Companies like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized urban mobility and are valued at billions. But is it worthwhile to become a ride-on driver? It can certainly help you increase your income, and it can be a great summer side job. In this article we will explain the requirements for the most important services, how to start and how to count the miles. Let's get started!
What is Carpool and how does it work?
Carpooling, sometimes referred to as hail rides, agree by definition, joint trips at short notice. However, the main difference between, say, Uber and a taxi is that the passenger at the former has to specify his pick-up location and destination before taking a ride. You will then receive a quote for your trip. Payments are usually made directly through the app and drivers can provide anonymous feedback to the drivers. All of these factors, combined with affordability, make traveling extremely enjoyable. Nevertheless, most services such as Uber and Lyft focus on the metropolises. They are found in big cities and medium-sized cities, but very rarely in rural areas or small towns.
Things are not that easy on the driver's side. In the wake of Uber, many lawmakers have been slow to push ahead with the regulation of the new carpool despite their explosive growth. This, in turn, created controversy and turmoil among taxi drivers around the world who felt that their business was under threat. In many countries, cities and federal states are due to the backlash meanwhile strong rides or services such as Uber were completely banned. Before you can become a driver, you must familiarize yourself with local laws and driver requirements. Having a car, a driver's license and a cell phone is the start, but it's far from everything you need in many places.
Prohibitions and Restrictions on Carpooling
Although carpooling is a global industry, Uber has not made it Conquer the whole world, even though you are the pioneer who started it all. There are some markets that have not yet tried to enter, and others that have withdrawn. Uber was partially or completely closed in some places. For example, there has been a lot of trouble in Europe. Although it has overcome one of its biggest hurdles and is currently available again in London, it still has problems in Germany and in areas of Central and Eastern Europe. Due to changes in legislation and criticism, Uber has withdrawn from these areas or was wholly or partially exiled from these (as of 18.06.2019):
- Bulgaria – withdrawn from criticism
- Hungary – suspended operation after the law blocks the ride had passed
- Denmark – withdrawn after requirements for compulsory driving knives and seat occupancy sensors were introduced
- Germany – only selected services in Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt with restrictions
- Vancouver, Canada – all rides prohibited  Oregon , USA – partially banned, with the exception of Portland and Central Oregon.
- Northern Territory, Australia – withdrawn after imposition of royalties.
You can not find Uber in China, Southeast Asia or Russia for a variety of reasons. There, Uber decided to leave the market to acquire shares in competing companies such as DiDi in China, Tomb in Southeast Asia, and so on. Nevertheless, the company continues to be very strongly represented in North and South America as well as in other regions. The full list of cities where Uber operates can be found here.
Lyft, on the other hand, has grown more slowly and currently operates only in the US and Canada. In contrast to her main competitor, she has also managed to avoid major controversy. It does not work in Vancouver as all ridesharing apps are banned. However, it is available almost everywhere in the US and Canada. The full list of locations can be found here.
Driver Requirements and First Steps
So, if you live in an area that offers ride sharing, what requirements do you have to fulfill as a driver? It turned out that you do not even need a car in some areas! Uber offers vehicle solutions in many countries, including the US. Regardless of which ride-sharing service you choose, you will need a valid driver's license and a clean driver's license (no major accidents or DUIs). They must be over 21 years old in most cities. The following section describes the general requirements for the two largest ride-sharing apps – Uber and Lyft – in the US. It also mentions some notable differences that you may encounter in other regions.
If you want to be an Uber driver in the US, you must meet the following minimum requirements:
- Have a valid US driver's license.
- Meet the minimum age requirements of the driver in the city of your choice.
- At least one year of driving experience in the US or at least 3 years if you are younger than 23 years old.
- No criminal record.
Your car must also meet certain requirements in order to qualify as eligible.
- Must Be 4 Years Old
- Should not be older than 10 or 15 years in most cities.
- Must be insured and registered.
- Must have a clean title (not recovered or reconstructed).
- Should not be damaged – have no cracks windshields, dents, etc.
- Can not rent a vehicle, unless it comes from an authorized Uber partner.
- Taxi signage or commercial branding is not allowed.
If you meet these requirements and qualify as an Uber driver, you will also need to upload the following documents upon registration: your driver's license, proof of residence in your city or state, proof of car insurance, and a passport photograph can be used as a driver profile. You should also keep in mind that you will be subject to background checks. If approved, your car will also need to pass a basic vehicle test, including brakes, tires, seat belts, etc. This is pretty much the standard procedure in each region.
In many parts of Europe, you must do so Apply for a taxi driver's license or similar. For example, in Prague, Czech Republic, you must have a taxi driver's card, sometimes referred to as a yellow card. To obtain it, you must take a topography test and enter your car in the taxi vehicle register. In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, you need to apply for a private rental license (vehicle registration), which means that you will be subject to another series of background checks and probably a medical examination. New York City is similar: You need a commercial license from the NYC TLC (Taxi and Limousine Commission) and a commercially licensed vehicle to be an Uber driver. As of April 2019, there is also a waiting list for driving in New York City.
Tip: Although driving in your city is legal, airports may require additional clearance to pick up and drop customers.
We therefore recommend that you carefully read the driver requirements for your city. You can do this by visiting this page on the official website of Uber. Make sure the information for your location is displayed by scrolling down to see the current language and city on the Uber logo page.
Finally, you should know that Uber ranks drivers as independent contractors and not as employees. This means that you have to register as such in your country of residence. This can be another lengthy and lengthy process depending on where you live. If you are not deterred by these facts and have your documents ready, signing up is easy. We recommend doing this via your desktop browser instead of using the Uber Driver app, as this can be more convenient when uploading documents. Just follow the instructions on the screen.
Once this is done and you have been approved, this hands-on video explains everything you need to know to start as a driver:
Lyft  As I mentioned earlier Lyft currently only operates in the US and Canada, which reduces the differences between driver requirements but does not exist. Here are the basics that you must cover in every American city:
- Be 21 years or older
- Have at least one year to have a valid US license
- Proof of insurance and car inspection
- Online DMV and background check pass
- Fulfill your city's vehicle age
- Have at least four doors and at least 5 seats, including the driver, in your vehicle
The documents you need to submit along with your application are pretty extensively the same as Uber's: driver's license Driver's license, license plate and insurance, and in most cities a vehicle registration form. The New York license requirement also applies to Lyft drivers, and there is another waiting list. For this reason, we recommend that you review the specific requirements for your city and state that you can perform here. Once you've covered everything, all you have to do is submit your application through the Lyft website and wait for approval.
Lyft does not distinguish itself from other important carpools in another way – it classifies drivers as independent contractors. In some states like California, there are legislative proposals that would make drivers into employees, but the carpool seems to oppose them at the moment. If that does not bother you, or if you've already received your approval, all you need to do is download the Lyft Driver app and start accepting rides. It works much the same way as the Uber app, which lets you go online and take trips when you like it, view your earnings, view scheduled trips, and much more.
Potential revenue as a ride-along driver
Let's be honest – being a ride-along driver will not make you a millionaire, but you can still make a good profit. At Uber, you must first be familiar with the wealth of services offered and know if you qualify for them. The default and the one most drivers choose is UberX. It offers trips for one to four people and is designed to be fast and efficient. If you have a larger car that can accommodate up to six people and / or their luggage, you may also be an UberXL driver. This service usually has higher fares, but may include frequent trips to airports, which means you may need additional approval. With Uber Eats you can even deliver food.
For passengers wishing to indulge in selected cities, there are a variety of upscale and luxurious options – via Lux, Uber Black and Black SUV. They all sound like attractive options if you want to be an entrepreneur with a ride, as their basic fares can be up to three or four times higher. However, the vehicle and driver requirements are also expensive: For most luxury Uber services you need a car from 2014, a business registration and insurance and an airport permit.
 But let's talk about numbers – Uber drivers generally earn around $ 25 an hour, according to the Carpool. However, these figures contradict self-reported data. A Ridester survey from 2018 found that the average net income of UberX drivers (including tips) is only $ 14.73 per hour. Combined with the fact that over 25% of each tariff is used and hidden costs such as maintenance incurred, this is hardly an ideal full-time job. There are cities where you can earn considerably more, like New York City and San Francisco (more than $ 20 an hour), but the cost of living there is also higher.
What about Lyft? There are no different levels and services here. Lyft cuts each fare by 20% plus the total booking fee, but surprisingly drivers report higher revenue. The aforementioned Ridester survey found that the average income of Lyft drivers is $ 17.50 per hour. But what remains true is that neither Uber nor Lyft have odds – you can drive as much or as little as you want. This makes them ideal, flexible sidelines – ideal if you are in college or working on personal projects. The best part? You do not have to decide. You can sign in as a driver for both apps. This will double your chance of getting quick driving requests.
Do More with Uber and Lyft
So, is it possible to do more with Uber or Lyft or both without overworking yourself? There are some tips and tricks that can definitely help you. First things first – neither Uber nor Lyft charges for gratuities. This can increase your income if you are able to get regular tips. Therefore, the usual: Be polite and be punctual. Speaking the language is also a must. If you are trying to supplement your income while studying abroad but are not fluent, this may not be the best idea. Communication is an integral part of your job. So use your phone and always make sure you have a charger handy. If your phone crashes while navigating and you get lost, you will not get a tip.
Apart from that, these are our main pros and cons for Uber and Lyft drivers:
- Get to know the area in which you drive – they will be shortcuts, busy spots with potential passengers, etc . Find.
- Drive during peak hours if you can – you can double or triple the usual rate.
- Drive Friday and Saturday evenings when many want to drive home from the club or pub.
- Read the mood – if your passenger is not very talkative, do not try to engage them in conversation. This increases your chance of getting a tip.
- Open the Uber Driver App on your phone to see where other drivers are and position yourself optimally.
- Take advantage of Lyft's target mode if you're driving home for today You can only pick up passengers who are on your route.
- Check at the beginning of the day for scheduled Lyft collections.
- Ask for honest over reviews. After being rated by a passenger, the app will ask you to tip. If they had a pleasant ride, they are very likely to do so.
- Do not drive aimlessly around at the beginning of the day looking for a ride. Wait at least 10-15 minutes for a call in your driveway or drive to an area that you know is currently busy.
- Do not invest in a new car to boost the business miles you drive every day.
- Do not accept cash payments from passengers (unless it's a tip). It's illegal and there are known scams with people who pay with fake bills.
- Although it's obvious – do not be rude. If you are in a terrible mood, it may be better to stay home all day than get a lot of bad reviews.
- Do not buy a lot of extras like sweets, water etc. and give it out for free. It can help you get some tips, but it's an extra expense that does not necessarily increase your profits. Try a snack box service like Cargo instead.
Disadvantages of a passenger
No work is without disadvantages. As mentioned above, one of the main problems with carpooling is that drivers are generally considered independent contractors. Although this allows flexibility, it also entails many responsibilities. You have to pay your own legal deductions including taxes. The health insurance is not covered by the carpool. You can deduct expenses such as gasoline, car maintenance and repair costs, but the payment must still be made from your pocket.
Job security is also not guaranteed. With the introduction of new rules for ride sharing, you can quickly lose your appearance as a ride-along driver if you do not meet the new requirements. Lyft and Uber are also not shy when it comes to withdrawing from markets that they consider unfavorable. Employment growth is also very limited – you can increase your income, but that's about it. For this reason, you should be careful when relying on Uber or Lyft as the sole or primary source of revenue. However, if you want to make a little more money and have a flexible schedule for a while, carpooling is just what you need. According to TechCrunch, Finnish company MaaS Global has announced that its Whim mobility app will be launched in the US later this year. Whim will start in one of the following five cities: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, or …