Last month we released our first bi-annual rideshare driver income report which gave drivers the most accurate look yet of how much their fellow drivers were making per hour, and many of you thought it was pretty awesome.
But! We realized that we needed to provide even more insights to help drivers understand not just how much their fellow drivers are making, but HOW their fellow drivers are making what they are so you can learn what’s working best.
So over the next few months we’ll be taking a data-driven look at the best times and places to work as a rideshare driver, and we’re starting by tackling one of the most popular times to drive, rush hour.
In this report we’re going to learn how much drivers are making during rush hour, how it compares to non-rush hour time, where drivers are moving during rush hour, and where you should avoid.
Let’s dive in!
4 Takeaways from this report
Drivers make about $18 per hour during Rush Hour…
The Gridwise team analyzed anonymized data that rideshare drivers log on Gridwise from January 2018 – August 2018, and through that time, drivers made on average $18.01 during the afternoon rush hour of 4:00pm – 7:00pm local time. These figures did vary from month to month as you’ll see below.
Which is slightly less than drivers are making otherwise
The million dollar question that we wanted to answer is did drivers actually make more while driving during rush hour, and the answer is… not really. In fact, on average rideshare drivers made slightly less per hour during rush hour than they otherwise would have.
Friday Rush Hours are the worst
Unsurprisingly, Fridays appear to be the worst day for traffic as a rideshare driver as we observed drivers traveling at the lowest speeds on Fridays.
Downtown areas are gridlocked
Also unsurprisingly, we can see that downtown areas are are the most congested for drivers, and also tend to have the most drivers during rush hour.
Drivers make about $18 per hour during Rush Hour…
Across D.C., Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Chicago, drivers on average made $18.01 per hour when driving between 4:00pm and 7:00pm, the afternoon rush hour. However, when you take a closer look you can see that earnings can vary widely depending on the month.
Drivers are actually making slightly less during rush hour…. Depending on the month
Many drivers out there will swear by the rush hour and claim that this is the time to be driving as there are more passengers looking for rides, but we also know that there are more drivers on the road. That’s why we weren’t surprised to learn that even though there are indeed more passengers, rideshare drivers on average make LESS during rush hour than outside of rush hour.
The below graph shows rush hour earnings, vs average earnings for every other time period during the day.
As you can see, results vary widely by city and by month. In every city except Chicago we saw rideshare drivers earn more outside of rush hour than during rush hour.
Friday Rush Hours are the worst
One thing that we did expect to see was a nasty rush hour commute on Fridays, and that’s what we got. We looked at the average speed of drivers during each day of the week from January 2018 – August 2018 to see what patterns we could find, and the one that stuck out was how much slower drivers during rush hour were moving on Fridays.
While drivers on Monday drove over 30 miles per hour on average, drivers on Friday were doing just 28 miles per hour on average, and had many more 5-second stops. We believe that means on Fridays, drivers are running into more traffic.
Even during the Rush Hour it pays to use multiple services
With more passengers on the road, we thought that it would not make a difference if you drove for one vs two TNC’s during the rush hour, because there would be enough passengers that a driver would not have much downtime if any. But our data tells a different story.
It appears that drivers that actively use more than one TNC across all markets still make more money, indicating that even during the busy rush hour some drivers are still having to wait for rides and benefit from having two apps on at once.
Downtowns are gridlocked
Going into this report, we also knew that in each city that we analyzed, downtown areas would be congested. Whether that be the loop in Chicago or DuPont Circle in D.C., we knew business centers would be busy, and that’s again what our data shows.
Below, we have maps of Chicago, D.C., Baltimore, and Pittsburgh that shows what areas are most, and least, congested during rush hour.
Washington D.C Congestion Map
These graphics represent the speed of drivers in a given area during rush hour where red represents slower speeds and blue represents fast.
In D.C., areas like DuPont Circle and Capitol hill are a deep red indicating drivers are moving slow and stopping more. We can also use this map to see where most drivers are working. In D.C. during Rush hour, Capitol Hill and downtown in D.C. is heavily frequented while places like Northern Virginia have less traffic and fewer drivers.
Baltimore Rideshare Congestion Map
In Baltimore, we also see darker reds downtown indicating drivers are moving slowly. Note that while there is a ton of activity downtown, there is less traffic and less driver competition on the outskirts of the city.
Pittsburgh Rideshare Congestion Map
In Pittsburgh, we again see dark reds indicating slow speeds and a lot of drivers. However, areas like Southside and Oakland tend to have higher speeds and less drivers.
Chicago Rideshare Congestion Map
In Chicago, we see that the loop, West Loop, River North, and Gold Coast areas are hotbeds during the Rush hour. Not only does this mean that drivers are moving slowly, but there are A LOT of drivers around these locations.
Drivers: Take Action
Now that we know how much the average driver is making and have an idea as to why, we can look at how drivers can stay ahead of the curve.
Don’t be afraid to miss rush hour
If there is anything that we learned from this data it’s that driving during rush hour isn’t really that important or that profitable for drivers. Even in a city like Chicago where drivers for the most part did make more when working during the rush hour, they didn’t make much more and on average, across all cities, drivers seem to only make a small amount more per hour.
So not only should drivers not worry about missing rush hour, they should actively seek out other times to drive as it will be easier to get away from other drivers and find passengers.
Consider getting out of downtown during rush hour
If you are driving during rush hour, consider getting out of the congested downtown areas of your city. It can be tempting to try and focus on driving in the busy commuter areas, but you’re not the only one with that idea so you’ll have loads of competition from other drivers and taxi’s along with a ton of commuter traffic.
Think outside the box and search for other areas to drive that will allow you more open road, less competition, and less of a wait to find passengers. Always consider events, airports when appropriate, schools, and even the right suburbs.
Continue to use multiple TNC’s
If you’re driving during the rush hour and are someone who drives for two transportation companies like Uber + Lyft or Lyft + Via, continue to use two apps. With the increased competition in many areas of the city, it will pay to have more than one way to get a passenger.
Via has a $2000 guarantee for DC drivers if you sign up through this link.
Lyft is offering the highest per trip reward for completing only 10 trips through this link.
Items for our next report
In our next report, we’ll be looking at how drivers are faring during late night shifts on the weekends to understand if that’s really the best and most profitable time to drive, and if so, where drivers should focus their energy in their city.
Now we’re curious, are you seeing earnings in line with these various reports? What do you think is the biggest factor in your earnings success? Let us know in the comments below!