Over the past year and a half or so, I have given hundreds of Uber rides, many of them in the morning on my way to work. This has been an amazing way for me to make money as a side gig because it typically takes very little time out of my schedule and allows me to pick up riders when it is convenient for me. Rather than taking on a second job, Uber allows me to pick up passengers on my way to or from work, making me an extra $10, $20 or $30 per day. Nope…I’m not getting rich off of this, but it covers my gas, car expenses and the occasional lunch out at work. Now, driving Uber on your commute just got easier with the introduction of a new feature.
Most of my experiences driving Uber before or after work consisted of picking someone up, hoping that they would not take me too far out of my way, then be able to drop them off, make a few bucks and still get to work or home on time. About 9 out of 10 times, this has worked out extremely well for me. I live about a five minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and most Uber requests in my neighborhood in the morning are from someone headed that direction. I leave my house about 10 minutes early, scoop someone up, drop them at the airport, then head out the other side to Downtown Phoenix where I work. It’s the perfect way to make some quick money.
However, those rare cases when someone is not headed in the direction that I am going can be problematic. One morning, about 50 minutes before I needed to arrive at work, I picked up a nice young gentleman on my way into the office. When he got into the car, I asked, “where are we headed?” When he answered with “the airport” I did my mental fist pump and started to head on my way. Seconds later, he informed me that we were not headed to the airport that was five minutes away, but to the Mesa Gateway Airport, which was about 35 miles in the other direction. I didn’t want to leave the kid hanging, so I ended up driving to Mesa and dialing into my first meeting from the road. Furthermore, on my drive back from Mesa to Phoenix, I was unable to earn more by giving another ride because I was already late getting to work. These are the few times when my brilliant master plan of driving Uber as a side gig can backfire.
In typical Uber fashion, there was a problem and they solved it. About six months ago, Uber started to roll out a new feature that allows drivers to enter their destination and only receive ride requests from riders who need to be picked up and dropped off on the way to the driver’s destination. Brilliant! To do this, all you have to do as a driver is go online through the Uber partner app, click on the button in the upper left hand corner of the screen and enter your destination. You will then only receive ride requests that are on your way to wherever you are headed.
This makes life so much easier for all of us part-time Uber drivers who pick up riders on our way to work or home. This has given me the confidence to drive far more frequently, knowing that I won’t end up with another late for work debacle as I had in the past, while still making a few extra bucks each day. Way to go, Uber!