Uber and Lyft Driver Instructions for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA)

Uber and Lyft Driver Instructions for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA)


Austin is a rapidly growing city, and so is its airport. More than 1.4 million people travel through Austin International every month and the airport is now the second fastest growing airport in the nation.

This is great news for rideshare drivers because it means more opportunity IF you know how to take advantage of it. All too often we find drivers that waste time and fail when driving passengers from and to Austin-Bergstrom International because they just don’t know the rules of the airport or have a great airport strategy.

Well, we want drivers in the Austin area to maximize their airport earnings, so we’ve put together this instructional guide to help Uber and Lyft drivers be successful (and maximize their earnings) when driving at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

See the topics covered in this blog post below:

  1. What do I need to know or do before arriving at Austin International Airport?
  2. Do I need any permits for Austin International Airport?
  3. Where is the rideshare waiting area at Austin International Airport?
  4. What are the passenger pick up rules at Austin International Airport?
  5. What are the passenger drop off rules at Austin International Airport?
  6. When is the best time to drive at Austin International Airport?
  7. What is the best Austin International Airport driving strategy?

Let’s dive in!

What you need to know/do before you arrive at ABIA and enter the airport Queue

There are quite a few different rideshare companies available in Austin, however, not all of them are available at ABIA and the rideshare companies that do operate at ABIA use some sort of a FiFo system meaning First in, First Out. Basically, this means that when you are in the designated area as a rideshare driver at ABIA and you have your app turned on, you’ll be automatically entered into the airport queue and assigned a number.

From there, you simply wait for your number to be called and you will receive a passenger queue.

It sounds easy enough, but there are a few steps that you should take before you arrive at the airport to ensure that you’re prepared.

Step #1: Get your trade dress

Every rideshare driver knows that having your trade dress is a absolute must, especially when you’re driving at airports. Without these decals you can easily pick up a ticket or fine. So before you do anything you must make sure that you have your Uber or Lyft decals. You can easily pick these up from one of the rideshare companies.

To get your Uber Decal you can visit the local Greenlight Hub.

To get your Lyft Decal you can place an order on your dashboard. You can also print a temporary decal if you lose yours or are waiting for one to come in the mail.

Step #2: Know the airport regulations

One of the nice things about ABIA is that you don’t need a specific airport decal to drive there, however, there are a few key rules and regulations that you must follow.

  1. Always keep one of your rideshare apps on at all times while on airport property
  2. Don’t wait in any other areas except the designated staging areas (see the map below). Not only is this against regulations but you also won’t be added to the queue. So if there is no room in the staging lot you must leave.
  3. DO NOT pick up passengers directly from the terminal. In November 2018 the rideshare pickup point was moved which we outline below. Picking up a passenger from the terminal will result in a ticket.

Where is the Uber/Lyft waiting area at ABIA?

The waiting area for all rideshare companies at ABIA has recently changed to be on the ground level of the rental car garage. You can follow the signs for “Rental Car Return” or you can use the Google Map below.

For directions, simply click on the blue area in the map below and you’ll be routed to Google Maps.

Again, once you’re in the staging lot you’ll be automatically entered into the queue.

How should Uber and Lyft drivers pick up passengers at ABIA?

Pickups at ABIA have changed as of November 19, 2018 as the airport now requires all passengers to be picked up from the area located on the ground level of the rental car garage. You will need to follow signs that say “rental car garage” once you exit the TNC staging lot in order to find your passengers.

Your passengers will be instructed to meet you at your pick up point.

The pickup point is the purple area of the map below. You can click on the link below for directions.

You should also note that Lyft and Uber have launched their “pre-dispatch” feature at ABIA that basically tells drivers to start heading toward the pickup area before you have actually received a ride request.

A pre-dispatch message looks like this:

If you receive this message, head towards your pick up point but keep an eye on your app as you may not receive a request. I know, that’s annoying, but just drive back to the TNC staging lot and you’ll keep your place in line.

Please also note that Lyft has been turning this off at airports around the country, so this feature may disappear at any time.

How should Uber and Lyft drivers drop off passengers at ABIA?

Dropping off passengers at ABIA is a breeze. Just drop your passenger off at their requested airline and that’s it! Nothing has recently changed and there are no special rules.

One thing to note is that both Uber and Lyft offer some form of a re-match that allows drivers that just dropped off a passenger to immediately pick up a passenger. This doesn’t always happen and if it does, it will be within 2 minutes of your dropoff. So DON’T wait around the airport. That’s an easy way to win yourself a ticket!

When is the best time to drive at ABIA?

As we said at the beginning of this article, ABIA is one of the busiest airports in the southwest as there are thousands of passengers traveling through every single day no matter the season. However, you’re not the only driver that knows that. So there is also usually a ton of drivers at the airport.

So the best time to drive at ABIA is when the ratio of passengers to drivers is at its absolute highest.

To understand when this ratio is highest, check your Gridwise app and compare queue times to passenger arrival times.

There are of course certain times of year that receive more passengers like Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, and the Saturday before big football games (Go Longhorns!), however, the best way to understand rider demand at your airport is with Gridwise.

What is the best strategy to use at ABIA

Pick up a passenger on the way to the airport!

Don’t just be a driver that picks up passengers at the airport! Also pick them up when they are heading to the airport. Gridwise does a great job of telling you when there is also a peak in airport departures, so you can hang around near hotels at that time to maximize your chances of an airport ride.

Do not cancel on a passenger after you’ve accepted a fare

If you do, you will be bumped to the bottom of the queue and your wait starts all over again. The good news is that if it’s a short ride, some companies let you jump back in line after you’ve dropped that passenger off.

Look out for your short ride bump

After waiting for some time at the airport for a passenger, there is nothing worse than getting a ride that’s 5-minutes away. That’s why the major rideshare companies have some form of a short ride bump that allows you to jump back into the front of the line if you get a very short ride request.

To take advantage of a short ride bump, simply complete your short ride and look out for a text message or in-app message that gives you the option to head back to the TNC lot for a preferred spot in the queue.

Always be prepared

You never know when law enforcement will show up, so always keep your driver’s license, insurance card, and registration handy. And don’t forget to have your placard displayed.

Now you should be ready to make that drive to ABIA and actually earn money instead of snacking on candy from Sunoco. I’m not the only one who does that, right?


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