Should You Accept Long Uber Rides?

What’s up, guys? Today I’ve got a video covering an interesting question: “Should you accept a long trip?” This is actually a topic that I’ve been asked about a few times now, and we even had a little discussion about it over in the video training course. If you haven’t checked out the course, I definitely recommend giving it a shot. 

In the past, accepting long trips was a no-brainer right?

Check out the video to watch my full answer to this question, then read a copy of the transcript below.

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You could make a lot of money from one long trip — Possibly more from one long trip than a bunch of short rides. But these days, with lower rates, it’s not so much of a no-brainer anymore. You can still make good money on long rides, but it’s almost like you don’t want them to be too long. And back in the day there were longer wait times, so you had more down time between rides, and higher fare rates too. So that combination made those long trips super profitable.

Things have changed — Adapt accordingly

These days, things have changed. This industry in general is always changing, so you need to adapt your strategies accordingly. Remember the first thing: As a driver, you always have the right to cancel a trip, end a trip early, or not accept a trip at all. You don’t want to just drop someone off on the side of the freeway if they’re being a total jerk, but situations do come up, and so you always have that right as an independent contractor and a driver for Uber to cancel a trip or refuse to accept it to begin with. Now, if you’re kicking out someone because of their race, or ethnicity, or handicap, or anything like that, then you might run into legal issues. If you start canceling trips and not accepting trips too often, you might run into problems with Uber. But it’s ok if you only do it once in awhile.

How to evaluate longer rides

Let’s say you get a request for a super long ride — An hour plus, or two hours. The things that I usually consider are, first off, is it the beginning or end of your shift? If it’s the beginning or the middle of your shift, it’s really not as big of a deal to get a super long ride, because you’ll get that long ride, go out to some new area, get a bunch of rides out there, and you kind of spread out all the miles that you’re going to have to drive back over a longer period of time. Instead of having to drive an hour out and then drive an hour back, you drive out for an hour, drive around for four or five hours, and then you drive out for an hour back. So you’re really able to spread those unpaid, or what we call deadhead miles, out over a longer period of time. If it’s the end of your shift though — let’s say you need to be back to go to sleep, or see your kids, or go home — that’s where it starts to get a little bit sticky, and it’s really up to you. That’s when you may want to actually consider canceling that trip. Or you can cancel and not charge that rider.

Minimize deadhead miles

I think the way you explain it to your passenger matters. If you legitimately have something to be back for a good reason, I think a lot of passengers would understand. Most rides are in that 10 to 20 minutes range, so when you do get that random long one at a really bad time, I think you always have the right to cancel a trip. You kind of want to consider your deadhead miles — The miles driving back home without a passenger. It’s unpaid time, and those cost you, so it’s really important to minimize those dead miles.

Will you be able to get a ride back home?

Whenever you do a long trip, you always have to think of the probability of getting a ride back home. Unfortunately, it’s usually pretty low. I know I’ve talked to some drivers who’ve kind of figured out a system where they know that if they’re hanging out in a certain area, good chance that they’ll get a ride back headed into their house. But not every driver lives in those natural traffic patterns. I’d say most drivers probably don’t. Whenever I’ve been out driving, and I’m like “I want to get one more ride headed in my direction home.”, it never works, and I always just end up either the same distance away or even further away.

Uber may launch a destination filter to minimize deadhead miles

It’s definitely a struggle. I can understand why this issue is being asked and why it’s coming up. Uber is testing a fair destination filter. Lyft has a destination filter right now, that’s only on Lyft Line rides, and frankly it doesn’t really work that well because there is just not enough matches in the cities where it is. But I am actually pretty excited, and I hope that Uber rolls out this destination filter soon to everyone, because basically what it does is it matches you with riders headed in the same direction, which makes a lot of sense. If you’re an hour away from your home, you have to drive back anyways. I would almost even be willing to do it for less money, too, but hopefully, Uber doesn’t take that idea from me, because I’ll definitely be happy if they install it and still pay me the same amount. That’s kind of a wait-and-see. Hopefully, it’ll be out sooner rather than later.

Hopefully this video helped you with kind of thinking about those longs trips in general, and whether or not you should take them, and helps you understand the cost of operating and profitability in general. If you have any questions, definitely feel free to leave a comment below. Like, comment, and subscribe to the channel. I look forward to hearing from you guys soon! Take care.

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