The Best Nav System for Uber and Lyft

New drivers often ask me, “What is the best navigation system for Uber?”, or “What is the best navigation system for Lyft?”  Even if you’ve lived somewhere your whole life, there are going to be parts of the city that are unfamiliar.  There are also other benefits to using a nav system, such as finding alternate routes, knowing how long the trip will take or where the speed and red light cameras are.

The best navigation systems for Uber, Lyft and other rideshare or delivery services

While there are other navigation systems (covered at the bottom), the vast majority of drivers use Google Maps, Waze or the in-app Uber navigation. If you’re on Lyft, your choices are Waze or Google Maps.  Lyft does not have an internal turn-by-turn navigation system.  All three systems offer turn-by-turn directions, trip time estimates, voice directions, and will reroute you if you make a wrong turn. None of these systems are perfect and there is no substitute for knowing your way around, but here the pros and cons of each system.

Uber in-app Navigation

Uber’s first few tries at in-app turn-by-turn navigation were failures. The suggested routes were often terrible, and the traffic and time estimates were way off. A few weeks ago, they started rolling out a new in-app navigation system, and it’s a vast improvement. While not perfect, a number of drivers who would switch over to Google Maps or Waze on every trip, are now staying within the Uber app more often.

Uber Navigation In App


  • Uncluttered interface
  • Decent time estimates (within 3-5 minutes)
  • Lane assistance


  • Route suggestions are better, but could still use some work
  • Traffic estimates are still hit and miss.


Waze was a startup that Google bought in 2013.  It uses traffic data from municipal sources, as well as data crowd sourced from people using the app.  Because of the crowdsourced data, it usually gives better traffic and time estimates during rush hour than either Google Maps or the Uber navigation.  It is the navigation app of choice for most experienced drivers.  These drivers usually don’t use the app for directions, but for the traffic and time estimates.  The app also tells you if you are over the speed limit, and where accidents, speed traps, potholes, and red light cameras are.

best nav system for Uber - Waze App Navigation Screens


  • Best time estimates (accurate to within 0-3 minutes usually)
  • Good traffic estimates (better during rush hours)
  • Speed limit, obstacle and speed trap warnings


  • Default view is zoomed in too close
  • Routing is generally good, but sometimes the app will tell you to get off the highway for one exit, then get back on, in order to save time.  Odd feature since it rarely saves time.
  • No lane assistance

Google Maps

Google Maps is the oldest of the navigation apps and probably familiar to most users.  It’s fast, reliable, and has a good interface.

Google Maps Navigation Example


  • Uncluttered interface
  • Decent time estimates
  • Lane assistance


  • Traffic and time estimates are not usually as good as Waze
  • Lacks the additional Waze features such as pothole and speed trap warnings

Which nav system should I use for Lyft or Uber?

If you are just starting out driving for Uber or Lyft, I would recommend using Google Maps at first. The only reason Google Maps gets the nod over Waze for beginners is lane assistance and the default zoom level. If you aren’t very familiar with your city, knowing which lane to be in can be enormously helpful. Also, if you have to make a turn, followed by another turn right after, it’s easier to see that on Google Maps than on Waze (because Waze is zoomed in too far). Once you are more familiar with your area, give Waze, or the internal Uber navigation, a try.  At the end of day, the three apps are pretty close in terms of capability, and the choice comes down to driver preference.

Other navigation systems that almost no drivers use.

Sygic, Navmii, and Apple Maps are three other navigation options.  You can also buy a separate navigation hardware system from Garmin or another company.  However, very few drivers choose any of these options.

The main reason is that none of them intergrate with the Uber or Lyft system.  So, if you want to use them, you have to switch out of the Uber or Lyft app and manually type in the address. With the recommended apps, it’s automatic, or you hit the “navigate” button from within the Uber or Lyft app. Also, the Sygic, Navmii and Apple Maps apps are inferior to Waze, Google Maps and the internal Uber navigation in almost every way.  They are slow (except for Apple), give poor routing information and have terrible interfaces.  Using any of these apps is an almost surefire way to get a rating below five stars.

Why do the navigation systems want me to go down alleys (the navigation alley issue)?

Anyone who’s used any of these navigation systems for a while are probably wondering why they love to send drivers down alleys. Here’s the answer. The original gps direction systems were built for delivery vehicles. Delivery vehicles often want to go to the alley, because deliveries generally happen in the alley. All of the navigation apps you use today still use some of the data from those legacy systems. That’s why the navigation apps send you down alleys. Unfortunately, none of the apps have developed a fix for this yet.

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Google v. Uber: A primer on the lawsuit that could threaten Uber’s future

The Google Uber Lawsuit: What’s it all about?

In a nutshell, Google is accusing Uber of stealing the technology at the heart of its self-driving car.

See, back in 2009, Google began developing a self-driving car. Over the last seven years, Google has spent a ton of money and time developing and testing a fleet of self-driving cars. Much of the money was spent developing the part of the car that makes it self driving, the LiDAR system.

LiDAR is the radar on the car that keeps it from running red lights, hitting pedestrians, and crashing into walls. LiDAR systems can tell the difference between a person in a crosswalk and a mural of a person on building wall. Google’s LiDAR system is really advanced, probably the most advanced in the world, and has taken them years to develop.

Judge hearing the Uber Google case

Stole the LiDAR? Tell me more.

What happened?

According to Google, this is what Uber and a former Google employee did. In late 2015, a Waymo (Google’s self driving car subsidiary) exec, Anthony Levandowski, told a Waymo colleague that he had spoken with an Uber exec about forming a self-driving car startup that Uber would buy.

In December, 2015, Levandowski downloaded almost 10 gigabytes of data (including trade secrets in the form of 14,000 proprietary files) from Google’s Waymo design server onto his work laptop. He then copied that data off of his laptop onto an external drive over eight hours. A few days later, Levandowski wiped his work laptop and stopped using it.

In January, he downloaded more files from Waymo’s servers. On January 14, 2016, he met with Uber execs at Uber headquarters. On January 27, 2016, Levandowski quit Waymo, without any notice. While he did not take a self driving car on his way out of Waymo, Google says he took the (patented, secret, and valuable) means to build one, and boy are they pissed.

Anyways, Levandowski starts a self-driving truck company named Otto.  He met with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick multiple times in the Spring of 2016. The two shared a series of ten-mile moonlight walks, while discussing…who knows, the potential acquisition of Otto, or the problems Uber’s own self-driving car unit was having?

Fast forward to August 2016. Levandowski receives his final multimillion dollar payment from Google. On August 19, Uber buys Levandowski’s self-driving truck company, Otto, for $680 million. Did I mention Otto had developed a top notch LiDAR system in six months?  It’s true.  They had a self-driving truck deliver some beer.

After the sale, Google began to suspect something and started investigating Levandowski’s downloading and wiping habits.  Then, on December 13, 2016, Christmas came early for Google’s lawyers at Quinn Emanuel.  Someone accidentally copied a Google employee on an email that contained a drawing for Otto’s LiDAR circuit board, which bore a substantial similarity to Google’s LiDAR board.  Seriously, someone broke out the Johnnie Walker Blue at Quinn that night.

Google Uber lawsuit libation for Quinn Emanuel lawyers

Can’t wait for the deposition!

Will anyone go to jail?

It’s possible, but not probable, at this point. While Google may have contacted the FBI, they generally don’t comment when they’re investigating things. That being said, stealing trade secrets can get you ten years, so it’s a certainty that Mr. Levandowski has retained counsel by now.

What does it mean for Uber?

For drivers and riders, really nothing in the short term. For Uber investors, it’s a different story. Google has asked for a preliminary injunction. If they get it, Uber will have to stop working on its self-driving car.  That would certainly put any IPO plans on the back burner and could threaten the long term future of Uber.

What is Uber worth without its autonomous vehicle program?

Uber was valued by its last investor at $69 billion. A respected Wall Street analyst recently pegged Uber’s value at $31 billion. However, if Google’s lawsuit is successful, Uber won’t be worth anywhere near either number.

Although it’s known as a rideshare company, that’s not where most of Uber’s perceived value comes from.  As a rideshare company, Uber loses money to the tune of $2-$3 billion per year. Even if they raise rates and get to profitability in the next couple of years, they’re not worth $69 billion or $31 billion. Their actual value as a rideshare company is probably in the $10-$20 billion range (Lyft is worth about $7 billion). While that may sound great, it’s really not if you took a bunch of money from investors and told them you’re worth $69 billion.

The only way Uber is worth $31 or $69 billion is if they can create an autonomous vehicle and disrupt not only the taxi market, but the shipping and logistics market. See, the worldwide taxi market is worth only about $100 billion. If Uber captured half that market, (currently they’re at about 10%) they’d maybe be worth about $30-$40 billion, if they can turn a profit. However, if they develop a self-driving system that can disrupt trucking and logistics, then they could be worth $69 billion, or far more.

The reason is that the worldwide logistics industry is an $8 trillion market (80 times as large as the potential rideshare market).  Making a dent in that market is the only way Uber can justify a $69 billion valuation.  The only way Uber makes a dent  in logistics and shipping is if they can develop a first class autonomous driving system. Unfortunately, Google says they stole theirs.

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How Much Do Rideshare Drivers Earn?

Uber or Lyft Driver

In 2017, how much is Lyft and Uber driver pay?

While it depends on the market, in most places, Lyft and Uber driver pay is about $15-20 per hour, before expenses. In certain markets, like Houston, the number is lower. In other markets, such as New York and parts of Southern California, drivers can make more.

There is also great variability from driver to driver. Full time drivers, and drivers who tend to drive longer shifts, usually make more. Full time drivers tend to be more efficient and know the city better. Longer shifts (4-6 hours) tend to have higher per hour earnings than short shifts (1-2 hours). The reason is that longer shifts are more likely to intersect with one or more set of peak hours. Peak hours occur during rush hours and evenings near or during the weekend. That being said, a driver can still make good extra money driving for an hour or two before or after work.

Driver bonuses can raise your Lyft or Uber driver pay

Another reason full time drivers make more is the weekly bonuses Uber and Lyft offers to drivers who complete a certain number of rides. These bonuses can add $150-$250, or more, to a driver’s pay. For example, Lyft may offer a driver an extra $200 if they give 105 rides in a week.  The catch  is that it will likely take you four or five days to give 105 rides on Lyft.  Luckily, they also have bonuses if you give 40 or 65 rides a week.

Uber, on the other hand, tends to split their bonuses up. So, they may offer an $80 bonus for giving 55 rides between Monday and Thursday and then another $90 bonus for giving 55 rides from Friday to Sunday. The actual bonus amounts vary by market. Because of how they structure their bonuses, it is generally easier to get a bonus driving part time for Uber than it is for Lyft.

Lyft Power Zones and Uber Boost areas explained

Both companies also give bonuses on individual fares during peak hours. Lyft calls them Power Zones. Uber calls them Boosts. They essentially work the same way.

If you pick up a passenger in an active Power Zone on Lyft, you can earn an extra 10%-50% on that fare. Lyft tells drivers where and when the Power Zones will be active at the start of the week and also adds Power Zone bonuses during the week. If you pick up a passenger in a Boost area on Uber, you can earn an extra 10%-70% on that fare. Uber tells drivers where and when the Boost areas will be at the beginning of the week.

The rise of delivery services

Many drivers also drive for delivery services such as Instacart, Caviar or Doordash. It’s another source of revenue and it can keep you busy during off peak hours. The only way it’s different from Uber and Lyft driving is that you don’t have a passenger in the vehicle, and you have to get out of the car to get the items, and then deliver them.

Is driving for Uber or Lyft for you?

It’s impossible to know until you try it. Obviously, it won’t be for everybody. However, besides the money, there are some other great benefits to being a rideshare driver. First, you learn your way around very well and can discover new parts of your town. Second, it can make you a better driver. When you’re driving passengers around, you tend to develop a smooth and easy driving style. This style of driving has an added money saving bonus of getting better gas mileage. Third, you get to meet a lot of people, from all over your city. I don’t think many of us realize how small the circles we work and travel in are, but being a rideshare driver gets you out of your bubble.

Now, this doesnt mean you’re going to find true love driving for Uber or Lyft (or even Instacart), or have some life altering conversation with a passenger. Most rides are pretty routine and I’m not a big talker when I’m driving. However, sometimes passengers want to talk, and over the past three years, I’ve had at least a couple of hundred great conversations with really interesting folks. Beats the boring water cooler chatter i had to have with Gary from sales any day.

So, if you want to know your way around, get better at driving, and meet people from every walk of life, perhaps being a rideshare driver is for you.

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Buying A Car For Uber

Get A Car For Uber Or Lyft

How To Buy Or Rent A Car For Uber Or Lyft

If you need to get a car to drive for Uber or Lyft, there are a number of available rental and purchase options.

Renting a Car for Uber or Lyft

Renting a car for Uber or Lyft is a great way to see if the job is for you, before going out and spending thousands of dollars on a car. So, if you want to drive Uber or Lyft but don’t have a car, try renting a car for a week from one of the programs below, and see how it goes.

The Uber and Lyft rental options below don’t require stellar credit, but usually require a refundable deposit.

Lyft partners with Hertz and GM Maven to rent cars through its Express Drive program. Uber partners with Hertz and Enterprise to offer rentals for Uber drivers.

Keep in mind, if you rent a car through Express Drive, you can only use the car for Lyft. Likewise, if you rent a car for Uber through Hertz or Enterprise, that vehicle can only be used to drive for Uber.

However, you can also rent a car through HyreCar, or through Maven Gig (a GM subsidiary). These rentals can be used to drive on both Uber and Lyft at the same time.

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Renting A Car When Applying For Lyft Or Uber

Of course, to rent a car for rideshare driving, you must be signed up with either Lyft or Uber.

Luckily, both companies allow you to choose a rental car option during the application process.

Maven Gig (GM)

With Maven Gig you can reserve a car to drive for anyone, so you can shift seamlessly with the daily demand for ridesharing, food, package, and grocery delivery services. Low weekly rates for newer Chevrolet models include unlimited miles, maintenance, insurance (less the deductible), and OnStar roadside assistance.

If you’re interested in working with no fuel costs, Maven Gig offers the Chevrolet Bolt EV rental which includes free charging. Plus with no early return penalty, you can return the car any time after 7 days.

Maven Gig rentals start at $189 per week for compact vehicles. Sedans start at $209 per week, crossover SUV’s at $219 per week, and electric vehicles from $229 per week.

Maven Gig rentals are available in Detroit, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Boston, and Washington, D.C.


Rent a car for Uber or Lyft by the day, week, or month!

HyreCar is a vehicle rental marketplace where you can rent a private vehicle to use on any rideshare or delivery service. You can rent a car for a day, a week, or a month. The owner of the car sets the rates and mileage limits. You can sign-up or browse vehicle listings here.

While Lyft and HyreCar have teamed up to offer cars pre-certified for ridesharing on Lyft, most vehicles are also approved for use on Uber, and other ridesharing platforms.

Because HyreCar rents by the day, it’s a good option if you are thinking of buying or leasing a vehicle since you can experiment with a number of different options. For example, if you’re considering a Lyft Premier vehicle purchase, you can rent a qualifying vehicle from HyreCar to see how profitable it would be.

Lyft Express Drive

Lyft partners with GM (Maven) and Hertz to offer weekly rentals of mid-size sedans and suvs. The rentals are generally between $150-$250 per week, but the rental fee is reduced to $25-$40 if you do a certain number of rides per week. The number of required rides varies by city.

If you rent a vehicle from Lyft, any rental fees are deducted from your weekly earnings. Also, you will not be eligible to use Express Pay, and personal miles are charged at a rate of $0.25 per mile. To rent a car through Lyft, apply to drive with Lyft here. Rental options will then appear under “vehicles” in your driver dashboard.

If you currently Drive With Lyft, be aware that if you rent a car through Express Drive, you will not be eligible for Lyft’s Power Driver bonuses.

Express Drive is currently available in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Orange County, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Washington, D.C.

Express Drive Rental

Uber Rental Car Options


In some markets, if you are signed up to drive for Uber, you can rent a car from Hertz. No credit check is required and the cost is $180 plus taxes and fees, and a $250 refundable deposit. Mileage is unlimited, Hertz insurance is included and you can rent the car for between 7 and 28 days.

Once you’ve signed up for Uber, you can rent a car from Hertz for Uber here. Alternatively, once you start your Uber driver application, you can choose to rent from Hertz or Enterprise (depending on your location) from within your Uber application.

Uber Enterprise Rentals

The Enterprise program is through Uber only. The cost is $215 per week, plus taxes and fees, a $40 startup fee your first week, and a $350 refundable deposit. Other than that, it’s basically the same as the Hertz program.

enterprise hertz rideshare rental comparison

Purchasing a car for Uber or Lyft

If you’re looking to purchase a vehicle for Lyft or Uber, you have plenty of options. You can purchase a vehicle through Uber once you’ve signed up, or you can buy a vehicle on your own to use on Lyft, Uber, or any other ridesharing platform.

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The first decision you’ll have to make when purchasing a vehicle for Uber or Lyft is whether to buy a new or used car.

Everyone’s situation is different.

However, if you buy used, you can save a substantial amount of money. Also, if the vehicle is used, your depreciation expenses will be lower ongoing.

One key metric you want to consider is how much will the car cost to operate per mile. Here’s a handy calculator to help you determine that.

Uber Vehicle Discounts

Uber offers discounts for the following auto makers: Ford, GM, Chrysler, Hyundai, Toyota, Nissan, and Volkswagen. To be eligible for the discounts, you’ll first have to apply to drive with Uber here using our signup code. After that, you can find the vehicle purchase discount codes under “vehicle solutions” in your driver dashboard. The amount of the discounts vary and you may be able to get the same or better discounts negotiating on your own, or using a negotiating service like Carjojo.

Even if you purchase the vehicle using a discount from Uber, you can still use the car to drive for other services suchs as Lyft, Amazon Flex, or Instacart. If you want to finance a vehicle for Lyft or Uber, try one of the vehicle financing options below.

Vehicle Financing

Car Loans for Uber & Lyft Drivers

If you’re looking to finance your vehicle purchase, it’s important to shop around to get the best rates. Below are a number of lenders who provide auto loans and financing. Many of them provide loans to get a car for Uber or Lyft even if you have bad credit.

My Auto Loan

Getting approved through saves you time and money. Application and loan processes are private, secure, and confidential. There are no fees. It’s free, fast, and easy. And there’s never an obligation to use one of their lenders or loans.

  • Fill out their short and secure two minute offer form.
  • They match you to their lenders – you get up to 4 offers.
  • You receive an online certificate or check within 24 hours.
  • Use your check to buy the car you want or use it to refinance your current loan.

Apply today! offers low interest personal loans for purchasing a car, as well as emergencies, debt consolidation, and home improvement. They utilize a comprehensive network of lenders and lending partners to offer wide ranges of funding, and give you the opportunity to be qualified for as much as $35,000.

The APR on a personal loan from their network of lenders and lending partners varies, with many providers offering rates from 5.99% to 35.99% and loan durations between 90 days and 72 months. offers three types of personal loans through thier network: peer-to-peer loans, personal installment loans and bank personal loans.

Apply today!

247 Auto Finance

247 Auto Finance specialize in connecting you with a lender for an auto loan even if you have less than perfect credit. If you have past credit problems their service provides real solutions allowing you to attain financing for a vehicle purchase.

Complete their quick and secure online form to access hundreds of dealerships and lenders across the USA in real-time to receive a decision in less than 24 hours. Their service is completely free and there are no obligations after you submit.

Apply today!

Upstart Lending

Upstart is a great startup that provides loans for starting a business.

Upstart provides personal loans from $1,000 to $50,000 for credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, large purchases and much more. After going through their secure and simple online application process, applicants can receive rates in just 2 minutes with funds available the next business day. Upstart takes into account your education and experience in addition to your credit score. Rates start at 5.67%.

Check your rate without affecting your credit at Upstart.

First Choice Auto Loan

First Choice Auto Loan can help you get approved for a new or used auto loan in minutes regardless of your credit history. You can fill out their online application in less than five minutes. They will then shop your application across their dealer network and receive a credit or financing decision within the same day.

Apply today!

24/7 Installment Loans

247 Installment Loan can connect you with a lender network for loans of up to $35,000. You can submit your information and get a response in 90 seconds or less. Lender approval is provided in real-time. Once you are connected with a lending partner, you can finalize your loan agreement and receive the funds in your account.

Apply today!

Easy Auto Loan

Easy Auto Loan can connect you with a dealer and lender network to facilitate your vehicle purchase. Easy Auto Loan only works with partners who are experts in handling any credit situation. In most cases they are able to approve applications the same day. You could be driving your new car the next day.

Once you have chosen the best loan terms to fit your needs, you can purchase your vehicle. Whether you receive a loan pre-approval from a lender, or approval from a dealer, the process is the same. Select your vehicle and complete the transaction with no hassles.

Easy Auto Loan provides you access to quick easy funding for any credit situation.

Apply today!

Blue Trust Loans

If you’re looking for cash for a down payment, offers loans of up to $2,000.

  • Flexible repayment terms
  • No early repayment penalty
  • Quick funding to your account
  • An easy to understand application process

Apply today!

Leasing a Car for Uber

Uber Xchange Leasing

On September 27, 2017 Uber announced they were shutting down the Uber Xchange leasing program. The reason was because the program was losing too much money – $9,000 per vehicle.

Leasing a car through Uber generally costs between $110-$200 per week, plus an initial $250 deposit. While this is higher than a regular lease, it includes unlimited mileage and basic maintenance (oil changes, tire rotations, and cabin air filter replacement only). The lease is also extremely flexible. After one month, you can get out of the lease for any reason by giving two weeks notice and paying $250.

While you can lease new or used vehicles, I highly recommend leasing a new vehicle. The reason is that you then get a warranty, so if something breaks on the car that falls outside the definition of “basic maintenance”, it’s covered under the warranty. If you lease a used vehicle through Uber Xchange with 40,000 miles, and the transmission goes, and you have no warranty, you’re on the hook for the new transmission. Finally, if you lease or purchase a car through Uber Xchange, it’s not just a car for Uber. You can use the car for all ridesharing services.

To lease a car through Uber, apply to drive with Uber here. You would then apply for the Xchange leasing program located under “vehicle solutions” in your driver dashboard.

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

Man waiting for his Uber

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.

Uber Application Lyft Application


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

lyft application


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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Lyft Driver Promos

Before You Start Driving

What should I do before I start driving for Lyft or Uber?

If you already own a vehicle, there are only three things you should do before you start driving for Lyft or Uber:

  1. Learn your way around your city.
  2. Get a few products that will come in handy on the road.
  3. Get Rideshare Insurance.

If you don’t currently have a car, be sure to check out our Vehicle Financing section.  There, you can learn about the different lease, rental and purchase options available to rideshare drivers.

Learning your way around your city.

The number one complaint of riders, by far, is drivers who don’t know their way around. So, before picking up your first passenger, become a bit familiar with your city. Check out your city on google maps. Take note of major highways and note the streets that seem wider than average. Those streets are likely the major roads in your city. If you can, hop in the car and drive around your city for a few hours, or even a whole day. Drive around the downtown area, head to the airports(s), the train station, and a few touristy destinations.

If you want to go further, determine what the address numbering system is for your city (google it) and learn it. That way, when someone is going to 600 North Main Street, you’ll know the general direction you’re going. Finally, if you haven’t already, you should take a short Lyft and Uber ride. That way, you’ll be familiar with what the rider experiences before you start doing pickups.
Driver in Front Seat - Rideshare Central

Products every Uber and Lyft driver should have.

The must have list is short. You’re going to want a good phone holder, a roll of paper towels, clorox wipes, a couple of plastic bags, and if you plan on driving weekend nights, vomit bags. Now, you probably will not need the last four items. I’ve been a rideshare driver since 2014, and haven’t needed those items. But if you are ever in a situtation where you do need them, you don’t want to be without them.

The should, or could have, list is longer. It really comes down to personal choice. You may want to consider a usb hub, an android charger, an iphone charger, some armor all type wipes, all weather floor mats, a tire pressure gauge, and possibly, some waters. For a complete list of products you should consider browsing through our Essential Products For Drivers.

Every driver should consider purchasing rideshare insurance.

For more information on rideshare insurance, please visit our Rideshare Insurance Marketplace, where you can find information on the types of rideshare insurance offered in your state.

Looking For The Best Rideshare Company To Sign Up With?

Sign up to drive with Lyft today and get a sign up bonus.

With Lyft, you can sign up to drive even if you don’t have a car!