Considerations for Choosing Your Rideshare Vehicle

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The vehicle you choose to drive as a rideshare driver can make a world of difference in your day-to-day work. Depending on the rideshare service and the clientele that you choose to work with, your vehicle needs to be tailored to the work. Certain vehicles are better than others in terms of fuel efficiency and profitability. On the other hand, luxury passengers may require larger, spacious cars just for the prestige. There are many reasons why you might have chosen to drive for a transportation network company (TNC), so it’s important to keep certain considerations in mind when choosing your working vehicle.

If You’re Just Getting into the Business

When you’re starting out fresh as a part-time rideshare driver, you have a host of options. You can use your own current personal vehicle, depending on whether or not they are compliant with the regulations for the rideshare company you’re contracted under. To be an UberX driver in most cities, your car needs to be a 4-door vehicle that is at least 2002 or newer in order to qualify (the requirements change from city to city). For Lyft, the requirements are more stringent at 2005 or newer (again, this may vary in other cities). Other restrictions also apply, such as being above the age of 21 and riding with a Lyft mentor to train you on becoming a full-fledged driver.

If you’re looking to commit yourself to driving full-time as a rideshare driver, then perhaps you should consider buying a new vehicle. While any new 4-door vehicle would fulfill your needs, it’s useful to entertain the idea of purchasing a hybrid vehicle. The premier vehicle for rideshare drivers is the Toyota Prius, primarily because of its 51 MPG EPA rating. Other popular hybrid vehicles include the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Toyota Camry hybrid, Volkswagen Jetta hybrid and Subaru XV crosstrek hybrid.

If you’re simply not interested in owning a hybrid car, most of the vehicles listed above are great 4-door sedans without the hybrid sensibilities. Sportiness doesn’t necessarily need to go by the wayside to become a rideshare driver. You could easily pick affordable vehicles like a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla and make great use of them without losing too much on fuel efficiency. It’s really up to you to determine what sort of car you’d like to drive, so find something that works for you and fits your driver personality best.

Not at all interested in owning your own vehicle for rideshare? No worries! Try leasing a vehicle instead. It takes a lot of the maintenance pressure off of you if you can maintain within a set mileage per year. Uber even has their own program for leasing called Xchange Leasing, which works with local dealerships to offer special rates to rideshare drivers (including eliminating the mileage caps).

If You’re Looking to Drive Multiple Passengers

The most important and straightforward consideration, in this case, is that you’ll need a larger vehicle. With UberXL (or alternatively Lyft Plus) your vehicle needs to be able to seat at least 6 passengers, although you don’t necessarily need to fill up all of the seats every time you give a ride.

Whether you’re in a smaller vehicle or in a larger vehicle, be prepared to receive pings from rideshare carpooling if you’re signed up with Uber and/or Lyft. Although you cannot pick up more than 2 passengers at a time, you will likely need to lend your time to rideshare carpooling as time moves forward. Larger vehicles like a Nissan Quest or a Honda Odyssey with more space are prime selections for carpooling services, so be advised and ready to take on many passengers.

Another consideration is that you can choose what types of drives to take if you drive for Uber XL or Uber Plus. That is, you can choose to accept exclusively XL or Plus rides, rather than having to receive pings from UberX or plain Lyft. This gives you better control over your own driving and makes the choice of vehicle that much simpler.

If You’re a Luxury Driver

Only the cream of the crop have the opportunity to drive for UberBlack or Lyft Premier. Not only does your car or SUV have to be pristine, but you also need to maintain a high average rating just to keep the luxury driver status. If your own personal vehicle is a Jaguar, Lexus, BMW, or something similar, then definitely consider providing rides through the luxury service rideshare options. You’ll need sharp black leather interior in the case of UberBlack, so make sure your vehicle and your driving capabilities are up to the standards of your TNC.

If You’re Used To Driving a Taxi

If you’re used to driving a yellow cab, then, by all means, keep it around! There are plenty of professional drivers with CDLs who wish to continue driving the vehicles that they are used to. Rideshare companies like Ztrip and Curb allow you to continue to drive your taxi using an on-demand mobile platform. Technology options for current taxi drivers are out there and vary from city to city. Experiment with a few (including Gridwise) to see what works best for you.

Have any thoughts on rideshare vehicles? Talk to us about them in the comments section

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