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The Absolute Best Times to Drive for Uber and Uber Eats

Last updated: August 30, 2021
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surge map showing a visual of the best times to drive for uber

Driving for Uber, whether as a driver for ridesharing or the company’s food delivery service, is a decent gig.

In a good month, your monthly earnings can surpass what some full-time job employees earn in two months.

The question now is, when are the best times to drive an Uber?

And it’s a question with a simple answer: when the fares are high.

Here, we’ll explain the best times to drive for Uber — whether as rideshare drivers or Uber Eats delivery.

We’ll also discuss the different factors that can affect Uber’s peak hours.

Keep reading if you want to make extra money as an Uber rider!

Things to Know Before Diving In

First off, Uber cost can differ by time, since prices it fares dynamically.

You can take passengers to the airport at a particular time, and the fare will be $20.

The fare may be double the price at another time — from the same place to the airport.

If you work full-time as an Uber driver, you have probably experienced the scenario above.

It’s a situation known as Surge Pricing.

For passengers, ordering for rideshare drivers or delivery services during surge pricing is not beneficial.

But as a driver on the Uber or Uber Eats app, those are the best times to work.

1. Finding Busy Times Is the Key

The primary factor that affects surge pricing is high demand.

When the demand for ridesharing drivers or food delivery is high, the prices will increase on the Uber app.

What you need to do is to find the times where passengers will need a rider urgently.

If you drive for Uber as a full-time job, your experience will come with an understanding of busy times.

We can’t particularly give you a specific time or day when surge prices will be in play.

But, we can tell you that it depends on your location and the time of day.

For example, if you work near an airport, Uber’s ridesharing service may be busy early in the day, say around 5 am.

Since many riders will be trying to catch morning flights, there may be a surge.

Depending on the area, the early hours of the morning may be a busy time.

Drunk people who club into the wee hours of the morning may cause a surge.

Identifying the busy times can make you more money.

  • One, the fares will be higher.
  • Secondly, you’ll get many more orders within the same timeframe.

When the demand for ridesharing drivers or food delivery is high, the prices will increase on the Uber app. Identifying busy times can make you more money.

2. Busy Times Differ by Service

Although Uber ridesharing and Uber Eats belong to the same company, they are different, operating as their own entities within a broader range of Uber services.

Since you’ll be catering to different customer needs, it’s unlikely that both services can have the same busy times.

For instance, Uber Eats riders may experience surges during lunch hours thanks to hungry employees who are too busy to go out for a bite.

But for Uber’s ridesharing service, lunch hours may not be the best time.

During closing hours, the demand for Uber ridesharing drivers may increase in comparison with Uber Eats.

In a nutshell, the best times to drive for Uber depend on the service.

Uber’s services experience different times of high demand. You can take advantage of different busy times on different services.

3. Promotions Offered by Uber Can Impact Earnings

From time to time, Uber runs promotions to get more customers to use the app.

It’s basic human psychology to want more for less.

If Uber offers a 20% discount on rides, you’ll have more people ordering for rides for the duration of the promo.

The same applies to promotional activities on Uber Eats.

A discount in delivery rates will also lead to an increase in demand from consumers.

For example, let’s assume there’s a 30% discount on delivery for all food orders between 2 pm and 3 pm on Thursdays.

For an Uber Eats rider, this period will be the peak time to operate.

Uber Peak Hours

Guesswork won’t help you determine the best times to drive for Uber.

But with data from Uber, you can identify peak hours and make more money while driving for Uber.

surge map showing a visual of the best times to drive for uber

What Are Uber Peak Hours?

Uber peak hours are the best times for your earnings as an Uber driver.

At this time, you have the potential to add extra money to your total profits due to surge pricing.

Based on our daily activities, you can already guess when the peak hours on Uber will be.

Since most employees go out every day to their jobs, the demand is higher in the morning.

Similarly, the requests for ridesharing will increase during closing hours.

Peak Hours for Ridesharing

According to data from Uber, the peak hours during the week are in the morning.

Specifically, the data notes that you should target the hours between 7 am and 9 am.

Usually, most organizations resume work between 8 am and 9 am.

It means working-class people will order Uber rides to get to work early.

There’s always the evening rush hour when the employees have finished with their respective gigs.

The peak hours of the evening rush are between 5 pm and 8 pm.

If you offer ridesharing service as an Uber driver, you can decide to work between these times.

Start working by 6 am, take a break at mid-day and get ready for the evening rush.

If you follow this timeline, it’ll be easier for you to get orders, and if you’re lucky, you’ll enjoy surge pricing.

On weekends, most people are free to move from place to place without time limitations.

The bulk of your orders will come from people looking to frequent clubs, bars, restaurants.

According to data from Uber, the peak hours during the week are in the morning and evenings. Specifically, the data notes that you should target the hours between 7 am and 9 am and the evening rush between 5 pm and 8pm.

Peak Hours for Food Delivery

If you’re driving for Uber Eats food delivery, you don’t need to start working early in the morning.

Most people will prefer to take coffee, tea, or other beverages earlier in the morning.

You may get a few orders for Uber eats, but you’ll likely get caught up in the rush hour traffic.

So when are the peak hours for Uber’s food delivery service?

Data to the rescue again!

According to Uber, the best times to drive for Uber Eats are during lunch and dinner hours.

For lunch, you should get ready to work between the hours of 11 am and 2 pm.

Between these hours, people who have put in a shift since morning will start to feel hunger pangs.

Consequently, there’ll be an increased demand for food delivery.

For dinner, you should consider working between the hours of 5:30 pm and 9 pm.

Sometimes, you may get food orders till 9:30 pm. At this time, Uber Eats orders will come from people who have been too busy to eat since morning.

Likewise, you’ll get food delivery orders from families at home.

The demand for food delivery usually coincides with busy times for ridesharing in the evening.

Therefore, you should expect to deal with rush hour traffic.

During weekends, the peak hours for food delivery do not necessarily change.

Most people will try to whip up something for breakfast and order in for lunch or dinner.

According to Uber, the best times to drive for Uber Eats are during lunch and dinner hours. For lunch, you should get ready to work between the hours of 11 am and 2 pm and for dinner between 5:30 pm and 9:00 pm.

How to find Uber Peak Hours

Working for Uber during peak hours will increase your profit margin.

Here’s how you can identify these peak times.

1. Research Uber’s Information

Information is power when it comes to making money.

And if you want to make money on Uber, the best place to get info is the company’s website or social media channels.

Earlier, we explored the impact of promotions and discounts on the demand for Uber’s services.

If you regularly research Uber’s information, you’ll be aware of these promotions.

By doing so, you can anticipate a peak in demand and take full advantage of it.

2. Check Out Driver Communities like Reddit

A community of like-minded persons sharing tips and personal experiences is always a treasure trove of actionable information.

Reddit communities for Uber drivers like yourself are a good idea.

You can ask questions about peak hours, and you’ll get answers from other drivers who know what works.

You can juxtapose this info with your preferred schedule to discover the best times to drive for Uber.

3. Monitor the Uber Driver App

Another smart way to discover peak hours is to check the Uber driver app.

If you monitor the Uber app closely, you’ll notice upturns in pricing and demand.

Perhaps there’s a large event in town.

If there’s surge pricing due to this event, your app is a reliable way to get this information.

3. Check out Gridwise

Gridwise is an application that helps to discover the best times to drive for Uber.

The goal of the team at Gridwise is to help you increase your earnings as a ridesharing driver.

We do this by providing tips and information about the best time for you to drive.

Recently, we launched a “When to Drive Feature” on the application.

This feature gives you accurate information on the prime times for you to drive.

As long as you’re a Gridwise user, you can access the new “When to Drive” feature.

But you need to become a Gridwise plus member to use the feature.

You can download the app and find out more here.

The Best Times to Drive for Uber Ridesharing

We’ve identified several times and places that are almost guaranteed to lead to higher fares for you as a driver.

Of course, it’s impossible to generalize for all cities and market conditions, so you should always talk to other drivers in your city to get advice on the best driving times and places.

The following list, however, is a great place to start.

vector image of a car driving and money coming out the back to demonstrate how much do uber drivers make

1. Large Events

If a popular concert, fair, or event is happening, there’ll be many attendees.

Whenever these events come up, there are likely to be many more people ordering for rides.

A smart time to work will be before the show starts and immediately after the event.

There’ll be higher demand at this period and possibly surge pricing. For an Uber ridesharing driver, that’s Christmas.

Sporting Events

Sporting events will tend to trigger surge pricing, especially when they end.

A large number of people has to leave the area, and whether that means they’re heading home or to a bar to continue the celebration of victory (or drown the sorrows of defeat), you can earn some serious money if you’re the driver waiting to pick them up.

Of course, you should be smart about which sporting events you choose.

A minor league baseball game on a weeknight isn’t going to be as profitable as a Sunday NFL game, for instance.

In certain markets, college football games can also be fruitful to hang around (especially in the Southern U.S.).

And, of course, you should be aware of any special sporting events happening in your city.

Whether you’re a sports fan or not, it’s worth being aware of the events going on to boost your earnings.

Other Special Events

You don’t have to limit yourself to holidays and sporting events.

Depending on your city, there are lots of other events that could make for higher than average fares.

Does your city have some sort of special parade to mark a local holiday?

That could be a good chance to pick up some surge fares.

Is there a big conference at the local convention center?

Being around when that conference lets out for the day could help you get lots of rides from people who are ready to go out to dinner or back to their hotel.

It pays to follow the news.

Any kind of special event that concentrates large numbers of people into one area and ends at a defined time is going to mean there’s a chance of a surge occurring.

2. Work Commutes

These are times that some new drivers overlook, but they can be worth your time for a couple of reasons.

The first is that demand is higher during these times as people commute into or out of the city.

This means a chance of higher fares.

The other reason is one of practicality for many drivers.

If you drive for Uber as a side gig, then driving during the evening or morning rush hours can make lots of sense for you.

You can get a few rides in on your way to or home from work.

Of course, you need to carefully plan this so that you’re not late getting to work or coming home to feed your pets.

3. Airport Rides

People will always need to use airports.

Thanks to the high parking fees, most people are reluctant to park their cars at the airport.

Therefore, they’ll prefer to get to the airport via ridesharing services.

Usually, airports routes are extremely busy at these periods:

Early Mornings

Early morning is between 4 am to 7 am.

At this time, you’ll get orders from people looking to catch early flights.

Similarly, people who have just landed are likely to need ridesharing services.

Late at Night

Many people prefer to schedule late-night departures for longer flights to get to their destination during the day.

You can work between 9 pm and 12 midnight to cater to this select group.

4. Weekends

While holidays and special events can mean higher fares, you don’t have to wait around for those few times a year in order to maximize your earnings.

Driving on Friday and Saturday nights can help you boost your earnings on a more regular basis.

The main thing is to decide what kind of rides you want to capture during this time.

If you hang out downtown earlier in the evening, you’ll likely get lots of UberPOOL rides as people hop from one bar to the next.

There’s nothing wrong with these trips, but they won’t earn as much as larger fares that come when people are getting from the suburbs into downtown.

You’ll have to experiment with where is best to hang out to get the higher fare weekend rides, but it can often be worth it to move a bit further out of the city to start the evening.

You’ll not only get higher fares overall, but you’ll likely have less competition from other drivers (since the supply of drivers tends to highest in dense, downtown areas).

Early mornings on Saturday and Sunday can also be incredibly lucrative if done properly.

When the Bars Close

People will take Uber out to the bars and clubs earlier in the evening, and they’ll almost certainly get one going back home after the bars close.

This is a case where you need to be aware of your city’s local laws surrounding drinking establishments.

In some cities, the bars close as early as 2:00 a.m., while in others the party continues to 3:00 or 4:00 a.m.

In cities like New Orleans or Las Vegas, some bars never close, which means you’ll need to be more strategic about where you operate.

In general, however, being around popular nightlife districts when the bars stop serving for the night will help you get higher fares.

All those people have to get home somehow, and they’re usually not in a state to be picky about the price for doing so.

5. Bad Weather

When bad weather strikes, it pushes people who might otherwise have walked or biked to take an Uber.

It doesn’t have to be extreme weather, either. Something as harmless as an afternoon rain shower in the summer or an early morning drizzle in the fall can be enough to increase the demand for Uber rides (and raise the fares accordingly).

Bad weather is especially powerful at creating surges since it often strikes suddenly and without warning.

For these same reasons, however, it can be a bit tricky to plan when to drive based on the weather.

Sure, you can consult weather forecasts, but those aren’t always reliable.

Basing when you drive on a 20 percent chance of rain probably isn’t the best move.

If there’s a high chance of thunderstorms, however, then it’s likely a good chance to get higher fares.

Just use common sense and never drive in conditions that would endanger you or your passengers. It’s not worth the risk.

6. Holidays

Driving on holidays can mean lots of extra earnings…or a huge waste of time.

It all depends on the holiday you choose.

Christmas Day, for instance, is unlikely to bring lots of demand.

People are generally at home, and the few that do venture out will likely just drive themselves.

The same is true of Thanksgiving.

New Year’s Eve, on the other hand, can be one of the most profitable nights to drive.

Fares have surged in the past to infamous levels.

While Uber passengers complained, many did pay the higher fares, leading to some drivers earning more in one trip than they would in an average week.

The key when deciding if a holiday is worth driving to earn extra money is to think about how people tend to celebrate that holiday.

If it’s one where people go out to bars or parties such as New Year’s Eve, Independence Day, and Halloween, then it’s probably a good time to drive.

Otherwise, you might be better off staying home and enjoying a day off.

The Best Days to Deliver for Uber Eats

We eat food every day!

Therefore, every day of the week is a good day to deliver for Uber Eats.

The Best Times to Drive for Uber Eats

While working days are great for Uber Eats drivers, the best way to maximize your earning potential is by pinpointing which hours offer a higher earning potential.

According to Uber Eats

The best time during the week is 11 am to 2 pm for lunch and 5-9:30 pm for dinner.

Any time works for weekends!

According to Drivers

The experienced drivers believe between 10:30 am and 3 pm are the peak hours for lunch.

In contrast, 6-10 pm works best for dinner.

Best Times to Drive for Uber by City

Uber operates in many cities across 69 countries.

In the United States, due to demographic differences, each city has its peak hours.

Let’s take a look at some of them:

1. Best Times to Drive for Uber in Chicago

The best time to drive for Uber in Chicago is between 5 am to 10 am from Monday to Sunday.

From 3 pm to 6 pm, you have the afternoon rush hour.

Late-night movements between 12 midnight and 3 am also work.

2. Best Times to Drive for Uber in Atlanta

In Atlanta, you can work from 6-9 am or 4-8 pm.

The weekend is always busy, and you have a nightlife rush option between 11 pm and 3 am.

3. Best Times to Drive for Uber in Phoenix

In Phoenix, you can work between 7 and 10 am.

If you prefer to make the best of the evening rush, 4-7 pm is another timeline to target.

Weekends are busy as usual, with a late-night option between 11 pm and 4:30 am.

4. Best Times to Drive for Uber in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, you can drive from 5:30-10 am or 4-8 pm during the weekdays.

5. Best Times to Drive for Uber in New York City

In New York City, the best time to drive for Uber on weekday mornings is from 4-9:30 am.

For weekday evenings, 4-10 pm will do.

Weekends are always busy, and if you will, there’s always a constant late hour rush all through the night.

6. Best Times to Drive for Uber in Miami

In Miami, you can drive every day in the morning between 6 and 9:30 am.

In the evening, 4:30-8 pm are the standard peak hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have some concerns, let us set your mind at ease.

Here are our answers to some of the most common questions!

Do Uber Drivers Get Paid More at Night?

If there’s a nighttime event in town and surge pricing, you’ll get higher fares.

Because there’s less traffic at night, you can get your rides to their destination faster.

Therefore, you can complete more rides and make more money.

Otherwise, nighttime fares are not too different from that of daytime rides.

Does Uber Eats Pay More on Weekdays?

Uber Eats pricing is the same during the week and weekends.

But there may be more surges during the week.

Is Sunday a Busy Day for Uber Eats?

Sunday is a busy day for Uber Eats, especially if there’s a game on that day.

Wrapping Up

Driving for Uber and Uber Eats offers high revenue potential if you know the best times.

We hope you now have a better understanding of the best times to drive for Uber.

Capturing surge prices is a big part of the equation, but you can’t rely on the Uber app to chase increased fares around the map.

Instead, it’s best to understand the best times and places for higher fares.

This will come with experience (and experimentation), but the advice in this article will give you a strong start.

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