Possibly the most underutilized tool at a rideshare drivers disposal is the destination filter.
This isn’t to say that drivers aren’t using the feature at all, many just aren’t taking full advantage of all of that a destination filter can help you with.
The Gridwise team has been hanging out at airports in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and D.C. over the last few weeks, so drivers have been schooling me on how they are using destination filters to maximize their earnings.
These D.C. drivers taught me a few things last fall
They gave me the OK to spill the beans on their secrets to success, but let’s first dive into what exactly destination filters are and how they work.
How the Destination Filter Works
Destination filters are easy to understand. You simply set a desired location, and Uber or Lyft will do their best to give you a ride headed in that general direction. It doesn’t take you exactly where you want to go, but it SHOULD give you a ride headed in that general direction.
There are a few slight differences between Uber and Lyft’s offerings.
How Lyft’s Destination Mode Works
Lyft calls their destination feature “Destination mode” and according to Lyft, when Destination Mode is activated, you’ll only receive requests from passengers that get you closer to your destination. You may not always be closer in terms of miles, but you will be closer to your destination in terms of travel time to your destination.
What Lyft appears to do is map what route you would be using to go to your destination, and gives you rides that take you along that route. This means that sometimes you could get a passenger that moves you slightly away from your destination IF the route that you would otherwise take to that destination calls for that.
This is an important distinction to keep in mind.
Lyft also allows you to use destination filters six times per day.
How Uber’s Destination Filters Work
Uber’s destination filter feature works similarly to Lyft, except it is less tied to the route that you would take to get to that destination. Meaning, Uber tries its best to get you to that area, unlike Lyft which tries its best to get you on your route. I suspect this is because Uber tends to have more volume and you’re more likely to find a rider headed toward your location.
Uber gives you two destination filters per day.
When to use Destination Filters
The original thought behind Uber creating these destination filters seems to be for drivers that are headed home and want to get that last ride. That’s an obvious and extremely useful use case, but savvy drivers have found more and more interesting and profitable times to use destination filters.
When Driving Back to Civilization
If you’re usually a city driver, I’m sure there have been times when you have been taken out into the suburbs and have gotten the feeling you’re in the middle of nowhere. Well, usually you have two options in this situation. You can head back to a more populated area, or hangout in the suburbs driving around to see if you can grab a few rides.
A few drivers we spoke with during our Chicago trip earlier this year had different ideas, however.
Coffe and donuts with Chicago drivers… it’s a bit cold
Instead of just heading directly back to the city, they checked Gridwise to see if there were any events going on in the suburbs, and then checked to see what the airport queue was.
If the airport was about to peak for departures, they would set a destination filter to head to the airport.
Being out in the suburbs a few hours before a departure peak means that passengers are likely to be headed toward the airport which means a nice long airport trip. What’s even better is when there is also an arrival peak, meaning many passengers are coming into the airport.
There isn’t always an airport peak, however, which is why drivers also check to see if any big events are going on in the suburbs.
If nothing is going on in the suburbs, drivers will simply check and see what events are going on in the city and set their destination there.
“One of my favorite moves is to set my destination to the CIBC theatre when I’m out in the suburbs in the evenings because a ton of people are headed to see Hamilton.” said Reggie, a Chicago rideshare driver “I get into the city with a passenger easily.”
Head Toward Hotels Before Peak
I love this move.
You all know that you can check Gridwise and understand when passengers are arriving at the airport and when they should be departing, which means we can understand when people at hotels are most likely leaving to head to the airport.
What some drivers are doing is setting their destination to busy hotel areas about 2.5 hours before a departure peak which is when passengers are most likely headed to the airport. From there, they’re reporting getting rides to the airport when they hangout here the majority of the time.
This is a great way to ensure a long trip to an airport.
This can also be expanded on if there is an arrival peak around the departure peak. That way you can get a long ride to the airport, and back.
Head Toward the Airport Before an Arrival Peak
Speaking of being at the airport for an arrival peak, you can always set your destination for the airport where ever you are if you see an arrival peak that you want to take advantage of.
Moving Away From Traffic
Not only is it boring, but it makes you less profitable as a driver because speed is a major factor in your overall profitability. You see, drivers get paid more by the mile than the minute, so the faster you can pick up rides, drop them off, and get to the next one, the more money you make.
That’s why trips per hour is such an important stat for rideshare drivers.
Drivers are using destination filters to make sure they don’t get stuck in traffic by setting their destination away from known heavy traffic areas, or areas they get traffic alerts from Gridwise about.
Getting Back Downtown During Rush Hour
Some cities like Chicago, D.C., and Pittsburgh have VERY profitable rush hours for rideshare drivers. Between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm business districts are hotbeds for rides and surges, however, you have to make sure that you are able to stay around the business district in order to reap the benefits.
So many rideshare drivers are heading to these business districts, getting rides away from them, and then using destination filters to get back to these business districts. They are using Lyft’s filters as there are significantly more of them to do this.
This is a great tactic that can keep a driver busy for an afternoon while using 3 or 4 destination filters.
How Are You Using Filters?
These are just a few interesting ways we’ve seen drivers use destination filters, but now I want to hear from you. How are you using destination filters? Let us know in the comments below? Your fellow drivers thank you!