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Six Places To Find Uber and Lyft Riders During Off-Peak Hours

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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.

The Airport

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.

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Lyft and Uber Quickstart Guide

Getting started driving for Uber or Lyft


Here are the basic steps, including driver and vehicle requirements, to become a rideshare driver for Lyft and Uber.  Whether you want to start driving for Uber or Lyft, the approval process generally takes less than a week.  However, it can take up to two weeks.

Both companies offer a sign up bonus if you use a sign up code. Visit our Lyft Sign Up Bonus page for information on the types of bonuses Lyft is currently offering. Click here for information about Uber sign up guarantees. If you would like to use our signup codes, our Lyft referral code is ridesharecentral, and our Uber referral code is i9tz1.

Is it better to start driving for Uber or Lyft first?

It depends.  I usually recommend signing up for both at the same time, because there’s no way to tell how long each company will take to approve you. However, it really depends on your specific situation and location. For more information on this topic, check out our post, Should I Drive For Uber Or Lyft.

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How driving for Uber and Lyft Work

Riders request a ride throught the Uber or Lyft app. The closest available driver gets the call. On each ride, Lyft takes a booking fee ($1-$2 generally) + 25% of the fare. Uber now pays drivers by distance and time.

Uber and Lyft also offer cash bonuses if you complete a certain number of rides in a week. These bonuses can add $50 to $400 each week, in addition to your regular earnings.

Earnings vary by city, but in most markets the average is in the $15-$20 range. However, experienced drivers who know their way around tend to earn more as do drivers who only drive peak hours. Earnings are often higher in newer Lyft and Uber markets, because there are fewer drivers. So, if Lyft or Uber recently arrived in your neck of the woods, now is the time to sign up!

Differences between driving for Uber and Lyft

Lyft has always allowed riders to tip in the app. While Uber finally added in-app tipping last year, more riders still tip on Lyft. Overall, Lyft riders are more forgiving of mistakes by the driver. Lyft also has a reputation for treating drivers better. 75% of Lyft drivers are satisfied driving for Lyft. But only 49% of Uber drivers are satisfied driving for Uber.

However, Uber still has about three times as many users as Lyft.

Lyft and Uber driver requirements

  1. You have to be 21 years old and have had a driver’s license for at least 1 year. (In some cities, your license may need to be from in-state.)
  2. You must be able to pass a criminal background check.
  3. You must have in state personal auto insurance (your must be listed as a driver on the policy) for the vehicle you will be using.  I highly recommend supplementing or replacing your personal insurance with rideshare insurance coverage. However, you don’t need rideshare insurance coverage to be approved for the Uber and Lyft platforms.
  4. You must have a relatively clean driving record. (No DUI’s or reckless driving and very few moving violations over the last few years.)

Lyft and Uber vehicle requirements.

You do not need to own a vehicle to drive with Uber or Lyft. However, if you do, these are the requirements.

  1. The vehicle must have a valid registration and a clean title. However, the vehicle does not have to be in your name.
  2. The vehicle must have four doors and a minimum of five seatbelts.
  3. The vehicle must be in good working order. Lyft and Uber require vehicle inspections.
  4. The vehicle must be model year 2004 or newer for Lyft, and model year 2001 or newer for Uber (2002 starting in March).  In some cities, the requirements are more strict. For Lyft Premiere and Uber Select or Black, the requirements are also more strict, and vary by city.

Be sure to check the Uber or Lyft vehicle requirement pages for city specific information.

Lyft Vehicle Requirements

Uber Vehicle Requirements

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The Lyft and Uber Application Process: Documentation

You’ll need to upload the following items during the application.

  1. Driver’s License
  2. Insurance Certificate
  3. Vehicle Registration

If you have those items handy, you can click one of the buttons below to start your application.

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Once you’ve filled out your application and uploaded your documents, Uber and Lyft will run a DMV and criminal background check. This is the part that usually takes a few days. While you’re waiting for your approval, we recommend taking the following steps.

The Lyft and Uber Application Process: Background Check

  1. Consult our Before You Drive guide for expert tips and advice on driving profitably.
  2. Browse through our Essential Products for Drivers, and consider picking up a phone mount.
  3. Visit Rideshare Central’s Insurance Marketplace to explore your rideshare insurance options.
  4. If you’re looking for a vehicle, visit our Vehicle Financing page to find the best options for purchasing or renting a vehicle for rideshare driving.

The Lyft and Uber Application Process: Approval and Vehicle Inspections

After approval, you will need to pass a vehicle inspection to get on the road. In certain markets, both Uber and Lyft have locations where you can get the inspection done for free. Alternatively, both companies also send out a list of locations where you can do your inspections. The cost of the vehicle inspection is usually around $20. You can usually have the inspection done at a Jiffy Lube or a Pep Boys. Alternatively, if you don’t want to go somewhere to have the inspection done, there are mobile inspection services. One company, Rideshare Mechanic, can even do your vehicle inspection over video chat!

Rideshare Mechanic – The Uber & Lyft Video Vehicle Inspection

Rideshare Mechanic is a new service that provides on demand vehicle inspections for Lyft and Uber over the phone. They charge the same price as Jiffy Lube or Pep Boys, but without the hassle of waiting in line. All you have to do is make an appointment on their site, and then a licensed mechanic calls you and performs the inspection over video chat.

Without a doubt, Rideshare Mechanic is definitely the most efficient way to complete your Uber or Lyft vehicle inspection. Click the button below to schedule your appointment

Try Rideshare Mechanic


The Lyft and Uber Application Process: Activation

After you successfully complete your mentor session/vehicle inspection, you should be able to get on the road and start making money driving for Uber or Lyft, or both!

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