Lyft let me be an artist.

How I Finally Made Time to Be an Artist Working for Lyft

How Lyft Let Me Be An Artist

Trying to survive as an actress or artist in Los Angeles is tough, so waiting tables has been the go-to for covering rent until Lyft came along. Rideshare companies have changed the economy, and offer the freedom to set your own schedule.

For me, this means I can have time to actually pursue a passion, not just a paycheck.

It’s never been odd to me to work side gigs while trying to find my way as an artist. The hours have been long, unpredictable, and on more than one occasion, left me short on rent.

For all the creatives without steady hours, a side hustle is pretty much a necessity. For me, rideshare driving with Lyft is a natural fit. It’s the best way to put food on the table, without having to serve food to a guest’s table.

Lyft Beats Serving Tables

If you’ve worked in a restaurant, you know the struggle. There are no money-making guarantees when you walk in the door. You can literally spend hours waiting for guests to arrive and leave with barely enough to cover the bus ride home.

Waitress getting bad tip

Lyft not only provides the time needed to create my work, but incentives like Prime Time let me make more cash during specific work hours. And Lyft’s weekly bonuses allow me to increase my overall earnings. The benefits of being a Lyft driver mean boxing up someone’s leftover Rigatoni Bolognese is a thing of the past.

The Pay

As an independent contractor, Lyft drivers aren’t paid an hourly wage. I get paid by distance and driving time, but the big payoff for me is the tips: 100% of tips from passengers go to me. Add in the occasional weekly cash bonus (and sign-on bonus when you start driving), and I bring in around $20 an hour on average, sometimes a bit more.

The Schedule

No more closing the restaurant and getting home at 2 a.m. Choosing my own hours lets me book shows or festivals and still make art my concentration. I sign on four or five days a week, and even though traffic can be horrendous, working through the high volume hours can bring in more cash. Prime Time hours – which tend to happen during holidays, promotions, or events – are the best. Any time I get a notification from Lyft that it’s busy out, I tend to log on.

The Balance

Since I choose my own hours, I also get to choose what I do in my downtime. Finding the time to be in the studio or work with other L.A. creatives nearly never happened when I waited tables. Now I can rearrange my hours to make sure events that matter to me (like the Rose Bowl Flea Market) take priority.

The People

If you’re not a people person, Lyft may not be your ideal side gig (maybe try Doordash or Caviar instead), but the conversations sure beat what you’ll have serving at any restaurant. From wedding parties to job interviews, I’ve been a part (even if just a small one) of so many different phases of life, and it’s awesome. Seeing people at their best, or just being a listening ear when one is needed, is really one of the best parts of this job.

Tips for Driving With Lyft

Whether you’re attempting to make it on Broadway or just need one gallery owner to hang your work, I’ll share the secrets I’ve learned about making the Lyft side hustle work for you.

  • Be your own boss: Being self-employed carries a lot of responsibilities, risks, and rewards. There’s no paid time off for sick days or vacation time, so be prepared to work extra hours to make up the missed cash.
  • Discipline: The light bill still has to be paid when it’s cold or rainy, so if you don’t have the self-discipline to work through the elements (or skip the marathon of “Sex and the City” reruns) stick with a 9-to-5.
  • Know the city: Driving for Lyft works out best when you can take the back way around traffic and major highways. Understanding how secondary roads connect will help you respond faster to waiting riders, ultimately putting more cash in your pocket.
  • Check your insurance: If you’re like me and you’re just trying to make enough to get groceries for the next few days, car insurance probably isn’t top of mind. But if you’re in an accident, it becomes desperately important. Lyft provides insurance coverage for while you’re driving, but you should still consider adding rideshare coverage to your policy. Companies like Allstate, State Farm, and Geico now offer insurance specially designed for rideshare drivers at a low cost.
  • Take advantage of incentives: Prime Time hits when the number of available drivers goes down and demand for rides goes up. The rate increases and you can make more cash. What you’ll find is that a number of other drivers have the same idea, so your best bet is to take advantage of Prime Time in the area you’re already driving. Don’t bother racing to an area ten minutes away to catch a Prime Time ride. Generally, Prime Time only lasts a few minutes.
  • Stay in the city: I will do anything possible to stay on the West side or the North valley while I’m driving. Venturing into the suburbs means fewer riders and more time getting back into the hustle and bustle. Stick with the crowds for the most cash. Use the Lyft destination setting to keep yourself in a particular area.
  • Offer an extra: I didn’t get the idea to offer riders a phone charger as an extra until a few people asked if I had one. Once I realized how often people needed to boost their device, I grabbed a couple of chargers (one Android, one Apple). Once I added charges for rider cell phones, tips went up a bit.
  • Track it all: Even though Lyft may just be my side gig, I keep records of everything. From tolls to miles driven while I’m logged in, I keep it all together for tax time so I can itemize my work costs. Using a mileage tracker helps. I use Quickbooks Self Employed to track my expenses and mileage, but many drivers have started using Hurdlr and love it.

I’m a part of L.A.’s new creative underclass, the group that needs a way to make cash for rent to follow a passion. That’s where Lyft comes in. When I’m not elbow-deep in Abstract Expressionist-inspired artwork, I’m scanning a digital map, waiting on the next rider. And when paintings sit longer than they sell, I drive. I listen to the stories, and best of all, I don’t wait tables.

Uber driver pay - How much?

Uber Driver Pay: How Much Do Uber Drivers Make?

Uber Driver Pay: How Much Do Uber Drivers Make?

If you’re considering joining Uber, then you’re probably searching for an answer to this question: “How much do Uber drivers make? The answer is far more complicated than you might realize. Here, we break down the complexities of the equation to help you find answers. Find out more about estimating Uber driver pay, below.

How Much Does Uber Pay?

To answer the question, “How much do uber drivers make?” you’ll need to consider three major factors:

  • Ride fare
  • Expenses
  • Rideshare taxes

Here’s a closer look at each of these aspects:

Calculating Uber Ride Fares

Before you can figure out your potential average earning as a rideshare driver, you need to first answer this question: “How much does Uber pay?” Let’s start by determining Uber ride fare. Here are the four major components that determine how much an Uber rider will pay:

  • Base fare
  • Booking fee
  • Ride time
  • Travel distance

If there is a boost in demand at the time the Uber is ordered, they’ll also pay surge pricing, which multiplies the total fare minus the booking fee. However, the rider’s total payment doesn’t go into the pockets of the Uber driver.

Firstly, the booking fee automatically goes to the rideshare company to cover various internal costs. Taking it out of the fare scenario, you’re still left with the base fare, per minute charge, and per mile rate. After adding these three together, Uber takes a 25% commission out of the total. The rest is Uber’s driver pay.

A simple way to think about it is that driver’s are paid a certain rate for driving miles, and a certain rate for ride time. Here’s the current Uber Rate Card for Boston. So Uber drivers in Boston are paid $1.35 per mile and $0.21 per minute minus 25%.

For a ten mile ride that takes twenty minutes, that comes out to $13.50 (pay for miles) + $4.20 (pay for time) – 25%, or $13.28.

Uber Estimate - Boston Rate Card

Keep in mind that the style of Uber ride will affect your potential pay. You’ll make less for an UberX trip than you will providing UberXL or Uber Black SUV rides. The per mile and per minute rates are significantly higher for those vehicles.

One of the biggest fluctuations in rideshare driver income is tips. The company’s commission rate doesn’t include the tips you earn as a driver, so you get to include all of your tips in your take-home pay. If you practice excellent customer service skills, you’re likely to increase your average hourly earnings far above the local average. Top drivers can increase their weekly pay 10-20% thorough Uber driver tips alone.

Uber Driver Pay vs. Expenses

The main reason that Uber’s suggested hourly average doesn’t match that of the study is expenses. Rideshare drivers operate as independent contractors, so they’re responsible for all the expenses associated with driving for hire. Some of the most common out-of-pocket costs for Uber drivers include:

  • Fuel
  • Rideshare insurance
  • Routine maintenance
  • Vehicle repairs
  • Smartphone plan
  • Auto loan payment

When combined and averaged out, your total expenses will reduce your average earnings.

Rideshare Taxes

Another reason Uber’s suggested hourly average doesn’t match up is that they’re providing a gross income amount, which doesn’t factor in rideshare taxes. Managing this is one of the most challenging tasks for Uber drivers. As an independent contractor, all federal, state, and local taxes are your responsibility.

So, on top of covering your own expenses, you’ll also need to calculate and pay income tax as well as social security and Medicare tax. To determine your potential net income as a rideshare driver, you’ll also need to factor in the required taxes and set them aside every payday. This process further cuts into your overall earnings.

However, there is a silver lining. While you will need to pay your operating expenses out of pocket, you can deduct all or a percentage of each on your taxes as a business expense. This process will reduce your overall tax liability, which can lower your estimated quarterly tax payments throughout the year. To make this process easier, use an expense and mileage tracker to maintain thorough documentation throughout the year.

How Much Do Uber Drivers Make?

Now, you know what plays into ride fares as well as the operational expenses and tax requirements of Uber drivers. Together, these three elements affect the overall Uber driver pay average. Yet, the total of each of these categories is very location-specific.

Uber sets their fares based on the city in which you drive, and your average expenses are also affected by regional variations, such as fuel and vehicle maintenance costs. While federal tax percentages are the same everywhere in the U.S., the state and local tax percentages vary by location.

Here’s an example of what you can expect to earn as a driver in New York City:

  • Base Fare: $2.55
  • Per Minute Rate: $0.35
  • Per Mile Rate: $1.75

Taking in these costs into consideration, the Uber fare estimator calculates that a 30-minute trip from the Tenement Museum to the Central Park Zoo would cost $23.71 without a booking fee. To determine the driver’s earnings, you’ll multiply the fare estimate by .75, which results in $17.78. Multiply this trip by two—since it’s a 30-minute trip—and you’ll average $35.56 per hour. However, you’ll need to subtract around 30% (approximately $10) for taxes, which results in around $25 per hour. While this amount is similar to Uber’s suggestion, you’re not done with your calculations yet.

Additionally, you’ll need to subtract your average hourly expenses. For argument’s sake, let’s say that you spend $420 per month on your vehicle payment, $280 on your car insurance, $100 on maintenance, $150 on fuel, and $50 for smartphone service. That averages out to look like this per hour:

  • Auto Loan Payment: $1.75
  • Car Insurance: $1.23
  • Vehicle Maintenance: $0.13
  • Fuel: $0.75
  • Phone: $0.25

Now, subtract the expenses of $4.11 per hour from your net (post-tax) income of $25.56 and you end up earning $21.45. This estimated hourly wage is still close to Uber’s own marketed driver earning potential, but it also envisions that’ll you’ll score back-to-back rides with little to no wait time. Such variables make estimating Uber driver pay a complicated process.


Join Uber


How Much Will My Uber Driver Pay Be?

For years, the rideshare company has claimed that drivers can make up to $25 per hour. However, one trusted study puts the national average at just under $16 per hour.

Why is there such a drastic difference? Much of it has to do with which market the driver is in. While the national average for uber driver pay may be around $16 per hour, drivers in many markets can earn much more. If you’re in driving Uber in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Chicago, $25 per hour is doable (although not all the time).

If you’re in Boise though, averaging $25 per hour driving for Uber is unlikely.

Another major factor that determines driver pay is experience. As you can see from the chart below, drivers earn substantially more after completing their first 100 rides. Earnings per hour tend to increase the more rides you do.

How much do Uber drivers make per hour?

So how much can you expect to make when you start driving with Uber? In most markets, you’ll probably make between $15 to $18 per hour as you start out.

If you’re in a market with more than 500,000 people, your earnings should increase to the $20 per hour range after a few weeks of driving. If you’re full time in such a city, you should be able to earn between $1000 and $1500 per week driving UberX, and more on the premium Uber platforms.

Pretty much every Uber driver makes more money per hour in their third week of driving than their first week.

Here’s what a some drivers have earned recently on Uber.

uber denver weekly earnings
Uber Driver Pay Weekly
How much do Uber drivers make?

How to Boost Your Uber Earning Potential

With all of this information, you’re probably wondering what you can expect to make as an Uber driver. While Uber’s suggestions and the study mentioned above are drastically different, drivers that have provided their earning information to Glassdoor seem to fall in the middle range at $14 per hour on average.

As you can see, answering the question, “How much do Uber drivers make?” isn’t as easy as most people imagine. There isn’t a precise method to estimate your individual income as an Uber driver. Every location differs on pricing, and the demand will fluctuate daily to affect your overall average. However, you can utilize insider tips and tricks to get ahead and make the most of your time on the road.

At Rideshare Central, we offer a growing number of helpful guides, how-tos, and tool reviews to assist you with becoming a top rideshare driver earner. Here are a few to get you started:

You can get an Uber sign up guarantee of up to $2000 by using our Uber driver referral code (i9tz1) when you sign up to drive. Simply click the button below to get started.


See Your Uber Bonus



Uber driver side hustle

Want a Side Hustle and a Full-Time Job? Key Things to Think About First

How To Fit Your Side Hustle With Your Day Job

Interest in side hustles like Uber or Postmates has been growing exponentially, and with it the number of men and women who hold both full-time jobs and perform tasks on the side. From driving for services like Lyft to delivering food to hungry neighbors to doing small jobs through Task Rabbit, the opportunities are almost endless.

If you have been tempted to take on a side hustle of your own, it is important to do some planning first. A side hustle is a great way to bring in some extra cash, but you do not want to make a mistake that could put your full-time job, and your main source of income, in jeopardy. Here are some key things to think about when fitting a side hustle into your full-time career.

Clear It With the Boss

The last thing you want is for your small-time side hustle to put your full-time income in jeopardy. It is important to run your proposed gig by your boss first, just to make sure there are no potential problems.

Assuming your side hustle will not interfere with your full-time responsibilities, your boss is unlikely to object. But if you work in an industry similar to your proposed side hustle, the firm you work for may not be cool with you taking on freelance work. But don’t worry, this is a pretty unlikely occurrence.

Plan for Taxes

One of the realities of life as a side hustler is taxes, and the tax bite can be quite high. While recent changes to the tax law have made being self-employed a little less expensive, you will still need to plan for those expenses.

There are a number of ways to pay the taxes you will owe, and the method you use will depend on how much you expect to make and the amount you expect to owe. If you have a full-time job and a side hustle, you can ask your employer to withhold additional taxes, simplifying the process and potentially reducing the amount you will owe later on.

woman doing taxes

You can also make estimated tax payments to the IRS, and your state if the state has an income tax. You can print these estimated tax payment vouchers off the IRS website or get them from your tax preparation agency.

Work the Side Hustle Into Your Schedule

The beauty of a side hustle is that you can work it into your own schedule. Unlike a part-time job, with its strict schedule, you can work your side hustle into your life any time you want.

Think about your daily schedule, look for gaps in your time and think about how to turn those extra minutes into cash. As you get better at your side hustle, you can maximize your earnings even more by making more efficient use of your time.

If you are looking for a way to bring in some extra cash and supplement your full-time income, a side hustle could be just the thing. More and more people, including career professionals, have been supplementing their incomes with freelance consulting work, home improvement projects and other tasks that let them use their skills. Once you have done your homework and completed the planning, you can join them and start pulling in some extra cash.

postmates vs. caviar

Postmates vs. Caviar: Which Company Should You Drive For?


(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.)

Becoming a delivery driver is one of the best ways to make quick cash. You set your own hours, choose the deliveries you want to take, and unlike rideshare services, you can do it all on your bike. Two of the most popular delivery services are Postmates and Caviar. While they both offer fantastic features, there are many differences between the two.

If you’re stuck choosing between becoming a Caviar driver or a working for Postmates as a courier, you’ve come to the right place! This article breaks down each service and compares the differences between them so that you can make an educated decision about which company you want to work with.

If you’re interested in Doordash, be sure to check out our Doordash driver guide.

Being a Postmates Driver

While there’s been a surge in food delivery services entering the market over recent years, Postmates stands out from the crowd. The company does encourage customers to order take-out, but their delivery offerings transcend food.

Clients can order anything, from groceries to electronics, and their Postmates driver will deliver it.

Postmates courier


Offering such a variety of delivery options makes working for Postmates very appealing for drivers. Even in smaller cities where demand for couriers is lower, Postmates’ offerings make it easier for delivery drivers to find steady work because they’re not focused on one niche area of the market. Plus, you can work whenever you want, so there’s no pre-set schedules or minimum weekly hour requirement.

If this arrangement sounds perfect for you, take a closer look at the Postmates driver requirements, hiring process, and perks of the job before you apply.

Working For Postmates: Eligibility Requirements for Postmates Fleet

Before you can join the Postmates fleet, you’ll need to meet a few requirements:

  • Age: To qualify as a Postmates driver, you need to be at least 18 years old.
  • Transportation: Unlike rideshare companies, courier services offer the perk of delivery opportunities on non-four-wheeled vehicles, like bicycles, scooters, and motorcycles. You can also join the Postmates fleet with a standard car, truck, SUV, or van. In many markets, you can also deliver for Postmates on foot!
  • Auto Insurance (if you’ll be driving): All on-the-road vehicles must be insured to meet your state’s minimum legal requirements, and you’ll need to provide proof of coverage to the company.
  • Background Check: The company also requires their fleet to pass a criminal background check. This step is designed to protect their clients and the company itself.

Working For Postmates: Postmates Jobs Driver Earnings

When working for Postmates, you operate as an independent contractor, so there’s no hourly pay or yearly salary. There are also no set hours, so you get to create your own schedule, and consequently, your total earnings are dependent on your drive and the local demand.

Postmates jobs pay using a formula that covers a variety of factors. This includes:

  • Order pickup: You get paid a certain amount for simply picking up the order.
  • Time: If you arrive at the pickup spot and have to wait for the order, you’ll earn money for every minute that you wait.
  • Miles: You’re also paid for each mile you travel between pickup and dropoff.
  • Order drop off: You get paid a fee for dropping the order off.
  • Blitz bonus: When a surge in demand occurs at your location, drivers are given a bonus for working.

The specific rates you’ll earn are dependent on your location. Fortunately, Postmates is transparent in their pricing, so you can see your city’s rates directly on their site.

How Much Do Postmates Jobs Pay (Driver Earnings)?

Postmates claims that drivers can earn up to $27 per hour, and seems to back them up, putting the average salary at around $24/hour. But the numbers are an average for the whole couinty, and the number of variables in place make it impossible to provide a precise estimate for each market.

However, in most medium sized markets, Postmates couriers tend to earn about $10 – $15 per hour. In certain larger Postmates markets like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, drivers can earn significantly more.

The company also sends their drivers payouts after every trip, so you’ll have access to your earnings quickly. But there is a catch—the company charges a 15-cent fee for every direct deposit, which can add up quickly if you’re working frequently.

Special Perks of Postmates Jobs

As a Postmate, you have access to their Postmates Plus Unlimited service for customers, which includes free deliveries on orders that surpass $20.

You also get to avoid service fees from many of their partners in the area. To qualify for this perk, you need to complete a minimum of 25 deliveries per month. Every month that you reach this goal, the subscription will be applied to your Postmates customer account for the following month.

Drivers who manage at least 10 deliveries per month qualify for the Postmates’ PerkSpot program. This service gives you special discounts and savings opportunities at both local and national business who partner with the company. The discount program is only activated for a week after you’ve met your monthly goal, but it offers drivers the opportunity to score some great deals.

How to Become a Postmates Driver

postmates driver sign up page


Applying to join the Postmates fleet is a quick and easy process. Simply visit the Postmates’ fleet page, and enter your email and chosen password in the box that reads, “Sign up to get started.”

You can also click the button below to start your Postmates application.

Join Postmates


After clicking “next,” the system will prompt you to enter all of the necessary information, including legal name, birth date, contact information, and address. Next, you’ll need to read and complete the Postmates fleet agreement before authorizing a background check. Finally, you’ll upload your profile photo and set up your direct deposit information while you wait for approval.

The vetting process usually takes around one to two weeks, but once you’re approved, the company will send you their new driver goodies. This package includes a delivery bag, which is incredibly helpful if you travel on two wheels, and a prepaid card that allows you to pay for the customers’ orders upon pickup. As soon as you receive this package, you can activate your card through the Postmates driver app and start accepting Postmates jobs.

Being a Caviar Driver

Caviar is another type of delivery service, but unlike Postmates, the company focuses exclusively on food, usually from higher end restaurants. Catering to such a specific market has its pros and cons. A single focus provides customers with an image that the company is specialized, which is likely to build loyalty and keep patrons coming back again. The focus on higher end restaurants can also lead to higher tips for drivers. On the other hand, it limits the market available for drivers.

Caviar Courier delivery in car


The delivery service does offer one feature that gives it the upper hand: its commercial focus. Caviar makes it extremely easy for businesses to put in group orders for their teams, allowing each person to add their own dishes. Companies can also create corporate accounts so their employees can order on a regular basis as well as request catering. Since the size of the order is factored into a courier’s payment, this feature boosts your single-delivery potential earnings as a driver.

If this job sounds like a good fit for your needs, dive into the specifics of becoming a Caviar courier, below.

Eligibility Requirements for Caviar Couriers

To deliver for Caviar, you need to meet certain requirements, including:

  • Age: Caviar couriers need to be at least 18 years old.
  • Transportation: As with Postmates, you can drive for Caviar with traditional modes of transportation, including cars, trucks, bikes, and scooters.
  • Experience: Unlike other courier services, Caviar gives priority to couriers that have at least two years of experience as a driver.
  • Interview and orientation: After you’ve applied, you’ll receive a call or email to set up your interview and orientation at the local Caviar office. Instead of meeting someone individually, as with a traditional interview, they’ll simply check all of your information and documentation to ensure that everything matches. Then, you’ll take part in a 90-minute orientation session that walks you through company processes and how everything works.
  • Background check: After you’ve made it through the onboarding process, the last step is a background check.

Earning Potential of Caviar Drivers

Instead of a set delivery amount for each location, Caviar uses its own algorithm to determine the driver’s earning for every single order. Their formula factors in mileage, expected time, and size of the delivery. Fortunately, drivers have the opportunity to view the prospective payout before accepting a delivery.

Like Postmates, Caviar also suggests that their couriers can earn up to $25 an hour. In this case, it seems to be a pretty accurate estimate, at least according to responses from some of the company’s couriers. Remember, there are many factors involved, so there’s no guarantee as to how much you’ll make if you drive for Caviar.

Special Perks of Being a Caviar Courier

One of the main perks of working for Caviar is their Cash App. This program allows Caviar couriers to process their payouts more quickly through the company’s own debit card. Instead of waiting for four to five days for your earnings to transfer, you’ll have instant access to the funds.

How to Become a Caviar Delivery Driver


caviar courier sign up bonus


The Caviar hiring process is fairly simple. To apply, simply click here, create an account, and click “Apply Now.” The system will then prompt you to fill out all of the required personal information. If everything looks good, they’ll contact you to arrange an orientation at their local office. You can also click the button below to get started.

Join Caviar


Most cities offer a variety of orientation times, so you can pick the one that fits your schedule. For the event, you’ll need to take in your ID, proof of insurance (for cars and trucks), a photo of your bike, and your bank account information to set up direct deposit.

Postmates vs. Caviar: Which One Should You Drive For?

Now that you know the basics of becoming a Caviar and Postmates driver, which one will you choose? Since you operate as an independent contractor for both companies, you could actually work for both. This situation would allow you to increase your earning potential by covering a wider customer base.

With Caviar, you’ll have a more focused delivery job, concentrating mostly on higher end restaurants.

With Postmates, you’ll be delivering from a wider variety of places. As for which one you should sign up for first, we recommend Postmates, as it tends to be busier in most markets.

Choose a button below to get started.


Join Postmates


Join Caviar


If neither appeals to you, be sure to check out Doordash to see if it’s a better fit.

lyft gas price relief

Lyft To Begin Summer Gas Price Relief To Drivers

Lyft raising Fuel Rewards Discounts

The sharp rise in gas prices over the past couple of months has hit rideshare drivers hard. Gas is over 20% more expensive than this time last year. Even worse, prices are expected to rise further later this summer. Uber and Lyft drivers have even begun signing a petition asking the companies to help them pay for the rising gas prices.

Today, Lyft has responded to the problem by increasing Lyft drivers’ Shell fuel rewards to up to 50 cents per gallon. Currently, Lyft drivers who complete 10 or more rides per month achieve Silver status in Lyft’s Accelerate program. This gets them a discount of 5 cents per gallon at Shell stations.

Starting July 1,  Lyft is raising the discount amounts substantially, for Silver, Gold, and Platinum Accelerate drivers. Here are the new rates.

lyft shell fuel rewards rates


That’s a significant increase across the board. If you’re a part-time Lyft driver, your discount is doubled, which is pretty nice. But if you’re a gold or platinum Accelerate driver, that could mean a 10% – 25% discount on gas, depending on where you drive.

That’s going to be a significant help for many full time Lyft drivers. In some cases, the discount will knock out the increase in gas prices versus last year.

Lyft initiated this change based on discussions with the Lyft Driver Advisory Council. Lyft COO John McNeil noted, “The seasonal spike was the number one pain point shared with our Driver Advisory Council…and we’re addressing it.”

The Lyft Driver Advisory Council is made up of Lyft drivers from around the country. They act as a liason between Lyft and the driver community. This is definitely the most far reaching change to come out of the council.

Lyft driver advisory council

How To Get A Fuel Rewards Card?

If you’ve been driving with Lyft for a while, you probably already have a Fuel Rewards. If you do, keep using at as usual. You don’t have to get a new card or anything like that. Starting July 1, you should notice the higher discounts at the pump.

If you Drive With Lyft and don’t have a Fuel Rewards card, it’s pretty easy to get one. And it’s free! All you have to do is log in to your Lyft dashboard. Then, click on “Connected Services” as shown below, and create your Fuel Rewards account. If you already have a Fuel Rewards account, you can just log in from your Lyft dashboard and link it to your account.

lyft connected services shell fuel rewards

While you can only use your Fuel Rewards card at Shell gas stations, you can link it with a credit card to earn further gas discounts at Shell. For example, for every $50 you spend at participating restaurants, you can get an additional 15 cents per gallon discount. Fuel rewards also has partnerships with Choice Hotels (Comfort Inn, Econolodge), Budget, Priceline, Stop & Shop, and many others.

As it’s free and costs nothing to use, you really have nothing to lose by signing up for Fuel Rewards, and then connecting your Lyft account and a credit card.

How Will Uber Respond?

In the past, Lyft has at times been criticized for copying Uber. It seems the worm may have turned. Currently, the only way to get any kind of gas discount through Uber is to apply and be approved for the Uber Visa. Will Lyft’s move pressure Uber to implement some form of wide ranging gas relief for its drivers?

How Will Drivers Respond?

The number one complaint I hear from drivers this time of year is gas prices are too high. Lyft’s move should help, but will it get drivers out on the road more? What do you think of Lyft’s new increased fuel discounts? Let us know.

How To Use Uber Express Pool

Uber Pool: What Is Uber Express Pool, and How Well Does It Work?

As a company that’s constantly innovating and coming up with new ways to use their service, it’s no surprise that Uber has recently launched a new product known as Uber Express Pool. Uber has a carpool service currently, called Uber Pool. But Uber Express Pool is a new development in the rideshare carpooling world. It’s basically Uber Pool, but slightly more advanced.

So why has Uber added Uber Express Pool to the Uber Pool family? What is it expected to do? How will this affect riders and drivers alike? Read on for all the answers to your Uber Express Pool questions.

What is Uber Express Pool?

At its most basic, Uber Express pool is a carpooling service. Like carpooling to work with a coworker, the intent of Uber Express Pool is to get multiple people to a similar place using the same vehicle. The goal is to make the cost of the trip cheaper for everyone. It’s a way to reduce fares for riders, and also hopefully increase profits for Uber.

The crux of Uber Express Pool, and the thing that makes it the most different from Uber Pool, is their brand new back end, which calculates ride routes in a new way, making it more effective and less confusing for their system. With this technology, they hope to avoid a significant amount of the problems that Uber Pool has, namely extremely inefficient routes that are burdensome not only to drivers, but also to passengers, and Uber as a company.

Now, Uber hasn’t even rolled out Uber Pool to all of the cities they service yet, and it’s safe to say that they’ll want to test out Uber Express POOL in a very limited sense before extending it even just to the cities Uber Pool was servicing. It will also work better in high density urban areas, where many people have need for car rides to similar areas. This means it may never even make it to more suburban areas.

Uber Pool: How does Uber Express Pool work?

With Uber Express Pool, you place your pickup and dropoff spot,  just like any other Uber ride. Then, Uber matches you up with another person who’s interested in going to about the same area. You’re each given a place a short walk from you that’s more efficient for the route, and you then wait there for the ride. The Uber picks you up, and you get taken to a dropoff spot that may be a short walking distance from your destination.

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It’s a straightforward system — but then again, so was Uber Pool. The biggest issue that plagues Uber Pool is that the system can pick extra riders up at any point in time, which meas the route would have to be recalculated, potentially making travel and walk time much longer. Sometimes, it would become so mixed up that it would seem less efficient than just taking a normal Uber.

From the way it’s being advertised, Uber Express Pool has fixed some of those issues. Uber states that after you request the ride, you’ll wait “a few extra moments” so they can find other riders that can carpool with you. They then state, “After we map the best trip, we’ll show you where to meet your driver.” Though it’s not explicitly stated, this does seem to imply that, contrary to how Uber Pool worked, their system will map the drive before it even starts.

It’s also not completely clear what “a few extra moments” means. Depending on who you ask, that may mean one or two minutes, or it may mean six or seven minutes. For the heavily reduced fares, it’s not exactly wild to ask for a five to six minute wait time, but that time will depend on how many people there are nearby, and how many of those people are using Uber and interested in carpooling. Depending on time of day and area, wait time to find another rider could be under a minute or over ten minutes, and that unpredictability could turn off potential riders.

With all of these factors, it’s likely that Uber Express Pool will only be used in certain areas, and probably only at certain times as well. However, until Uber gives us those statistics directly, it’s hard to say for sure.

Uber Pool: What will Uber Express Pool change for riders?

With Uber Express Pool, it’s clear Uber is branching out and trying to entice people outside their usual clientele to use their services. This is for good reason, too — Uber is losing a lot of money, and if it doesn’t start making that money back, it’s going to have trouble attracting new capital. Of course, these losses don’t mean Uber is currently going under. Plenty of companies, including big names like Amazon and Twitter, started their now-profitable lives with extremely large profit losses. However, Uber has to turn things around, and fast.

How Uber Pool Works

That’s likely why they’re trying to appeal to a new crowd. In the same way that Amazon has managed to maintain startlingly low prices on many products, Uber is trying to maintain a ride cost that is far below the previous standard for taxis. That means reaching out to people who take the bus, and carpool with their friends.

The main drawback to Uber Express Pool is that it will take more time, and it will require walking, rather than just being dropped off directly at your destination. Many people who just take normal Uber drives see this as a significant setback, and for much of that demographic, it is. However, it seems like Uber isn’t trying to use Express POOL to convert existing customers; rather, it appears as though they’re trying to lure in those who primarily use bus and subway systems to get where they need to go.

Uber Express Pool may allow people who would already take the bus to get where they need to go in a way that’s faster, more efficient, and much more affordable than taking an individual Uber. A twenty-minute car ride may take an hour and a half on the bus, and walking time will likely be around the same as with a bus system. While for existing customers, this may seem an unnecessary waste of time and money, it’s fair to say that this system will likely pull in a fairly significant number of new customers.

What will Uber Express Pool change for drivers?

Of course, an important part of the profit and loss structure for Uber right now is that drivers are criminally underpaid, but Uber still can’t maintain their business. While the prices are great for riders, it’s unavoidable that drivers aren’t making enough money to support themselves — in the quest for the lowest possible price, Uber has refused to acknowledge that multiple people need to make a profit in order for the business to be successful.

The thing is, as it stands now, the Uber Pool prices are simply too low. While they’re certainly enticing for people at the moment, Uber can’t sustain those prices in the long run, which means they have to increase the prices at some point if they want to stay in business. Rather than advertising based on price, they need to advertise in some other way, and add value to their business in a completely different fashion. It’s not impossible to make Uber rates lower than taxis while also making them high enough to pay drivers properly and still turn a profit.

It’s true that taxis were already in trouble before rideshare services came about, as it’s one of the things that drove the creation of these services. Many riders can’t pay the high rates of taxis, and some would be extremely happy to cut down on the cost of their rides even further, but they need to take into account the payment of the driver in this equation.

Will Uber drivers refuse Uber Express Pool rides like they have Uber Pool rides?

It’s no secret that many Uber drivers simply refuse to accept Uber Pool rides. Unlike Lyft, Uber pays drivers a lower rate for carpool rides. Since Uber cannot deactivate a driver for not accepting rides, a fair number of Uber drivers will simply turn down Express Pool rides, as they have Uber Pool rides.

The main issue with both Uber Pool and Uber Express Pool, is that Uber itself is refusing to let this strategy make drivers more money. On a carpool trip under Uber Pool’s rates, a full Uber Pool ride brought in approximately 20% more than one single trip. However, they didn’t pay the drivers anything extra. While it’s understandable that Uber wants to make more profit to offset their significant losses, they need to recognize that drivers will want to move away from the service if they don’t feel as though they’re making enough money to sustain themselves. Uber needs both drivers and riders, or their business simply will not function.

Uber needs to come to an understanding with their riders and drivers. Riders need to realize that drivers have to be paid enough to make a living, drivers must enter the industry understanding that the goal is to keep ride prices low, and Uber needs to accept both. Rather than cutting the Uber Express Pool prices so low, it would be much more effective for everyone to just cut them slightly. Perhaps then, Uber Express Pool could actually make Uber more money, make drivers more money, and cost riders less individually, which would make it a win all around.

What is Uber’s concept moving forward with Uber Express Pool?

Interestingly enough, the Uber Express Pool concept does seem to be some kind of first step to integrating Uber with city bus systems. In an interview with Recode in February, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi outright stated that his ultimate goal was not to be seen as a car-for-hire company, but as a full transit system.

“I want to run the bus systems for a city,” he stated, describing his ambitious end goal for Uber. “I want you to be able to take an Uber and get into the subway — if the trains are running on time, you’ve got real-time data — get in the subway, get out and have an Uber waiting for you for right now. Or know that there’s a bike right there for you that gets you where you’re going in the fastest manner.”

Dara Khosrowshahi

In essence, what this means is that Uber is eventually trying to create a full network of transit that works as a one-stop-shop for your transportation needs. You take an Uber to the train station, take the train station across the city, and have an Uber already waiting to pick you up when you get there. It stands to reason that Uber Express POOL is a movement toward that vision.

However, bus systems have historically never been extremely profitable. While it’s an interesting concept, and fully integrating a city’s transit system with a privately-owned rideshare program may end up turning a larger profit, simply trying to replace buses that can hold fifty people with cars that can hold four isn’t exactly a sustainable model. And with all the issues already arising from underpaying drivers by undercharging riders, it’s unlikely that the integration Khosrowshahi has in mind will happen anytime soon — at least, not with this model.

So, what does Uber Express Pool mean for riders and drivers right now?

If you’re not already in a large, extremely urban city, this change likely won’t mean anything. In places that already have a lower demand for Uber & Lyft, the extra time needed to find two or more riders near each other who are interested in going to a similar place is too much to effectively pay off. You may, however, see some new changes if you do live in a highly urban area.

If the limited information we have on Uber Express Pool is correct, this change may not even take off for urban areas. It doesn’t seem as though it’s going to make Uber enough money to continue to be profitable. Unless they’re making money from an unseen part of this system, they may have to either raise prices or scrap the concept altogether.
At the end of the day, Uber, its riders, and its drivers don’t understand each other. As long as they’re constantly fighting, with riders trying to get the lowest price, drivers trying to make enough money, and Uber trying to convince them both to continue using the service so they can make money, the service is likely going to remain stagnant. Uber is losing billions of dollars, and, while investors are covering that because they see the rideshare service taking off in the future, they can’t keep losing money in that way.

Uber Express Pool, though an interesting idea, is not a long-term solution. If Uber wants to go anywhere, they need to look past Uber Pool and Uber Express Pool. Instead, they should start trying the things that could actually save their business.