What’s the Farthest You Should Drive To Pick Up A Passenger?

Hey guys! Today I want to share a video that answers a question I hear all the time: “What’s the farthest distance you should drive to pick up a passenger?” When you’re busy, you might only wait a few minutes between rides, and they are pretty close by. But what about when you’re not busy Maybe you’re in a smaller or mid-sized market and the request volume isn’t very high. Or maybe you’re driving during times when it’s slower. Should you still accept the rides that are far away?

Check out the video we posted to learn more or you can read a copy of the transcript below.

If your estimated time of arrival – ETA –  is 5 to 10 minutes, I’d say to go ahead pick them up. But you may need to reconsider when you start getting into that 10 to 15 minute ETA range, and especially the 15 to 25 minute ETA range that I hear about from Lyft drivers in the smaller to mid-sized markets. In some markets there are a lot of 15 to 25 minute ETA pickups. It becomes a much tougher choice because all of those miles that you have to drive to the passenger are going to be unpaid. You are not going to be paid for driving 25 minutes to go pick up a passenger and if you do a $4 ride once you get there and get paid $2.40, that probably wasn’t worth your time and you may have actually even lost money on that ride.

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You should accept long ETA rides in these three circumstances

There are few things to think about when you’re deciding if you should accept kind longer ETA ride or not. The first thing is if you are try to earn an hourly guarantee. If you are trying to earn a guarantee, you want to accept basically every ride regardless of the ETA because you have to accept a certain number of trips, usually between 80% or 90% of rides, in order to get paid the hourly guarantee.

You also want to make sure that you are going to hit the required number of trips per hour. That is another incentive to accept this ride, and if you are doing something with guarantees, these long ETA pickups may not matter as much to you because you are just going to want to go out and accept every ride.

The other thing to consider is your acceptance rate. You need to maintain around 80% acceptance rate in order to stay active. If you are borderline on that 80%, maybe around 60% or 70%, you won’t get deactivated immediately but you will probably get a bunch of warnings from Uber. You will probably get a bunch of text messages saying your acceptance rate is dipping, and that you need you to turn that around. In this situation, you need to consider that you might have to take some of these longer ETAs if you are struggling with your acceptance rate.

Some drivers will try some crazy stuff to mess with their acceptance rate, like they will go into airplane mode when they get a request in order to avoid it and time it out or turn off their phones, stuff like that. You have to know that Uber is not stupid. They can see that if you are going into airplane mode every time you get a request, they will be able to figure that out and probably deactivate you for it or at least give you a stern warning. Uber will figure these things out.

Drivers think they’re always get around it, and it might work once or twice. But the more you do it, the more of a red flag it’s going to raise. Other drivers have been deactivated in the past for cancelling too many rides after they have already accepted them.

Uber also keeps internal tracking or internal calculation of your cancellation rates. Once you have accepted the ride, Uber tracks the percentage of those rides that you are cancelling. Uber doesn’t want you to do that because it kind of screws up the passenger experience.

If you have a low acceptance rate and don’t want to accept long ETA rides, do this

Let’s say you are worried about your acceptance rate but you don’t want to do these long ETA pickups. You can always accept the ride and ask the passenger to cancel it. If the passenger cancels within five minutes, they won’t be charged a cancellation fee, and there are some cities where there is no cancellation fee at all. For the most part though, almost every city has a cancellation fee and as long as the passenger cancels within that first five minutes after you accept the ride they won’t be charged.

I have called passengers before and let them know, “Hey, I am 20 to 30 minutes away and you can probably get a closer driver by cancelling and trying again.” It’s actually true in many cases too. If the passenger cancels, it won’t count against you as a driver. It won’t affect your acceptance rate, it won’t affect your cancellation rate. Accepting the ride and then asking the passenger to cancel within five minutes is a good tactic. Just explain to them how it works and if they do end up cancelling after five minutes you should still get a payout for it if your city has cancellation fees.

When you do long ETA rides, let the passenger know it may take awhile

If you are going to do a ride with a long ETA, I think it is personally best to call the passenger. Establish a little bit of a relationship, let them know, “Hey, I am 20 minutes away. Is that okay with you? I am going to come but I just want to make sure that you are okay with the long wait.” Then also maybe even mention that you do not get paid for driving all the way out there, kind of make them feel guilty a little bit honestly because that way it’s going to be a lot harder for them to cancel when you are half way out there. You don’t get paid for driving all the way out there. You can let them know and then that way hopefully they will not cancel, and since you’ve made the small connection, hold them a little bit accountable, who knows? You may even get a little tip out of it.

I know some drivers who will actually call the passenger and ask them where they are going if it’s a really far pick up. Personally, I’m not really comfortable with doing that. I would rather just not do the ride. It is a little bit too slimy to ask where they’re going. And I think that is kind of what taxi cabs have got a really bad name for and kind of puts just a bad name in general for Uber drivers.

At the end of the day, you have to consider that this is your business and you need to take the rides that are going to be the most profitable. It may not make sense to do 20 to 30 minute ETA pickups. It’s great for Uber because they get all these unpaid miles off you and then a passenger might go do a $5. For you as a business owner, you really have to think about what’s best for yourself, and kind of balance that. You don’t want to screw over the passenger. You don’t want to screw over Uber. But at the same time, you probably should be compensated for all that extra distance. So that is the thing you really have to take into account.

Think about your passenger’s potential trip based on their pickup location

Personally I think that you should be compensated extra for anything that is a 15 to 30 minute ETA. That makes sense to me, but I don’t really see Uber doing that any time soon. For now you just have to really think about the rides you’re taking, which rides you’re accepting, which rides you are cancelling and all that good stuff.

Think about the pickup location, and thank about the chances of you getting a longer ride when you get there. Hopefully a lot of what I talked about today will help you guys run your business a little smoother, more efficient, and more profitable.

If you have any questions about this, feel free to leave them below, and feel free to like, comment, subscribe. I’ll definitely try to get back to you as soon as I can. All right, take care guys.

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