As a rideshare driver in the San Jose area, you cannot forget about San Jose International airport. No matter what you do, you’re going to end up at SJC either picking up or dropping off a passenger.
That’s because there are over 13.5 million passengers traveling through the airport, and many of them will need rides from rideshare drivers. This means a ton of opportunity for smart rideshare drivers to make money IF you know what you’re doing.
To maximize your earnings as a rideshare driver at San Jose International you’re going to need to understand the ins and outs of the airport, understand how to navigate the airport, and develop a solid airport strategy.
At Gridwise, we want to make sure that you are maximizing your earnings no matter where you drive, so the Gridwise team and I have put together this instructional guide to help Uber and Lyft drivers be successful when driving SJC.
See the topics covered in this blog post below:
- What do I need to know or do before arriving at San Jose International Airport (SJC)?
- Do you need any permits to drive at San Jose International Airport (SJC)?
- Where is the rideshare waiting area at San Jose International Airport (SJC)?
- What are the passenger pick up rules at San Jose International Airport (SJC)?
- What are the passenger drop off rules at San Jose International Airport (SJC)?
- When is the best time to drive at San Jose International Airport (SJC)?
- What is the best San Jose International Airport (SJC) driving strategy?
What do I need to do before I arrive at San Jose International Airport (SJC) and enter the airport queue?
Step #1: Get your trade dress
Every rideshare driver needs to have a the sticker or decal of Uber, Lyft, or whatever rideshare company that you drive with. This goes double for picking up passengers at the airport because if you’re seen picking up a passenger with no trade dress then thre is a high likely hood that you’ll 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
It’s not unusual for airports to require rideshare drivers to have a specific airport decal or permit to drive there, luckily San Jose International Airport is not one of them. You do however need to follow 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.
- Abide by the terminal and parking lot speed limit of 20 MPH
- Keep the staging lot clean! Don’t do any maintenance on your car here or dump trash on the ground
- Be prepared to show your waybill. You can access it through your Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare app.
- All independent contractor working in San Jose must register and hold a tax registration certificate. You can contact the City of San Jose Office of Finance for more info.
Where is the Uber/Lyft waiting area at San Jose International Airport (SJC)?
All rideshare at SJC are required to wait in one staging lot that is located right in between the Bayshore (101) and Guadalupe (87) freeways.
Drivers are not allowed to wait in commercial parking lots for airport requests.
Click the blue area of the map for directions to the lot.
Once you get the staging lot you’ll automatically be entered into the airport queue. It will be up to you to find a spot to wait.
How should Uber and Lyft drivers pick up passengers at San Jose International Airport (SJC)?
Pickups at SJC are pretty easy.
There are two pick up points for the two terminals at SJC.
The pick up area for Terminal A is right where the old taxi pick up spot used to be. Just stay to the left of the island and move through baggage claim.
The pickup area for Terminal B is just past baggage claim at stop 9.
See the pink area in the map below for directions.
Also, please note that Lyft has launched their “pre-dispatch” feature at San Jose International Airport that basically tells drivers to start heading toward the pickup area before you have actually received a ride request.
A pre-dispatch message looks like this:
If you receive this message, head towards your pick up point but keep an eye on your app as you may not receive a request. I know, that’s annoying, but just drive back to the TNC staging lot and you’ll keep your place in line.
Please also note that Lyft has been turning this off at airports around the country, so this feature may disappear at any time.
How should Uber and Lyft drivers drop off passengers at San Jose International Airport (SJC)?
Dropping off passengers at SJC is easy. You can simply drop passengers off at their requested terminal outside of ticketing.
When is the best time to drive at San Jose International Airport (SJC)?
There isn’t a time of year when San Jose Airport isn’t busy and a absolute gold mine for rideshare drivers in the San Jose.
But… you aren’t the only driver that knows how many passengers are traveling through SJC. So you will see many drivers in the airport queue at SJC regularly.
So the best time to work at SJU 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.
Now, there are certainly different holidays and events that drive more passengers like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and big sporting events. But on a day to day basis, you just need to track passenger demand and driver supply with a tool like Gridwise.
What airport strategy to use at San Jose International Airport (SJC)?
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 SJC and actually earn money instead of sitting in your car for hours, on hours, and hours!