[Update!] Peak Rideshare Driving Times in DC

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I found out the hard way that the time of day that you’re driving for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft can be the difference between making $30 per hour, and heading home having made $40 from a 5-hour shift. I want to make sure that none of my fellow DC rideshare drivers go through the agony (yes agony) of an unprofitable driving session, so I’ve listed out the best times to drive rideshare in DC.

Weekdays (Monday – Wednesday)

The morning rush (6 am – 10 am)

The D.C. metro system is possibly the cleanest mass transit system in America, and those sparkling benches come in handy when the infamous Red Line has been delayed 30 minutes. Again. Because of how unreliable, and expensive, the DC metro is, commuters often turn to rideshare partners to provide transportation to work. There are tons of riders who regularly ride Uber or Lyft to get to work, however, there are many riders that rely on rideshare services when their train has been delayed. Follow twitter accounts like @wmata, @Metrorailinfo, and my personal favorite @unsuckdcmetro for key alerts about metro service. When you see tweets like these: pasted image 0   pasted image 0 1   pasted image 0 3   Go ahead and gravitate toward those areas. Many commuters from places like Silver Spring, Bethesda, and the Virginia Suburbs are going to be looking for rides into the downtown area. If you live in these areas, it is worth it to stick around and try to find a ride into the city. Otherwise, your best bet is to stay in areas of the city like DuPont Circle, Adams Morgan, and Georgetown to find students and workers getting to work. Monday’s and Tuesday’s are also busy days for business travelers, so use your Gridwise app to identify the best times to hit which airports to maximize your earnings.

The afternoon rush hour (3-6)

The afternoon rush hour is similar to the morning rush hour because the bulk of the rider demand stems from riders who are leaving work. The great thing about this rush hour is that these commuters tend to be more centrally located in areas like McPherson, NoMa, and Downtown, so if you hang near those areas you’re likely to find a rider trying to get home. Always be on the lookout for weather alerts as bad weather almost always causes train delays and many riders will forgo even attempting to ride the Metro in the rain.
Free Bonus: To get instant weather and traffic alerts tailored to D.C. rideshare drivers download the FREE Gridwise app here.

Late night (10 – 3)

The late night hours early in the week rarely end up having much rider demand. That doesn’t mean you should completely give up on this block of time. You’ll just need to be strategic! Check your Gridwise app for events going on around town. The Kennedy Center, Verizon Center, and Lincoln Theater will all regularly have significant sized events that you should keep an eye on.     Also, be sure to check the airport schedule. Business travelers often come in on Monday nights and will need rides from the airport to their hotels.

Weekends (Thursday – Saturday)

The morning rush (6 am – 10 am)

Expect the morning rush hours to be just as lucrative on Thursday and Friday in DC as they are Monday – Wednesday as these are still peak hours for Lyft and Uber demand. You can also look for business travelers to be heading home from some of the downtown hotels Friday morning, so check the airport departure schedules.     Rider demand on Saturday mornings is usually very low unless you’re taking advantage of an event. Otherwise, sleep in and prepare for the late night rush.

The afternoon rush hour (3-6)

Tourists are plentiful on Saturday’s in D.C., especially around the downtown area where many hotels are and near the monuments. These locations can be your bread and butter on most Saturday afternoons, but watch your alerts for any parades that are going on. You don’t want to get stuck trying to cross parade traffic. Also be mindful of Nationals Park near Navy Yard. Saturday games have the potential for 100’s of rides.

Late night (10 – 3)

For the weekend driver, late night rides are where you will make the bulk of your money. D.C. is full of young transplants and students that flock to places like Adams Morgan, DuPont Circle, and H Street to hit the bar and club scenes. Students coming from Georgetown and Foggy Bottom will make up a large bulk of your rides, so when school is in session hang near those neighborhoods early in the night around 9:00 o’clock and catch a ride into the more popular bar neighborhoods. From there, you’ll likely be able to give bar goers rides as they cross town going from bar to bar or party to party. The Verizon center while often have Saturday night events as well, however, keep an eye on your Gridwise app to monitor traffic. You don’t want to get stuck in gridlock traffic picking up a ride at the Verizon center when there are plenty of rides in other parts of town.

Sunday

The morning rush (6 am – 10 am)

While Saturday night is usually a frenzy of activity, Sunday morning is going to be downright boring for Uber drivers on most days. You may find a few folks heading back from clubs, parties, or bars but for the most part, you’ll see a heavy drop in rider demand. Take this time to sleep in!

The afternoon rush hour (1-6)

There is a mini afternoon rush hour caused by one of D.C.’s most popular pastimes. Brunch! Local’s will frequent the common bar areas to find the best bottomless mimosa deals, which means they’ll be looking for safe rides to and from restaurants. You won’t see the same amount of activity as a Saturday night unless there is a big event going on, but if you stick to popular areas like DuPont Circle you won’t have a problem finding a rider.

Late night (10 – 3)

Sunday nights in D.C. are relatively slow. You’ll find that business travelers often come into or leave out of the city on Sunday evenings, so check your flight schedules using the Gridwise app. Gravitating toward the downtown area where popular business hotels are located will commonly yield you a ride to one of D.C.’s airports. With any luck, you’ll arrive at a peak airport time and can catch a ride back into the city. Also, check for events going on at the Kennedy Center and local theaters. Always plan before you drive! There are a few times where you can count on a ton of rider demand as long as you drive in popular areas. During slower hours it’s important to be strategic and have a plan before you get out on the road. Use apps like Gridwise to help you understand what’s going on in your city and develop a solid driving plan in just a few minutes. Now, what’s your favorite time to drive in D.C.? Share in the comments below! Download Gridwise
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