Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport can be a absolute gold mine for rideshare drivers. Phoenix’s flagship airport sees more than 43 million passengers traveling through the airport each year and a significant amount of those passengers are going to need rides to their homes and offices.
This means a wealth of opportunity for rideshare drivers like us.
But to be able to make some serious cash as a Uber or Lyft driver at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport you’re going to need to know the ins and outs of the airport and also have a solid airport strategy.
We want you to earn a boatload of money at Sky Harbor, so we’ve put together this instructional guide to help Uber and Lyft drivers be successful when driving PHX.
See the topics covered in this blog post below:
- What do I need to know or do before arriving at Sky Harbor International?
- Do you need any permits to drive at Sky Harbor International?
- Where is the rideshare waiting area at Sky Harbor International?
- What are the passenger pick up rules at Sky Harbor International?
- What are the passenger drop off rules at Sky Harbor International?
- When is the best time to drive at Sky Harbor International?
- What is the best Sky Harbor International driving strategy?
Let’s dive in!
What you need to know/do before you arrive at Sky Harbor International and enter the airport queue
There’s are a quite a few rideshare companies that operate in Phoenix including Uber, Lyft, and totalride which all operate to some capacity at Sky Harbor and employ the FiFo system meaning First in, First Out. Basically, this means that when you are in the designated area as a rideshare driver at Sky Harbor 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 you have to always have your trade dress visible on your car, and it’s especially important at the airport. If you are seen picking up passengers with no trade dress, be prepared to receive a ticket! 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.
Step #2: Know the airport regulations
One of the nice things about PHX 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.
- Always keep one of your rideshare apps on at all times while on airport property
- 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.
- 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.
Step #3: Make sure that you have the necessary airport permits
Many airports require drivers to get special permits or stickers in order to pick up and even drop off passengers.
Luckily, Sky Harbor isn’t one of those airports! No special permits required here!
Where is the Uber/Lyft waiting area at Sky Harbor?
The are a few waiting areas (or staging lots) at Sky Harbor. They are at the following locations:
- Ground Transportation Staging Lot on 2323 E Sky Harbor Circle North (Lot #1 on the map below)
- GPS Staging Lot by the Sky Train Station (Lot #3 on the map below)
- Transportation Hold Lot on Washington and 44th St (Lot #2 on the map below)
- Facilities accessible with key code 7064
For directions, simply click on any of 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 pickup passengers at Phoenix Sky Harbor?
Over the last few years pick ups from Phoenix Sky Harbor have become easier and easier thanks to the rideshare companies working closely with the airport.
Currently, each terminal has a designatd pick up point for all rideshare companies.
- Terminal 2:
- Rideshare pickup zone: Inner curb, past Door 8 at the end of the terminal
- Prearranged pickup zone: Outer curb, past Door 8 at the end of the terminal
- Terminal 3:
- Rideshare pickup zone: Outer curb, outside door 2
- Prearranged pickup zone: Outer curb, outside Door 6
- Terminal 4:
- North rideshare pickup zone: Outer curb, outside Door 1 near the beginning of the terminal
- South rideshare pickup zone: Outer curb, outside Door 8 near the beginning of the terminal
- North prearranged pickup zone: Outer curb, midway through the terminal
The Uber/Lyft app will automatically direct the rider to go to the designated area depending on their terminal.
How should Uber and Lyft drivers drop off passengers at Phoenix Sky Harbor?
Dropping off passengers at Phoenix Sky Harbor is easy as can be. You can simply drop passengers off at their requested terminal and that’s it! No special rules here.
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 Phoenix Sky Harbor?
As we said at the beginning of our guide Phoenix Sky Harbor is one of the busiest in the world and there are tons 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 PHX 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 basketball games (Go Suns!), however, the best way to understand rider demand at your airport is with Gridwise.
You can also use Gridwise airport alerts to remind you when rider demand is increasing. You can simply set up alerts that will remind you when demand at the airport is at a certain level so you don’t need to continuously check.
What is the Best Strategy to use at PHX?
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 PHX and actually earn money instead of snacking on candy from Sunoco. I’m not the only one who does that, right?