The Best Times to Drive for Uber and Lyft

driving best times for uber and lyft

Want to know the best time of day to drive for Uber and Lyft? While there’s not exactly a “bad time” it does help to understand how to maximize your potential for the times that will yield you better results.

There’s basically 5 factors that are going to make a big difference in how much you can make in any given shift:

  1. Location: Are you at the airport? Or a college? Or a stadium? Each of these places have their own unique schedules that can influence demand.
  2. Events: Large community and city events can create the need for riders.
  3. Season: Is it winter? Summer? Are college kids in town or out of town? What sports are playing locally?
  4. Driver Demand vs. Rider Supply: Is there a demand for drivers? When the demand is high and wait times are longer, you can take advantage of surge pricing bonuses to earn more while driving.
  5. Clientele: Are you driving around company executives or broke college students? This can make a difference in the types of tips you might receive as well as the distance driving.

Now that we understand these 5 variables, let’s take a look at some of the most popular times to drive.

The Best Times to Drive for Uber and Lyft

To help you easily see the best times to drive for Uber and Lyft, we’ve made a handy convenient infographic. The chart below will show you what times drivers report making the most earnings while driving.

best times to drive for uber infographic

These answers are based on numerous polls of thousands of drivers across the country. Your location may be a little different.

Here’s a Recap of the Best Times to Drive according to the infographic:

  • Weekday Mornings 5am-10am
  • Weekday Evenings 4pm – 11pm
  • Weekend Evenings 7pm – 2am
  • Weekend Daylight: 6am – 5pm

These hours may vary slightly across different locations. For example, some locations report “Thursday being the new Friday” since many college students get a kick start on the weekend with drink specials or other events happening.

In some areas, rush hour may have already started at 5am, so you would do better to begin at 4 am.

You will also likely see a difference if you are in a town where sports are popular. Football games, hockey games, and baseball games can all help increase driver demand, and often take place on weekday nights.

You may also notice trends for the local airport near you, as many flights that bring your ideal passengers fly out on a regular repeating schedule.

The Most Important Key Factors

There is mostly one key factor that results in earning the most money when driving for Uber and Lyft. When you understand this simple concept, it will help make it easier to know exactly when the best times to drive in your city are.

This might sound like common sense, but unless the wheels are turning while you are driving with the app on and a passenger in your car, you aren’t making any money!

You have to have a passenger in your car, and you need to be actually moving. You get paid a higher rate based on mileage than you do based on minute. This can be both good and bad.

This is something to take into consideration if you are planning to be driving during the peak rush hour times. Sitting in traffic with the car idling is not going to give you the same rates as it would be when you’re driving down a freeway going 60 mph.

Unless you’re driving a hybrid car, you’re actually losing more money by sitting in traffic than you might think!

Fortunately, during rush hour times and other busy times, you’ll often find that both Lyft and Uber compensate the drivers by charging the passengers more. The busy times may actually pay more based on this reason. {We’ll talk more about when the rates are increased for Surge and Prime Time pricing in just a bit!}

Humans Are Creatures of Habit: Here’s How to Predict the Best Times to Drive in Your City

While knowing you only get paid while driving is important, the next important thing to know is that people as human beings are very habitual. People almost always do the same things all the time.

They get up the same times of day, they go to bed the same times at night. They go out to shop mostly the same times, and they go out to party or enjoy visiting friends all around the same times each day.

Knowing the habits of the people where you live is very useful! This helps make it very predictable in knowing the best times to drive.

Here’s the typical routine most people follow:

Morning Rush: Most people go to work in the mornings. If they rather not deal with driving through traffic and finding parking themselves, using Uber or Lyft as a way to get to work actually makes a lot of sense. You don’t have to pay a parking garage or car insurance or gas, and as long as the distance isn’t too far it’s a good way to know they have reliable transportation!

Mid-Day Run-Around: Some people also need to run around a bit mid-day – the lunch time hours between 11am – 2pm. This is a very slow time for most drivers, but since there are not a lot of drivers out and about this time, you do have a chance to pick up some good opportunities.

On the Way Back Home: Once people leave work between the hours of 4pm-6pm, they may need a ride home.

Out for Adventure: Many people leave to go out a short time after they go home. For this reason, the shifts of 7pm – 10pm are generally pretty good as well – even on weekday evenings, especially if there are weekday evening events happening.

Why Weekends Are Popular Times to Drive

Weekends make a lot of sense to be the best times to drive. There are a lot more people out and about, and your city may even have more people in it than it normally would due to special events that might be happening.

Here’s some examples of when people will be out and about during the weekend:

Out of Town Visitors: Let’s say you have a group of friends traveling into your city for the weekend. They probably don’t want all the hassle and expense of renting a car. Maybe friends are visiting their friends on different college campuses.

The Bar Scene: The nightlife and going out to favorite bars is another big reason people love to hire someone else to drive. The big advantage of course to using rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft is you don’t have to worry about if you’re going to have a good time. This allows them to drink responsibly without driving themselves, and that’s quite important!

Time to Explore: You also have a lot of people who may live in the city but don’t usually drive around much. On the weekends, they may have some free time and decide to do fun things. They may not want to take the bus, but they have places they need to get to on the other side of town. As a driver, you’re the perfect solution for them!

Sporting Venues: Sporting events often also happen most frequently on the weekends – whether a Sunday afternoon football game or the local college’s basketball team.

Special Events: Many cities also have special events that are happening each and every weekend. These events can be a great source of new potential riders who are coming in from the surrounding areas who do not want to deal with the headaches of parking and navigating their way around the city.

All of these events and circumstances can play an important role in whether or not you will earn money. Especially once you factor in things like weather, road work and changing traffic patterns!

Should You Drive During Peak Rush Hour Times?

rush hour traffic can cause higher fares

Since you don’t make very much while sitting in traffic, many drivers avoid the rush hour times on Weekdays. It can vary from city to city, but for most places this means between 7am-10am and from 3pm – 7pm.

If the best times for you to drive are during rush hour times however, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world.

Here’s how you can maximize your earnings on weekdays during rush hour times.

Know The Best Route:

Being savvy on your cities best routes and ways to save time without speeding or driving recklessly can be a huge help.

You’ll also notice that while certain routes are always jammed up, there are often a lot of different options and ways to get around town.

Choose Areas Where the Commute = More Mileage:

If I were to drive in rush hour in my own city, I would choose to stick around busy hubs like the bus terminal or the airport or certain surrounding neighborhoods where my ideal rider client would be.

This isn’t true for all cities {some cities the airport shifts may not actually be that great!} – but it is definitely something to think about.

Plan for The Business Clientele

This time of day is when you’ll be driving most likely business clients. This is important to consider, because the business market generally will tip generously, especially if their ride is being expensed for their job.

You should also be sure you maintain a level of professionalism while driving – this isn’t your casual group of hungover college students who request to turn up the radio!

How to Capitalize During Surge and Prime Time Pricing Times

The busiest and most popular times are when you will find a higher paying rate. Since there is more demand for drivers than drivers, you’ll find that both Uber and Lyft pay more during these peak times when the demand is high.

surge prime time rates for drivers

During these peak times, Uber and Lyft charge the customer more, which results in you earning a higher paying rate.

Let’s say a normal fare for the passenger is $5. If it’s a prime time or surge time of day, you’ll see the payout much higher, because instead of paying $5, the rider now pays a percentage more.

When the surge pricing is in effect typically will be during busy events and weekend nights. However, there is no guarantee that surge pricing is going to be in effect, so it’s best to usually not expect it.

When you are using your driver apps for either Lyft or Uber, you’ll often see the “hot zones” mapped out for you, so you can be a little more ready to be in the right place at the right time for optimal surge pricing driving rides.

More Great Tips 

There are a lot of things you can do that will help you earn more while you are driving for uber and to make sure the best times really are the best!

Tip#1: Don’t Multi-task:

Many drivers think that while they wait in between rides that they can sit and read a book or study for classes or do pretty much anything else while they wait in a parking spot to get notified.

Unfortunately, when you do this, your attention is not focused. If you’re a current multi-tasker while driving, challenge yourself to stay in “driving mode” to make the most of the shifts you decide to pick up.

Tip #2: Maximize Your Strategy for Making Money as a Driver

There are all sorts of ways you can maximize your potential for profits. For example, you can invest in a simple book like Rideshare Code that helps you learn the secrets of making the best profits driving for uber.

Tip #3: Look for other opportunities to make money while driving

You’re not limited to only making money from the charge your passengers pay. Why not consider partnering with local small businesses to advertise in your car? It works for buses and traditional taxis, so there’s no harm in trying it for your own vehicle. While you’d have to be a pretty regular driver {working at least 15-20 hours per week} to make it worthwhile for businesses, it could be quite lucrative!

Tip #4: Drive With an Abundance Mindset

This might sound a little “woo-woo” but when you expect good results, good results happen. If you think you’re going to not make any money, you’re probably right. You have to be ready to allow money to flow into your life with the right opportunities – and when you have that mindset you’ll find the universe will always take good care of you!


What Do You Think are the Best Times Are for Driving for Uber and Lyft?

Naturally, choosing the best time to drive also has to come down to what works for your own personal schedule and your own lifestyle. It’s nice to have the flexibility to be able to drive on your schedule – and you can make it work around any type of need to make the most money when driving.

Share Your Thoughts: If you’ve been driving for Lyft or Uber for awhile now, we want to hear about your experiences! When do you find the best times to drive for Uber or Lyft to be? Share your comments and tips to help other drivers in the comments section below!