Where To find Uber and Lyft riders during off-peak hours
After the morning rush, the number of people looking for an Uber or Lyft ride tends to drop off until lunch time. What’s a driver to do? Luckily, there’s a few place you can go when it’s slow, where you can find Uber and Lyft riders. Now, none of these suggestions are a magical ride unicorn that will allow you to always make rush hour money during off peak hours. These are just a few places to go when it’s not busy out. All of these places have one thing in common: they don’t operate on a 9 to 5 schedule.
Colleges and Universities
Google a list of the larger universities and community colleges in your area. Then, take a look at the class schedules. Note when the classes tend to start and end. You will probably notice that the first set of morning classes tend to end between 9:30 and 11:00am. This happens to be right after rush hour. So, if you drop off a passenger at around 9:45am, and there’s a college or graduate school close by, drive over and sit outside for 10 minutes.
Additionally, business school students seem to love taking Uber or Lyft. If you’re in Los Angeles, the USC Marshall School of Business is a great place to try this method. If you’re in Chicago, try this near the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Check the class schedules for both schools as many intro business school classes tend to be 3 hours, not 1. Both of these school are particularly good targets because many of the students do not live near the school. So, not only do you increase your chances to find Uber and Lyft riders, but the ride is more likely to take you to an area where you can find more rides.
Hospitals and Medical Office Centers
Hospitals and medical centers are great for two reasons. First, hospitals are open 24 hours a day and there are often nurses, doctors and orderlies who leave to go home during off-peak hours, like 3:00pm. Second, patients are discharged or leave medical appointments at all times throughout the day. Now, a person leaving a medical appointment may not be leaving the hospital, they may be leaving the medical office building right next door. However, if you’re close by, you’ll get the ride request.
People are always leaving the airport. If you wind up dropping off near or at one, you may just want to stay. If it’s slow, but there’s not much traffic and you’re nearby, you should also consider heading to the airport.
However, this option differs from airport to airport and city to city, a lot. It really depends on how far away the airport is, what traffic is like, and how long you have to wait to get a ride back from the airport. My city has two airports, Ohare and Midway. I would consider heading to Ohare if it were slow, and I was nearby, but never Midway. Why? Midway is slower and the lot where drivers wait is in Siberia.
See, in many markets, Uber and Lyft have airport rideshare driver waiting lots. So, after a driver drops someone off, they head to the driver lot to wait for an arriving passenger to call for a ride. However, the lot has a queueing system. When a driver enters the lot, they are put in line behind all the other drivers who were already in the lot. Sometimes, the line can move pretty quickly and you get a call in 20-30 minutes. Other times, you can wait over an hour. At Midway, whatever your waiting time is, you can safely add 15-20 minutes, because that’s how long it often takes to get from the lot to the passenger.
Sorry folks, there’s no shortcut here. To figure out if you generally want to wait at the airport after dropping off passengers, or use it as a slow time destination, you just have to try it a couple of times and see if the economics work out.
The Train Stations and Bus Depots
These two options are similar to airport. People are always leaving train and bus stations. However, both have a distinct advantage over airports: no driver waiting lot. You show up, find a standing zone or other place to park, and wait for a ping. The only slight disadvantage versus airports is that rides may be shorter leaving bus or train stations. This is because bus and train stations tend to be in or near the city center, airports are usually several miles away.
Downtown area (Hotels)
During off peak daylight hours, go downtown or near it, and find a 15 minute standing zone. If there’s a cluster of hotels, or tall office buildings, get as close as possible, and pull over. See, traffic savvy business travelers often book their flights first thing in the morning, or around noon. First thing in the morning gets them to the airport before the rush, noon means they’re leaving after the rush. So, after you’re done getting people to work during the morning rush, find a 15 minute standing zone near a cluster of hotels or tall office buildings, and wait for a ping. Now, you may not get a ride to the airport, but when it’s slow, rideshare driving becomes a numbers game. The more people in close proximity to your car, the better chance you’ll get a ping.