how to drive for uber

Tips For New Uber & Lyft Drivers

Starting out as a new Lyft or Uber driver can be a little nerve wracking. Here’s a list of things you can do to make your first week driving a little easier. Hopefully, the advice below helps you drive more profitably from the moment you start.

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16 Tips For New Uber & Lyft Drivers

1. If you’re driving part-time, drive during the busiest hours.

Uber & Lyft are busier during the morning and evening rush hours, and on weekends. If you plan on driving five to fifteen hours a week, you should try to drive during those times. You are likely to make more money than if you drive from 1pm – 4pm on a few weekdays. Weekend nights tend to be the busiest and most lucrative driving times in most markets. Weekend morning and afternoons are also quite busy.

2. Don’t Chase The Surge

At some point, you’ll see a part of the map in the driver app turn red. If you’re not already in the red area, you will be tempted to rush over there to get a surge or prime time ride. Don’t. If you’re already in the surge zone, stay there. If you’re not, don’t try and rush over. Most surges only last a few minutes. By the time you get there, it will likely be gone, or that 2.3 surges will now be a 1.2 surge. Even worse, you will have wasted a bunch of gas rushing to get to the surge zone.

3. Expect to make some mistakes, and don’t be to hard on yourself when you do.

You may be a little nervous when you first start and will likely make a few mistakes in your first week or so. Odds are, you’ll make a wrong turn or something of that nature. Don’t sweat it. Every rideshare driver made a couple of mistakes during their first 50 to 100 rides. Even veteran drivers sometimes take a wrong turn. However, the more you drive, the quicker you’ll get better at rideshare driving. After 10 rides, you’ll feel more at ease and be better than you were after 1 ride. After 50 rides, you will probably chuckle at how nervous you were giving your first ride.

4. Join Some Facebook Driver Groups

There are a ton of driver’s groups on Facebook. Some of them are huge, with more than 5,000 or even 10,000 members. Don’t join the big groups off the bat. There’s not a ton of useful info in those groups and many of the members are not tolerant of newer drivers. Instead, you should join a local driver’s group from your area and a new driver advice group. Local Facebook driver groups are better sources of information about driving rideshare in your area. Drivers in those groups tend to be friendlier and will post tips, warnings about construction, and events that are happening in the area. For new driver questions, Rideshare Central works with a driver advice group on Facebook. Feel free to join and ask questions. We’ll try to help as best we can. If you don’t join the group, there are other driver advice groups that are also great sources of information for new drivers.

5. Get a decent phone mount, charger, and a dash cam.

Your phone should be mounted at or near eye level. It’s not really safe to drive while looking down at your phone. This means you want a mount that sticks to your window, rests on your dash, or clips to your air condition vents. You can see a number of recommended mounts on our essential products page. A lot of new drivers start out without a mount, and hold the phone in their hand, or stick it in a cup holder. Do not do this. It’s a sure way to get low ratings and complaints from riders.

Get a 2 amp charger. Newer phones tend to use a lot of battery, especially if you’re running a rideshare and map app. A 2 amp charger is sure to charge the phone while it’s being used heavily. A 1 amp charger won’t always do the trick.

Also be sure to check out our recommended dash cams.


6. Look around your backseat as passengers exit.

People leave purses, phones, keys, and all sorts of other things behind. While Uber pays drivers $15 for returning lost items (Lyft is testing a similar system in Chicago), you still have to waste time driving the item back to the passenger. By the time you notice the item, or get a call from the passenger, you could be 10 miles away. So, when passengers are exiting, remind them to take their belongings. Then give the backseat a quick look to make sure they did.

7. Take a ride as a passenger

If you’re going to Drive With Lyft or Uber, it helps if you know what the passenger experience is like. For one thing, the passenger experience begins when they requests a ride, not when they get in the car. If you request a ride as a passenger, you’ll receive notifications when the driver is on the way and when they’re arriving. As a driver, you want to know when those notifications arrive and what they say. You may find that the notifications don’t always come in on time. This often results in a situation where the passenger is not outside waiting when you arrive. When this happens, after a minute or two, politely text your passenger to let them know you’re outside.

8. Take breaks

If you’re going out for a full day of rideshare driving, it’s important to take a couple of short breaks. Sitting for eight hours straight is not good for the body. So, every few hours, pull over, get out, and walk around or do some stretches for ten minutes. Some drivers stretch a bit before they start and after they’re done for the day. It really helps your body in the long run.

9. Get Rideshare Insurance

Rideshare insurance is pretty widely available now. More than 12 different insurers offer coverage, and at least 1 insurer offers coverage in 48 of the 50 states. In most cases, you can get a rideshare insurance policy for an extra $6-$20 per month. While Uber & Lyft provide coverage once you accept a ride, they don’t provide collision coverage when you’re waiting for a ride request to come in. Regular personal auto policies don’t provide coverage during that time either. So, if you want to be fully covered, please get a rideshare insurance policy or have a rideshare endorsement added to your current policy. For more information, see our Rideshare Insurance Guide. To find rideshare insurance in your state, check our 50 State Rideshare Insurance Database.

10. Track Your Expenses

If you drive rideshare, you get a tax deduction of $580.00 for every thousand miles you drive ($0.58 cents/mile). So, it’s important to keep track of your mileage, and your other expense. You can either track them in a spreadsheet or use a mileage & expense tracker. Here’s a few good ones.

(Disclosure – We independently research our content to provide free advice for you. We may get compensation if you sign up with services, or purchase products through our affiliate links.)

Read more about the Best Mileage & Expense Trackers For Uber & Lyft Drivers.

For more information on what you can deduct as a rideshare driver, see our Tax Deduction Guide For Uber & Lyft Drivers.

11. Don’t Drive Around Unnecessarily

The fewer miles you drive without a passenger, the more profitable your rideshare driving will be. If you’re waiting for a ride request to come in, and you’re in a pretty busy area, pull over if you can and turn off the car. To make doing this easier, when you’re driving, start to make mental notes of where Standing Zones are, and larger supermarket parking lots.

12. Start noting where Starbucks, supermarkets, gas stations, and large convenience stores are located

When you’re driving, you will have to go to the bathroom. Places like CVS or Walgreens usually have bathrooms you can use, as do Starbucks. It’s important to become familiar with the best places to stop and go to the bathroom while you’re driving. This is more difficult to do in downtown areas where parking can be scarce. So, you want to try and find the closest bathroom that’s just outside the downtown area.

13. If you’re going to drive nights, get Carebags.

Driving nights means driving intoxicated people around. There’s a chance that one of them may get sick in your car. While this is not a common occurrence, you want to be prepared. Carebags are vomitbags that seal up. I highly recommend them. Now, ideally, it’s better to pull over and have them open the door and puke on the street. Sometimes, that may not be possible, so you want to have the carebags handy. That way, if you think a passenger looks a little woozy, you can hand them a Carebag, so you don’t have to clean puke up.

14. Keep your car clean and your trunk pretty empty.

It’s pretty simple. Passengers like a clean car, so wash your car or get it washed about once a week or so. Also, you’re going to have passengers who are going to the airport, and may have a lot of luggage. So, don’t keep a whole lot of stuff in your trunk. Most veteran drivers keep a bag with some supplies (paper towels, some plastic bags, Carebags, maybe a small vacuum) and that’s it.

15. The city is busier than the burbs

In almost every market, Lyft and Uber are busier in the city than the suburbs. The reason is simple – population density. You have more people in a smaller geographical area when you’re in a downtown area, so you’re more likely to get a ride. This doesn’t mean you can’t make money in the suburbs. However, you are likely to get more rides per hour in the city.

16. Learn how to use the destination, and last ride settings.

Both the Uber and Lyft apps have destination and last ride settings. If you set a destination, you will only receive trips in the general direction of that destination. Uber limits the use of this feature to twice per day. Lyft lets you use it six times. It’s a great feature if you’re in the suburbs and want to get back to the city, or when you’re trying to get home.

The last ride setting stops new rides from coming in. Sometimes, when you have a passenger in the car and you’re getting close to the destination, another ride will be added to your queue. Usually, that’s great because it means less downtime. However, if you’re looking to take a break, or you’re done driving, you may not want another ride. To activate the last ride setting in Lyft, simply push the “Online” button at the top of the screen while you’re on a trip. The button will change to “Last Ride” and you won’t receive anymore requests. In the Uber app, to pause incoming requests, you can also hit the online/offline button. Alternatively, from the trip detail page, there should be a button that says “stop new ride requests”.

If you know a driver or other people who may find this article useful, share it with them.


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how to get more lyft pings

How To Get More Uber Pings Or Lyft Requests

Getting More Lyft Requests Or Uber Pings

During the morning and evening rush, and on weekends, it’s usually pretty busy on Lyft and Uber. However, it can slow down a bit at other times. If it’s 1:00PM on a Wednesday, it’s a decent bet that neither platform will be very busy. When that happens, it’s important to have a few places you can drive to where you’re likely to get a ride.

Lyft Rider Waiting For Pickup


9 Places Where You Can Find More Uber And Lyft Riders

Most of the places on the list have one major thing in common. People tend to leave and arrive throughout the day. This means you’ll have a higher likelihood of getting a request during an off-peak driving time.

  1. Universities, Community Colleges & Vocational Schools
  2. Medical Facilities
  3. Bus Stations & Train Stations
  4. Hotel Clusters
  5. “Bad” Areas Of Town
  6. Conventions
  7. Large Corporate Facilities
  8. The County Lockup
  9. Suburbs

Universities, Community Colleges & Vocational Schools

If you drop off a rider in a suburb, and it’s 10:30AM on a Thursday, see if there’s a community college nearby. The first round of classes at most schools have probably ended or are about to. There’s likely a few students who don’t have another class and want to go home. In some cities, Lyft has made deals with universities to provide discounted rides to students. If you live in one of these cities, you’re chances of finding a rider are even higher.

Medical Facilities

Hospitals are big places with many different departments. Not all the departments are on the same schedule, which means you may have shifts ending throughout the day. On top of that, patients also get released throughout the day. Besides hospitals, there are large medical buildings and centers that perform a lot of outpatient procedures. However, a patient often isn’t allowed to drive after certain procedures, so they’ll need a ride. Finally, both Lyft and Uber have been partnering with health care providers to give people rides to doctors appointments from nursing homes, rehab centers, and other facilities. Often, these can be fairly long and lucrative rides.

Bus Stations & Train Stations

Know where the bus depots and Amtrak stations are in your area. If you drop off near one, head on over. If it’s not a particular busy depot or station, check the schedule first to see if any arrivals are due soon. Expect a mix of short and long rides. Sometimes, it’ll just be to a hotel in the area. Other times, it may be a long trip to the suburbs.

Hotel Clusters

There are certain areas that tend to have clusters (5-10 or more) of hotels. You’ll often find them around convention centers, theme parks, and downtown areas. You have a decent shot of getting a ping, and if you’re lucky, it’ll be an airport run. You’ll also find hotel clusters around airports themselves, but with those locations you risk a getting short rides to the airport. The other examples will likely be more lucrative.

A quick word on airports. I used to recommend going to the airport when it wasn’t busy. That’s no longer the case. The airport queues are much longer than they used to be. Sometimes, you can wait over an hour with no guarantee of a great fare.

“Bad” Areas Of town

Believe it or not, many parts of cities that are considered bad areas, actually aren’t bad at all. Take South L.A. and the South Side of Chicago. Both areas, except for a few small sections, are actually fine. And yet, they both have horrible reputations. How did this happen? Well, one person said it was a bad area. After that, I’m guessing a few people who don’t live in those areas, and never go to those areas, started repeating it until it became gospel.

Don’t believe everything you hear. People live and work in those areas, and they take Lyft and Uber. If you ignore them, you’re leaving money on the table.


Look at the calenders for all the convention centers with 30 miles of you, and make note of the convention and event dates. At most conventions, people are coming and going all day, so rides will be plentiful. Often, you can find out if a convention has an official or recommended hotel. If they do, that hotel is likely to be particularly busy during the convention.

Large Corporate Facilities

If any companies have a corporate headquarters or other large facility in your area, make a note of the location. A headquarters or office is likely to be a better place to find rides than a factory or production facility. The reason is that more people will be going to and from a corporate headquarters or office for a meeting, than to the production facility.


Overall, the city is more lucrative than the suburbs. However, the suburbs can be a decent bet if there’s a sporting or other type of event going on in the city. Also, find out which suburbs near you have a decent nightlife area. Those burbs tend to be fairly good places to find rides if you wind up there in the evening. Eventually, you’ll find a ride that takes you back to the city. If not, use your destination setting to get back.

The Local Lockup

The county or local jail is often overlooked. However, people get arrested for stuff like DUI’s everyday. They usually make bail the next day, and then have to get home. Their car has been impounded, but they’ve still got their cell phone. It’s pretty likely they call for a Lyft or Uber.

Final Take: As always, don’t drive around unnecessarily and waste gas. If you go to a community college to wait for a ride request, pull into the parking lot or find a place to pull over. At certain times of the day, riders can seem pretty hard to find. However, people take Uber and Lyft throughout the day. Hopefully, these suggestions make it a little easier for you to find riders when it’s not that busy out. Take care out there, and drive profitably.



Lyft Return Item Fee

Lyft Begins Testing Lost And Found Return Fee

Lyft Drivers In Chicago Can Now Receive $15 For Returning An Item

A couple of months ago, Uber began paying drivers $15 to return items left behind in their vehicles. This was one of the better moves made as part of its 180 days of change program. For every 100 rides a driver gives, a passenger will probably leave something behind twice. Before Uber instituted the return fee, a driver had no way to guarantee they would be paid for their time to return the item. So, this was a great change.

Lyft Return Item Fee

Now it seems Lyft is testing a similar system. However, as of now, it’s only available to Chicago drivers. Generally, Lyft tests something in a couple of markets for a few weeks or so, before rolling it out. Hopefully, this means Lyft drivers everywhere will be able to get a fee for returning lost items by the end of the year or early next.

uber maintenance costs lyft maintenance costs

How To Minimize Uber And Lyft Maintenence Costs

Minimizing Maintenance Costs And Wear And Tear When Driving For Uber Or Lyft

Besides gas, ongoing maintenance (oil changes, brake pads etc…) will be your biggest expense as a rideshare driver. That’s why it’s important to keep these costs as low as possible. To do that, you need to minimize the daily wear and tear on your car, and get the best deal possible on routine maintenance and periodic repairs. Here’s a few tips on how you can do both.

Minimizing Lyft and Uber Vehicle Wear And Tear

For the most part, keeping wear and tear to a minimum comes down to treating your car nicely. If you drive your car harshly, it will wear worse and tear more. If you drive smoothly, you’ll spend less on maintenance and repairs in the long run. You’ll probably have more content riders as well. Of course, there are certain routine items (like replacing filters or tires) that you won’t be able to avoid. However, if you follow a few simple steps, you should be able to keep any additional repair or maintenance items to a minimum.

Driving Style

Harsh braking and acceleration cause unnecessary wear on your pads, rotors, calipers, and transmission. To keep all of these items functioning properly for as long as possible, don’t accelerate quickly from a stop, and be sure to brake smoothly. When you’re coming to a stop, very slightly lift your foot off the brake pedal (just a little, not all the way off!), and allow the car to gently roll to a stop. This will make the stop less jerky, and help your pads last longer. When it comes to acceleration, the lower your rpm’s, the less gas you’re using to accelerate. Also, if you accelerate gradually, it’s a lot easier on your engine.

One final tip is to not park and sit with the engine on for too long. There are times (especially in winter) when you can’t avoid doing this. However, if you’ve pulled over in a standing zone to wait for a ride request to come in, turn off the car. It saves gas, and is also better for your transmission long term.

Routine Maintenance

Besides your driving style, another way to keep wear and tear down is to get regular oil changes when your owner’s manual says you’re supposed to get them. A lot of people skip the intermediate oil changes in between major services. If you’re going to drive rideshare, don’t do this. Get all the recommended oil changes, and get them on time, or even a little early. This will keep your engine running smoothly for as long as possible.

In addition to oil changes, you want to check your tire pressure every couple of weeks and adjust it to the level suggested by your owner’s manual. Lastly, check your owner’s manual for the recommended mileage at which you’re supposed to change various fluids (power steering, differential, etc…). When the time comes, make sure you follow the recommendations and have the fluid changed. Also, if you know when you’re supposed to get the power steering fluid changed at 70,000 miles, a mechanic won’t be able to tell you to change it at 45,000 miles.

Saving Money On Maintenance And Repairs

To keep maintenance costs down as a rideshare driver, the first thing you want to do is find a good local mechanic.

If you don’t have one, you can give YourMechanic a try. They are a cool site that sends the mechanic to you. All you have to do is open an account, add your vehicle, and you can get an instant quote for dozens of services, and schedule an appointment. They can do an oil change, change a starter, change spark plugs, or figure out what that “Check Engine” light means. More often than not, they’re cheaper than a shop, and you don’t have to go anywhere! They can supply the needed parts, or you can supply your own parts. If you choose to supply your own parts, they even tell you which parts you’ll need to buy for them to complete the job.

Buy Your Own Parts (Lyft and Uber discounts)

Speaking of parts, when you can, buy your own parts. It can generally save you 10-20%. If you need a brake job, buy the pads and give them to your mechanic. As a Lyft or Uber driver, you can save even more money if you buy your parts from AutoZone or Advance Auto Parts.

Lyft drivers get 20% off online orders at Advance Auto Parts (as long as they give 20 or more rides per month). Drivers can order parts online for in-store pickup. Uber drivers get 15% off at AutoZone. Generally, it makes more sense to order online because both stores offer additional online promotions for various products such as wipers, bulbs, and brake items. Also, both stores allow you to enter your vehicle information online, so you can be sure you get the right parts for your car.


When it comes to tires, if you’re full time, I recommend a set with a pretty long tread wear warranty (40,000 miles +). If you have a tire shop that you’ve gone to and can give you a deal, great, If not, it’s usually a lot cheaper to shop, compare, and buy tires online. is the original online tire seller, and often has the lowest prices. You can compare different tires based on price, tread wear, rain performance, and many other features. Once you’ve chosen, you can have your tires shipped to an installer of your choice. They also sell brake pads and other accessories. If you can’t find what you’re looking for at Tire Rack or want to compare prices, you should also check out Both stores carry a lot of the same tires, so it makes sense to check both to see who has the better price on the set you’re looking for.

Hopefully, the advice above helps you save a bit of money on maintaining your car. One final thing – If you’re looking to save money on gas, be sure to download the free Gasbuddy app, which tells you where to find the cheapest gas in your area.

That’s all for now. Drive Profitably.


lyft and uber advice

What to do if your Lyft or Uber application is pending.

What Does It Mean If Your Uber or Lyft Application Stalls?

Not every person who applies to drive with Lyft or Uber will be approved. However, very few candidates get rejected outright. Many drivers wind up with an application that’s pending, and stays that way, sometimes for weeks. This can happen for a number of reasons including:

  • If you’ve been driving in your state for less than a year.
  • Sometimes, there are duplicate accounts in the system from prior applications, and that’s holding your current application up.
  • Very old major (reckless, dui etc..) traffic violations (10 – 15 years).
  • One or more driver requirements is not satisfied.
  • One or more vehicle requirements is not satisfied.
  • A local or state regulatory agency is holding up the approval.

These are just a few of the reasons Lyft or Uber applications stall. There are others. Over the years, Lyft and Uber have become more careful with their background checks and have made their approval processes more stringent. This is great overall, but it also means that getting approved often takes longer.

lyft and uber advice

How Long Does It Take To Get Approved For Uber or Lyft?

Getting approved to Drive With Lyft usually takes between six and eleven days. However, I’ve seen approvals happen in three days, and others have taken three or four weeks.

Getting approved to drive for Uber usually takes five to seven days. As with Lyft, it can often take weeks as well.

As you can see, there is a lot of variation when it comes to approval times. However, it’s important to keep in mind that, unless it’s been a couple of weeks, your application probably hasn’t stalled. The background check alone can take over a week. To check the status of your Uber background check, click here. The approval wait time mostly depends on how many people have signed up recently. The more sign ups, the longer the backlogs at the background check companies. So, after applying, don’t sweat it if you haven’t been approved after a week. Wait another week before taking the following steps.

What You Can Do To Get Your Stalled Uber Or Lyft Application Approved

Having your Lyft or Uber application stall on you can be very frustrating. Luckily, there’s a couple of things you can do to try and resolve the situation.

Contact Support

Your first step is to contact support and inquire on the status of your application. To contact Lyft, click here. To contact Uber support, click “account” in the driver app, and then “help”.

Your message should be polite, but specific. Something along the lines of:


I submitted my application a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to see if something in particular is holding up my approval. If there is, please let me know what the issue is and if there is anything I could do to help move the process along.

Best regards,
Your name

One of two things will happen. You’ll receive an email back eventually that A. tells you what the issue is and if you can help resolve it, or B. contains a canned, and probably unhelpful email response. If A happens, great. Hopefully, you received an answer that means your application will be approved soon. If B happens, you can try replying to the email and again asking very politely if they can tell you anything or if there’s any way you can help.

Visit A Hub

If the second attempts doesn’t work, your next step is to go to a Lyft Hub or an Uber Greenlight Hub, if there’s one near you. If you google “lyft hub your city”, you should get the closest Lyft Hub location and their phone number. They generally can’t help drivers over the phone, but you can always ask.

Odds are, there’s a Uber Greenlight Hub within an hour of you, as there are over 100 of them. Lyft hubs are currently only in about 20 cities. When you go to either Hub, bring any documentation you think you may need (insurance or licensing info, etc…). Explain your situation and politely ask if they can give you any information as to what’s holding your application up. Hopefully, the people at the hub can give you a bit more information. Sometimes, it’s as simple as getting them some additional documentation or information.

Taking these steps may not always work as Uber and Lyft support are limited as to what they can do. They will likely not be able to approve you on the spot, but they may be able let you know what is going on with your application, and may be able to let you know when you’ll be approved.

lyft and uber drivers nyc

How Much Do Uber and Lyft Drivers Make in NYC in 2017?

What Do NYC Uber And Lyft drivers Make In 2017?

Although there are some articles claiming that NYC rideshare drivers are making $80,000 – $90,000 per year, that’s usually not the case. If you’re a driver on one of the premium services like Uber Black or Lyft Lux, it’s doable. However, if you’re an efficient driver on UberX or Lyft working 40 hours a week, $50,000 – $55,000 per year is more realistic. If you work more hours, or have an SUV, UberSelect, or Lyft Premier vehicle, you can push that into the 60’s, or even the 70’s. These numbers are gross revenue before expenses like gas and insurance.

lyft and uber drivers nyc

On an hourly basis, you can pull in the range of $23 – $28 per hour driving rideshare in New York City. However, those numbers are for experienced, full-time Uber or Lyft drivers. They tend to know their way around better and are simply more efficient than newer drivers. A driver just starting out in NYC for Lyft or Uber should expect their hourly pay to be more in the $18 – $21 range. After a couple of months of full time driving, that should go up to the higher range. This pattern holds true in most cities. The reason is that even if you’re familiar with a city when you first start driving rideshare, you will be more familiar after a couple of months. You’ll learn which streets move a bit quicker (see traffic and shortcut tips further down), and where the bottlenecks are. This will allow you to do more rides per hour, and increase your earnings.

How To Sign Up To Drive For Uber Or Lyft In NYC

In order to Drive With Lyft or Uber in NYC, you’ll need to get a Taxi & Limousine Commission license. Here are the 8 steps to get your TLC license:

  1. Fill out and submit a TLC application.
  2. Upgrade your driver’s license to a Class E or CDL. If your license is from out of state, you’ll need to request a certified abstract from that state.
  3. Get the TLC required medical exam.
  4. Take the TLC defensive driving course.
  5. Take the TLC wheelchair accessible vehicle course.
  6. Pass the TLC 3 day for hire vehicle (FHV) course.
    1. The course costs $175 and the exam at the end is $75.
  7. Complete a drug test at one of 7 TLC approved testing centers.
  8. Get fingerprinted.

Uber offers some of the courses above for free at it’s Greenlight Hub in Long Island City. The Lyft office is just upstairs from the Uber office. if you need help with your TLC application, Uber also lets you make an appointment online at one of their Greenlight Hubs in Long Island City, The Bronx, or Brooklyn.

Lyft Office

31-00 47th Ave, 4th floor
Long Island City, NY 11101

Uber Office

31-00 47th Ave, 1st Floor
Long Island City, NY 11101
Join Lyft
Join Uber


Commercial Insurance

In addition to get a TLC license, NYC Uber and Lyft drivers must carry commercial insurance. The monthly cost for liability and collision is usually in the $450 – $700 range. Because of this, if you’re going to use your own car to drive for Uber or Lyft in NYC, it makes more sense if you plan on driving full-time.

However, there are rental options available for rideshare drivers in NYC. Most of these rental options include insurance. See our page on how to get a vehicle for Lyft or Uber for more rental information. You can also go to to see vehicles available to rent for rideshare driving in NYC. Many of the places to rent vehicles for rideshare are located near the Lyft and Uber offices in Long Island City.

Is It Worth It To Sign Up For Lyft Or Uber In NYC?

Absolutely. Although the application process is a bigger pain in the butt than in most cities, New York City is one of the highest earning Lyft and Uber markets in the country. There’s very few places where Uber and Lyft drivers can make more per hour than in Manhattan. If you know your way around the island, and you drive the right hours, somewhere around $25 per hour is a pretty reasonable expectation. A lot of full-time drivers earn more than that, especially on the higher priced Uber and Lyft platforms.

However, if you want to drive part-time, it probably makes more sense to rent a vehicle, so you don’t have to deal with the prohibitive commercial insurance costs.

Should I Sign Up For Lyft Or Uber First?

Both Uber and Lyft are very busy in New York City. While you should sign up for both eventually, it makes more sense to sign up for Lyft first. Lyft is still offering a sign up bonus in NYC, while Uber has switched to a guarantee. The Lyft NYC sign up bonus has ranged between $150 and $350 recently and is paid out on a per ride basis. Lyft has also significantly increased their NYC ridership in 2017, which means they’re in need of drivers.

NYC Uber And Lyft Hotspots

Once you get licensed, here’s a few hotspots around Manhattan and some tips for gettings around. These are usually good places to go to find Lyft and Uber riders. In the mornings on weekdays, the upper west side, upper east side, and soho are great places to be. There’s also going to be a lot of people coming into Manhattan from the other boroughs, especially Brooklyn, and Queens. Chelsea Piers is a pretty good midday and weekend spot. Wall Street is great during the evening rush. Midtown and Times Square are consistently busy because of all the tourists. Also, don’t forget about Penn Station, and the other boroughs. Brooklyn tends to favor Lyft a bit, but is busy on both platforms.

A good trick veteran drivers use is to start out early in the morning (by 4:30-5:00am) around the hotels in midtown, or near SoHo. They’re aiming to get an early morning airport run in, and then get back to the city in time for the rest of the morning rush. Drivers who employ this strategy can often earn over $100-$125 by the end of rush hour.

NYC Driving, Traffic, and Shortcuts

Traffic in Manhattan can be rough. Construction and street closures don’t help either. But, you can stay ahead of them by following Gridlock Sam’s Twitter feed. Gridlock Sam is a former NYC traffic commissioner who posts information on road and highway closures throughout the city. He also posts about city events that may affect traffic. Overall, he’s a great resource for rideshare drivers in NYC.

For getting around, you’re going to want to use Google Maps or Waze when you start out. Waze gives better time estimates, but Google Maps has lane assistance, which can be helpful when you’re just starting out. While you should generally take the navigation route, here’s a few tips for getting around Manhattan. If you’re halfway between the FDR and the West Side Highway and the passenger is going downtown, remember that FDR has no lights and will be a slightly longer route (higher fare). It will also likely be faster, but check the traffic. If you’re far enough north, 110th is a quick way from the East side to the West side and vice versa. Going uptown from 14th street or above, 1st avenue can be a great friend. Likewise, on the other side of the island, become familiar with 9th and 10th avenues. And of course, unless you have to, avoid going through the park during rush hour, especially on 72nd.

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best cell phone carrier for uber or lyft

Best Cell Phone Carriers For Lyft & Uber

Selecting A Cell Phone Carrier for Uber or Lyft driving

A good cell phone plan is essential if you’re going to Drive With Lyft, Uber, or another on-demand service. The three main factors to consider when selecting your cell phone carrier are price, network coverage, and the data plan. If you’re full-time, you’ll want a plan with a minimum of 4 gigabytes (really 5GB to be safe) of data. If you’re part-time, figure on using about 1 gigabyte of data for every 50 hours driven. These are rough estimates. Luckily, many carriers now offer unlimited data.

When it comes to price, if you drive for Uber or Lyft, you’re eligible for discounts from certain wireless carriers. In terms of network coverage, all four of the largest wireless carriers have pretty strong networks at this point. However, all the major carriers also still have some dead zones outside of major metro areas. This is something to keep in mind since you’ll occasionally get a really long (60 miles+) ride that takes you out of your metro area. If you drive in an area where you get a lot of rural trips, AT&T or Verizon may be a better choice because they have better coverage outside major metro areas than Sprint or T-Mobile.

Best Uber & Lyft Cell Phone Carriers

We’ve looked over the four largest wireless carriers in the U.S. and listed the pros and cons of each for Lyft and Uber driving. We haven’t ranked the carriers because the level of cell phone coverage varies from city to city. WhistleOut has a list of which carrier has the best network coverage in each state. However, while Verizon and AT&T have the best networks in most states, that doesn’t mean that they’re the best choice in your city. Even though Verizon has the highest ranked network nationally, Sprint or AT&T may be a better choice in certain cities. The time tested way to find out who has the best coverage in your area is to ask some people in your town. A good person to ask may be your next Uber or Lyft driver.


Sprint’s plans include unlimited talk, text and data. While their national coverage area is the smallest of the big four carriers, they still cover 93% of the country. If they have good coverage in your area, Sprint is an excellent choice, especially if you need to have multiple lines on your wireless account. They offer incentives for switching and have the best per line rates of the major carriers.

Driver Discounts: Uber only

Sprint is currently offering Uber driver partners $100 for each line they transfer to sprint. Drivers can receive a maximum of $300 if they transfer 3 or more lines to Sprint. Sprint also has a special discounted price of $19 per line (up to 5 lines) for Uber drivers.

Pro: Most affordable Plans.
Con: Overall service area coverage is ranked behind Verizon, T-Mobile, & AT&T.

Sign Up For Sprint


AT&T has 2 types of unlimited data plans – unlimited choice ($60/1 line) and unlimited plus ($90/1 line). The lower priced plan limits data speed to 3Mbps, but that is more than sufficient to do rideshare. If you need multiple lines, you can get 4 lines on the unlimited choice plan $160 per month. These prices are with paperless billing and autopay enabled. They also have shared plans, but those plans include per device access fees of $20, which makes the unlimited plan the better deal. These prices don’t include taxes and fees.

Driver Discounts: Uber Only
AT&T has some of the best discounts available for Uber drivers. They are currently offering Uber drivers 20% off service plans, and a $650 device credit if you’re switching to AT&T. They also offer an extra 1GB per month if you choose a shared data plan.

Pros: Slightly less than Verizon with similar network stats. Great Uber deals
Cons: Still a little pricey.

Sign Up For AT&T


Verizon recently launched unlimited data plans on both single and family accounts. Before the driver discount, the unlimited data plan for a one line account runs $80, or $140 for two lines. Alternatively, a driver could get an 8GB shared plan (multiple lines) for $70. However, Verizon also charges $20/month per device for “line access” on shared plans. So, if you go with Verizon, you’re better off with an unlimited data plan.

Driver Discounts: Lyft & Uber
Verizon currently offers both Lyft and Uber drivers 15% off their monthly bill (including family plans), and 25% off certain accessories.

Pro: Best overall network
Con: Plans are priced on the higher end.

Sign Up For Verizon


T-Mobile’s unlimited data plan is called T-Mobile One. You can get one line on this plan for $70 per month, including taxes and fees. They offer discounts the more lines you add. For three lines, the monthly cost drops to $47 per line per month.

Driver Discounts: None
For some reason, T-Mobile doesn’t offer driver discounts. They have a rider promotion going with Lyft, but no driver promotions on either platform.

Pro: Prices are lower than Verizon & AT&T
Con: No driver discounts.

Sign Up For T-Mobile


Buying a car for Uber or Lyft.

The Best Cars For Uber And Lyft

How to get a car for Uber or Lyft

Xchange, Uber’s popular rideshare leasing program, stopped leasing vehicles last month. Many drivers utilized Xchange because it was often the quickest way to get a vehicle for Uber. Drivers could also use the vehicle for Lyft, Amazon Flex, and other sharing services. Leasing through Xchange also meant the driver didn’t have to worry about maintenance, as oil changes and tire rotations were included.

However, the end of Xchange is actually a blessing in disguise for rideshare drivers. While convenient, Xchange leases were often more expensive in the long run than just purchasing a car for Uber or Lyft. Monthly lease costs on Xchange were usually in excess of $600, or even $800, per month! For that kind of money, if you want to drive rideshare, you’re much better off buying a vehicle. So, here’s a step by step guide on how to choose a car, get financing, and get the best price on your vehicle for rideshare driving.

Buying a car for Uber or Lyft.

Choose a vehicle

When selecting a vehicle for driving rideshare, the three most important items to consider are gas mileage, reliability, and price.


In terms of mileage, the Toyota Prius is the gold standard for Lyft and Uber drivers. It gets a whopping 52 miles per gallon. Just behind is the Honda Accord Hybrid at 48 miles per gallon. Coming in third is the Ford Fusion Hybrid, which gets a not too shabby 42 miles per gallon. The Kia Optima Hybrid also gets about 42 miles per gallon.

If you decide against a hybrid, the Chevrolet Cruze gets a stunning 38 miles per gallon. If you want to try the Chevy Cruze out, in certain markets you can rent this vehicle through Lyft.


After surveying various reliability surveys, it’s clear that the Toyota Prius also comes out on top in this category. The Honda Accord Hybrid also receives high marks from J.D. power. The Ford Fusion Hybrid, Kia Optima Hybrid, and Chevy Cruze are ranked a little lower, but still perform well.


Although the Prius is tops when it comes to reliability and mileage, the Ford Fusion Hybrid is far and away the best value among the hybrids. While you can expect to pay at least $21-24k for Prius, you can pickup a Ford Fusion Hybrid for less, often about $5,000 less. The Honda and Kia hybrids are priced similarly to the Toyota Prius.

However, the Chevy Cruze may be the best overall value. You may be able to pick one up for around $15,000. Given that the Cruze mileage is almost as good as the hybrids at 38MPG, that may be difficult to ignore. Essentially, you get hybrid like performance without the hybrid price.

Top 3 Rideshare Vehicles Based On Price, Mileage, and Reliability

  1. Ford Fusion Hybrid – The Ford Fusion is the car of choice for thousands of full-time rideshare drivers. Besides the excellent mileage, affordable price, and above average reliability, it has one major factor that puts it at the top of the list. The Ford Fusion is a full size sedan. It fits five comfortably, and has a large trunk. The car also has a very smooth ride, and excellent handling. If you’re driving rideshare, the importance of passenger comfort and space for luggage cannot be overstated. These factors combine to put the Ford Fusion Hybrid at the top of the list.
  2. Chevrolet Cruze – If you’re looking for the most cost effective vehicle, the Cruze is a great choice. It’ll probably cost you around 5k less than the Fusion, and 10k less than the Prius. While it gets slightly worse mileage than both, it still gets excellent mileage overall.
  3. Toyota Prius – The Toyota Prius is a fantastic vehicle with a slick interior, and top notch reliability. However, it is less comfortable than the Fusion, and significantly more expensive than both the Cruze and Fusion. If you can afford the extra five to ten thousand dollars for the Prius, go for it. If cost is a concern though, you’re probably better off with the Fusion or Cruze.

If you’re not sure which vehicle you want to go with, you can always sign up to drive with Lyft or Uber first. Then, you can rent the vehicles you’re deciding between from HyreCar, a service that rents cars to for rideshare driving. If you’re looking at the Cruze, you can often rent that from Lyft or Uber as well.

Obtain Financing

Once you’ve selected your vehicle, it’s time to get a loan. While you may be able to obtain dealer financing, a number of dealers have been hesitant to finance loans if your sole income is going to be Uber or Lyft. This makes no sense given that full time rideshare drivers can routinely take home $1,000 per week or more. Fortunately, there are a number of options for financing your vehicle besides the dealership.

Main Street Finance provides business financing for equipment like vehicles. You can receive approval within minutes and funding with 24-48 hours. Check Your Rate. is a free service that matches you with up to 4 lenders who can finance your vehicle. Check Your Rates. provides low interest personal loans with APR’s starting at 5.9%. They offer peer to peer, personal, and bank loans. Check Your Rates.
24/7 Auto Finance is a great choice if you have less than stellar credit, and they usually make a decision within 24 hours. Check Your Rates.

For more financing choices, be sure to visit our main Vehicle Finance page.

Good luck with your new car purchase, and drive profitably!


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