Using Destination Filters

Destination Filters – What are They?

Sam says that destination filters could easily be described as “direction” filters.  That’s a good description actually, because they can help set you in whatever direction you want to go.  They’re pretty good at that.  They’re not so good at actually getting you to a particular destination though.  So maybe they are a little mis-named!

In the video, Sam shows on his Uber app that he’s in Minneapolis but he wants to get to Little Canada, which is northeast of where he is.

You can set the destination filter on that town and Uber and Lyft both will (theoretically) only give you trips from passengers who are headed in that general direction.  They will not necessarily give you trips that get you all the way there.

When Should You Use Destination Filters?

A lot of drivers use destination filters to game the system.  They use them to try to get some kind of advantage, like longer trips.  And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. However, in the end they really work best when used for their intended purpose.

Their intended purpose was to help drivers in the mornings, get from their homes to the central business district where most of the business is – with a passenger in the car.  And likewise, to help drivers get home at the end of their working day.

Let’s say you live 45 minutes away from where you’re working one night and you want to call it quits at midnight.  So around 10:30 or so, you set a destination filter to your home area.  Hopefully, Uber and Lyft will be able to give you one or several trips that will take you in that direction.  So, by the time midnight rolls around, instead of being 45 minutes away as you were earlier, you’ll maybe only be 15 minutes away.

Without a destination filter in that case, you could be sitting 45 minutes away from home and two hours before you want to be home, you get a call that takes you one hour in the exact opposite direction!  Now instead of being 45 minutes away from home, you’re almost two hours from home!  So, that’s what destination filters were originally created for and that’s really what they still work best for.

However, if you want to use them to try to get an advantage or get more profitable trips than usual, you can use them for that too.  It’s a little risky though – which I’ll explain in more detail in a minute.

How Destination Filters Can Help at Tax Time!

Now, who would have thought you could use the destination filters for a tax advantage!?  This is an awesome insight that Sam shows us!  Basically, the idea is for every mile you drive you can deduct roughly $0.55 from your taxable income at the end of the year.  So, the more miles you drive while you’re online and willing and able to take calls – the more dollars you can deduct from your income that you report to Uncle Sam.

So, Sam suggests that you use the destination filters to get more online miles under your belt while probably not actually having to take a call.  Let’s say you need to be somewhere in the middle of the day and this place you need to be is in a direction that you know hardly anyone is traveling to at that time.  Take the app that is least busy – more than likely Lyft – set its destination filter for the location you’re going to and start driving.  Every mile you drive with the app on is a mile you can deduct from your income at the end of the year.  And the chances of getting a passenger are slim to none – meaning you can get to your destination on time!  If you do get a call though, of course you should take it.  But more than likely you won’t.  Yet all these miles will be deductible for you.

What are the Drawbacks to Using Destination Filters?

Sometimes they work well and sometimes they don’t work well at all!  You may every now and then get a trip that actually gets you most of the way to your desired destination.  But most times you won’t.  And sometimes you’ll get trips that end up being nothing but annoying wastes of time.

For instance, let’s say you set the destination on your local airport.  And let’s say that from where you’re starting you have to get on some highway to get there.  And to get on that highway, you have to take the road you’re on to another road where you’ll make a left hand turn.  Sometimes the destination filters will cause you to get a trip from someone who is going to that road where you need to turn left – that will eventually lead to the highway you done to get on!

Drivers try to strategize and make these filters work to their advantage, but it doesn’t always help.  For instance, when I’m working on Manhattan, I’ll sometimes set the destination filter to somewhere far out in New Jersey.  The hope is that I’ll get a passenger going to New Jersey – because these trips are always long and pay a lot more than local Manhattan trips.

To get to New Jersey from where I am in Manhattan, I’ll need to take one of two tunnels, either the Lincoln Tunnel or the Holland Tunnel.  So I’ll get a call from a passenger near where I am in midtown.  Midtown is closest to the Lincoln Tunnel.  But this passenger happens to be going downtown near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel.  So, Uber and Lyft decide – yeah, that’s in his direction because he has to go through either of these two tunnels to get to New Jersey – so we’ll give him that trip.

Once I drop the passenger off – the filter will keep running.  My next call may be from somebody who’s going now from downtown, back up to midtown.  Uber and Lyft will think that will then put me near the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel so they consider that to be “on the way” to my destination!

While they’re thinking they’re sending me in the direction of my destination – and while technically they are – in reality I’m just bouncing back and forth from one way to get there to another and I’m not getting a mile closer to the actual destination.

Lost Opportunities

And while they’re wasting my time bouncing me back and forth on $8 trips between two possible ways to get to my destination, there is no telling how many better calls I may have missed that were going in other directions.

I may set my filter to New Jersey because I know New Jersey trips are very profitable.  But trips to Long Island from Manhattan are very profitable too.  But Long Island is in the exact opposite direction from New Jersey.  So, if I have the filter set to New Jersey, I’m going to miss any and all trips to Long Island.  I’ll also miss any and all trips to Westchester County – another profitable destination, north of the city.

The Best Strategy

I’ve found through long hard experience that the best way to use the destination filters is when you’re in a location at a certain time of day where you know for sure there are a lot of people going in a certain direction and that trips in that direction are generally profitable.

For instance, if you get out early in the mornings in a business-class suburb that’s a good distance from the airport – you can bet there will be some business travelers going from there at that time – to the airport.  So, set the filter on the airport and park yourself in one of the upscale neighborhoods.  In a situation like that, you’ll actually have a good chance of making the destination filter work well for you.

But you have to know your local area well.  You have to know that there is a general trend of people in that area early in the mornings to head either for the airport or the central business district (that hopefully is also far away)!

If you’re in an area, though, at a certain time when people are going in all kinds of directions, then it wouldn’t be smart to use the destination filter.  That’s because you’ll likely miss a lot of good trips going in other directions.  You will limit yourself to only trips going in one direction.  Only do that when you know the trips going in other directions aren’t going as good as the trips that are going in your desired direction.  `

Video Transcription:

Destination filters. What are they? When should you use them? How do you use them? And how can you use them to maximize your tax refund?

All right. There’s a lot of information in this and this is super exciting. I actually re-recorded this video because some new information has just come out that I want to share with you.

Now, destination filter can also be reworded as something called a, you know, maybe directional filter. So, let’s say we’re in Minneapolis but you live in Little Canada. Let’s just say Little Canada because that’s a fun place, Little Canada.

And you want to go to Little Canada and in the next couple hours. Right now it’s 5:15 p.m., for some reason the phone says 9:41 p.m. always. But, we needed to get to Little Canada by 7:00 p.m.

Now, something that Uber has added is they’ve increased their amount of trips you can do this with. Now, it’s kind of confusing because I’m kind of throwing you right [in] this but in the past, they give you a limitation to how many rides you can take using this filter, okay?

Now it’s up to six, which is great. Lyft is unlimited. Now, you can also add an arrival time. So, let’s say by 7:00 p.m. you want to be in Little Canada. Or, let’s say even 6:30 p.m. and you also want to be in…so, we’re gonna put Little Canada. Little Canada.

So, what’s going to happen is it’s going to put you online and every ride that is not towards Little Canada will now be vetted, okay? I want to be there by 6:30 p.m., so it’s going to focus on only rides that are going to be within that time frame.

They’re not going to give me a ride that’s going to take me all the way far out and it’s going to be really, really long. So, it’s going to be shorter rides, which is this really, really nice helpful thing because let’s say you only had a certain amount of time budget and you want to be home to be with your kids or so forth and it’s working within your time zones, okay?

So, let me clarify this more. Directional filter, meaning that it’s not going to be a ride over to here, to Terminal One to Lindbergh into the airport. It’s going to [include] only rides [that are] towards Little Canada.

However, that may mean that you have to go [back] a little just for a few miles maybe to pick someone up than to drive all the way over to Little Canada. So, this is a really, really helpful thing especially if you’re trying to go back to a hot spot and you want to make sure you’re not going to get any rides that are going to push you away.

But it’s also helpful if you are trying to end your shift and go home and you want to catch maybe a couple rides so you don’t have any dead miles.

So, let me give you an example. Let’s say you get a ride all the way out to Chaska, which is very far. And all the action is downtown, which that’s typically true for most markets, but you want to make sure you get some miles back. You want to get paid.

You don’t want to just drop someone off at Chaska and not get any rides back. And so, instead of keeping your app on and perhaps getting a ride over to Waconia or maybe take you out to Louisville. Well, there’s a Louisville, Minnesota. What in the world that doesn’t make sense, okay.

What it does is you’re saying I will only take rides towards here. And so let’s say…but what’s going to be most the case you’re not going to get a ride all the way back to Minneapolis. Often, you’re going to get a ride maybe from Chaska to Shakopee, and then maybe Shakopee over to Minnetonka.

Minnetonka to St. Louis Park and you can eventually if you have it long enough and you have the patience at the time to make your way back to where you want to go. Really, really helpful.

Now, I turn this off. Let’s go to Lyft. Lyft has a similar thing. [Go to the] top right, set, set a destination. Let’s use Little Canada just to be consistent. It’s around here.

Set destination and then boom, it’s showing only those places. So, I talked about what a destination filters, how to use it but also want to talk to you about a tax-deductible option. So, let’s say…I’m going to turn it off because I don’t want to reject anyone. Let’s go back to Uber just to show it.

Let’s say you are going to somewhere during the week where there’s less traffic, fewer opportunities. I’m going to give you a personal example.

I play basketball over here in Shoreview, okay, up here. I live down here. Not a lot of people go all the way up here especially in the middle of the day because basketball is during noon time. I will often set my destination filter over to Shoreview knowing that I’m not going to get a ride. I’m going to pick the less busy app from your market and for mine, it’s Lyft, not by much but in most markets it’s going to be Lyft and I’m going to set that destination over to Shoreview.

And knowing that I’m probably not going to get a ride and what that’s going to give me the opportunity is I’m going to tax deduct every one of those miles. I’m going to keep my…I’m going to turn on my MileIQ or Stride Drive and I’m going to deduct those.

But, let’s say I get a ride. I will take them and I will make sure I budget enough time so that I can actually pick up people, which is a really good thing. Now I don’t have to think about that anymore unless I can actually set these little timers right here, okay?

Which is really, really a blessing. So, that is a destination filter. Use it to your benefit. It is a great opportunity. Use it multiple times, maybe even in the morning.

Here’s an advanced strategy in the morning. You can set destination filters to the airports and it won’t work perfectly but it will heighten your chance to maybe you’ll pick up one just to go to the airport so, you know, those are going to be more profitable and have a lot of great opportunities there.

So, that’s the destination filter. Hope you learned something. Hopefully, this was helpful. Utilize this to maximize your time and your income.

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