not impeding the flow, and show your trade dress, if they continue to cause hassle, ask for written proof dictating it's illegal or breaks the rules of the airport, as you have not heard anything of the sort and would not have done it had you known, ask for badge numbers in necessary, there's a difference between enforcing rules and laws and harassing somebody, and if everything is in order and proven, that is a case for harassment
 

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Question 4: The App

More than once the app has sent me to the wrong pick up location. Once, it was off by almost 2 miles. That's more than just a GPS that hadn't quite locked on. Another time, my fare was meant to be on one side of a block & bounced to the other side then back again almost instantly. It caused a lot of confusion since it was a very busy area where multiple Ubers/Lyfts were picking up/dropping off. This is particularly problematic in crowded areas. Is there no way to "double check" a fare's location? What if they move after calling? Will their position update?
The in-app navigation is a mess, in most cases you would only rely on it as a suggestion, many drivers use either Google Maps or Wayze instead

Once the location is entered and you have been pinged, the address is in place until you arrive and the trip is started or the trip is cancelled, this is why a lot of times if you are at the pin and the location doesn't make sense, the trip is often cancelled by the pax and you are repinged with a new pickup location and same name

Question 5: Dash cam

What, other than catching Uber execs being pricks to drivers, are the real uses for a dash cam? Accidents I gather, but do I need one that will record behind me (like a dvr back-up cam)?
Anything and everything, many drivers only have a forward/road facing camera and an in cab/interior camera, but if you can stick a camera somewhere, it definitely wouldn't hurt

Dashcams can be useful in many cases, driving infractions, accident scenes, unruly pax, destruction of property, pax tracking and lost item issues, amusing YouTube videos, the list goes on, dashcams are pretty much the mobile version of CCTV cameras you see in stores, banks, etc., used for the same purposes

Question 6: Apps

There are a number of "helper apps" in the Play Store. Has anyone used those & found them to be helpful? It seems like there are a lot of things that neither a GPS app, nor the Uber Driver app does, but should be possible. If there isn't an app that fills the gaps, someone should make one. I'm a developer, so I'm always looking for problems to solve.

Thanks in advance!
I'm on iOS myself, there are a few on the Apple App Store as well, I haven't used any myself except for flight tracking apps when I'm at the airport

I think that having some helper apps usable over a smart watch would be nice, being able to get out-of-trip data (like payout information or surge) while in the middle of a trip would be interesting, or m
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Learn to use your two destination opportunities wisely. They come in really handy after longer rides.
This has been good advice (even before I read it). If I can get a fare that is headed to another hot-spot, I can usually get a fare back. I feel a bit like a pinball, but money is money. Gas is also money, so efficiency is a good thing!
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6. The only external apps I use are flightstats, to see what's happening at the airport, and the Uber pax app, to see if I'm surrounded by other ants (drivers)
I have been experimenting with the pax app, & it seems to give me a lot of spurious info at times. I realize there is a delay between the actual & perceived position of "ants" (hilarious jargon btw), but I have repeatedly been on an empty street at night when there should have been other cars circling the block according to the app. Is it possible that the Greyball system (see NY Times article "How Uber Deceives the Authorities Worldwide" I cannot link for some reason, even though I meet the requirements) is feeding drivers phantom cars while the driver app is online?

I initially wondered about this when I was reading about the "2-phone trick", because the people insisted that the second phone needed to be connected with a different carrier. I assumed this was because Uber knows the IMEI of the phone the driver app is on (also, they obviously have a relationship with the carriers) & wouldn't display accurate info to a pax app on the same device. As I qualified, these are nothing more than assumptions.

_______________________________________________________________________

Here's some surge tips that veteran drivers have mentioned

1. Do NOT chase the surge, this is exactly what Surge is for, to attract drivers (like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey), once enough drivers are in range or heading there, bye-bye surge, remember, you chase, you kill

If you MUST chase the surge, go incognito (go offline), you can't see an ant that's invisible

2. Again, don't chase the surge... Let the surge come to you, and yes, the surge can come to you, stay away and check your pings

3. Surge is NOT WYSIWYG, yes, the area that is red is surging, but you don't want to go near it, again, let the surge come to you, accept pings FROM that area, don't go TO that area, just because you're not in it doesn't mean you can't get pings that are (just had a 2x surge last night I got from a suburb over, I was nowhere near surge and I still got it)

I am no surge pro and I still find myself chasing surges even though I know I shouldn't, but these tips should help you to get the best out of surge
This is really good advice! I feel like I should have inferred most of this...but I didn't. Seriously, thank you for this!

I would say print out everything listed from Uber saying what you should do at the airport and what is allowed, keep it together and in an easy to access spot in your car, if you are charged for trespassing or any other legal issues, show the Uber documents to the accuser showing that you aren't breaking any rules/laws, prove that you are not impeding the flow, and show your trade dress, if they continue to cause hassle, ask for written proof dictating it's illegal or breaks the rules of the airport, as you have not heard anything of the sort and would not have done it had you known, ask for badge numbers in necessary, there's a difference between enforcing rules and laws and harassing somebody, and if everything is in order and proven, that is a case for harassment
Again, this is gold! Thanks!
 

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Question 5: Dash cam
What, other than catching Uber execs being pricks to drivers, are the real uses for a dash cam? Accidents I gather, but do I need one that will record behind me (like a dvr back-up cam)?
I think the two main reasons for using a dash cam are documenting pax behavior, and occasionally documenting the number of pax in your vehicle (if you're an XL driver) to get fare upgrades.

I don't personally have a dash cam because I don't drive late nights -- but if I did drive late I would certainly invest in a good one.

Some pax will make totally unfounded complaints to Uber just to get out of a fare. Depending on the nature of the complaint, a driver could get immediately deactivated without any investigation. The first the driver knows about it is when they can't log on. And unlike Uber execs, drivers get no special treatment for being "high producers."

In those situations, having video may save your Ubering ability. The first time. The second time there is a serious complaint, you are gone regardless of the facts of the cases.

Question 6: Apps
There are a number of "helper apps" in the Play Store. Has anyone used those & found them to be helpful? It seems like there are a lot of things that neither a GPS app, nor the Uber Driver app does, but should be possible. If there isn't an app that fills the gaps, someone should make one. I'm a developer, so I'm always looking for problems to solve.

Thanks in advance!
One that I use and like is MileIQ, which can automatically record every mile you drive. Periodically, you go through the drives and classify them as Business or Personal. The rides are reported weekly and monthly, and are very helpful at tax time.

I only drive part time, so I don't have as many rides as many drivers, but one of my MileIQ monthly reports will have a cover page with all the numbers and 25-30 pages of minute by minute, ride by ride, backup documentation. My accountant LOVES it.
 
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