Uber’s new destination feature or a destination filter has been out now for a little while now, and I finally got some chance to try it out. I want to talk about what it is, and share my personal experience using it. I used the destination filter in an attempt to get paid to drive home, which is how a lot of you guys are using it too.
Check out the video, then read the transcript below!
What is the Uber destination filter?
If you guys aren’t familiar with the feature, it allows you to set a specific destination on the Uber driver app, and then you only get rides headed in that direction. I think they should call it more of a direction filter, because what it really does is it gives you ride headed in that general direction. So, for example, I was in Pasadena, which is northeast of the core area of LA and I was trying to get back to Long Beach, so sort of southwest. I set my destination as Long Beach and ideally you would get a ride, one single ride, like one long UberX or UberPOOL ride. And if you are an hour away, you get one ride there. But it doesn’t quite work like that.
I signed on to the Uber driver app at 2 p.m., and at 2 p.m in Pasadena. I set my destination for home in Long Beach. The drive would’ve normally taken about 50 minutes to cover the 30 miles or so. You can imagine that you’re at the end of your shift and you want to drive home, and 30 miles/50 minutes is obviously a lot of unpaid time, right? That could cost you anywhere from like 10 to 15 bucks in expenses or whatever it might be depending on your car. If you can get a paid ride headed in that direction already, obviously that’s a big benefit to you.
A few POOL rides got me started toward my destination
The first few rides I got were actually on UberPOOL. I got one over in Alhambra, and kinda what I started noticing and figuring out that these rides weren’t exactly headed towards Long Beach, they were sort of headed more in the general direction. You’re not going to go completely the wrong way, more in the general direction.
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I got a $6 UberPOOL ride, waited, then I got another $7 UberPOOL ride. They weren’t super short UberPOOL rides, but I was getting rides headed in the general direction of my destination. I was a little bit worried with this destination feature because you can imagine that now you only get rides headed in your direction that might mean that your volume, request volume might get cut into half or may be even less because now you’re not getting requests from all the people that are headed the other direction.
I was a little worried about waiting, but I was getting plenty of rides and never really waiting more than two to three minutes. I had a couple of UberPOOL rides, but I wasn’t really making much headway back to Long Beach. Then I finally got a nice 25 minute \ UberX ride. And so that I think ended up being like a $15 or $17 net to me as a driver and I basically, went all the way from Alhambra to Lynwood, which is about halfway home to Long Beach. Then I got another UberPOOL ride.
You can only set the filter twice per day
I’m really curious to hear how people are using the destination feature. The most obvious way is to use it to commute into the city if you live outside the city. You’re allowed to use the filter two times a day, and if you don’t get a ride you can reset the destination without it counting toward your 2/day. But as soon as you get a ride after you set your destination, that now counts as one time.
Back to my experience using it. I got half of the way home and I sort of got stuck. After three UberPOOLs and one UberX, I sort of got stuck in this triangle between Compton, Gardena, and Torrance. It’s not really a high request volume area, and I was sitting there for 5, 10 minutes, and I eventually just started heading back to Long Beach with the app on. I didn’t get any request because I was in this area where request volume is pretty low. The destination feature requires lots of request coming in, so if there aren’t many coming in, it doesn’t work.
How much did I earn on my way home?
I ended up working for about two hours and got halfway home on a trip that would normally have taken around 50 minutes. In that two hours I did three UberPOOL rides and one UberX ride, and my total net was $30. So $15 an hour, which is not great but not bad for a Sunday afternoon just flipping on the app.
I worked for two hours and then drove on my own for half an hour. Since it was gonna take me an hour to drive home anyways, it was really like I only worked an hour and half. I’m hoping that I’m not gonna mess up the math here: Of those two and a half hours, it would’ve normally taken me an hour anyways, so really I worked only for an hour and half. And in that hour and half, I made $30, so that’s $20 an hour.
If you think about it like that, that’s where the really cool parts about the destination feature started to come in, because you can really make more money and really increase your net hourly rate. In the past, at the end of the night you’re waiting and waiting hoping for that ride in the direction of your house, and then it never comes, or you get ride and it’s a wrong direction. The destination feature is here to help that.
That’s my initial experience. I’m gonna be testing it out a lot more. This was my first big experiment where I tried to do more than an hour or two. Because typically when I drive I just turn the app on and I’m lucky that I don’t need to go drive an hour in to the city or drive an hour back. Typically I work locally and get plenty of rides.
What is your experience with the destination filter?
I’m curious to hear your experience. Let me know in the comments. And if you guys have any questions for me, definitely let me know. The destination feature isn’t available everywhere. I think by now it’s available in almost every major city. If you’re outside the suburbs it may not be available, and if you’re in a smaller city, it may not be available, but I do think it’s probably coming to everyone sooner rather than later. So hopefully you guys enjoyed this video and this live video actually, and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
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