Should You Drive in Traffic?

A really common question I get is, “Should you drive during traffic time?” Maybe, okay? That’s what I would say.

This is me controversial. So if you’re a veteran driver, you can disagree with me, that’s fine. And Berenice is going to disagree with me a little bit but that’s okay.

Everyone’s going to do things a little different. Here’s why I’m not a big fan of traffic. So, here’s a scenario. Let’s say you’re waiting around and you get a ride during rush hour and it takes about 10 minutes.

You turn on your app, it takes about, let’s say, 10 minutes to pick up somebody because there’s a lot of different drivers going out. [It] takes you 10 minutes, you go to your passenger, and it takes then [five] minutes to get out, they’re really slow.

You pick them up and you take them and hey, oh, there’s all [that] constructions, there’s all [that] traffic and it’s only a three-mile ride. How much do we get paid? Well, usually around a dollar a mile for most markets.

So, $3 and you go three miles, and maybe that three miles because all those traffic takes about 20, 30 minutes. And then you drop them off and then maybe it takes you to another five or 10 minutes before you get your next passenger. And so, what just happened? Almost an hour has gone by and you have made $4 or $5.

Now, if you are really, really good with your customer service, shameless plug, Six-Star Service, of course, please get it, maybe you’re going to blow them out of the way and they’re going to give you a huge tip.

Often times, I can get a 100% tips, 50% tips and that makes up for that. But usually, it’s a hard gamble. However, what if they wanted to go, you know, 10 miles, 20 miles, maybe that’s worth it.

But again, we don’t know where people are [going]. When I like to drive rush hour is when there’s something like a snowstorm or there’s rain and there’s a lot…and often when it’s something that’s surprising, where people aren’t expecting.

You know there are certain weeks where everyone knows it’s going to be raining all week or some sort of weather issue that’s going to be there. But there are other times where it’s going to be a flash and it comes and a lot of people are caught off guard and immediately, they turn on their apps and [the] SURGE goes up.

Remember, we get paid seven times more per mile versus our time. Okay? So sitting around is not profitable. If you’re a taxi driver you can be paid 65 cents, 85 cents a minute, that’s great. You can sit in traffic, they don’t mind.

But for us, for many of us at St. Paul, 15 cents, that’s usually the case for many cities. Fifteen cents is not a lot and so I don’t want to sit around in traffic, and that’s also really bad for gas mileage. I have a Prius, I can throw in electric mode, no problem for me, but for most of us, that’s not good.

However, if there is a lot of SURGE going on, a lot of prime time and let’s say now it’s three times SURGE, 200% prime time, you know what, that’s not that bad. Now, I’m getting paid a lot more for my minute per mile and then it can be worth it.

So, you have to take…evaluate the risk. Sometimes you’re going to do it and it’s not going to work out well, and other times you’re going to do it and you’re going to make a good $50 an hour.

So you have to weigh the risk, and depending on what kind of driver you are, part-time or full-time, it’s something you have to consider.

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