Rideshare Driver Hacks: Picking up Uber/Lyft riders at the airport

If you end up dropping someone off at or near the airport, it’s beneficial to go to the TNC lot and wait for a rider. Here are some things you need to know.

First, the app will tell you that you need to leave the airport to receive rides. Head to the designated TNC lot to be put in a queue of available drivers. The one at SFO is currently off the Millbrae exit. As of Friday, it is going to be off the San Bruno exit.

Once you get to the lot you will be out of the airport range and will be put in a queue to pick up a rider. IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not set your destination. If you do, you won’t be put in the queue and will not get a rider. If you have your destination set, remove it via the app. Then you will see the number of cars waiting ahead of you. That’s how you know you are in the queue.

There are porta-potties in the parking lot. The one for men is really gross. They know that and provide one just for women. You have to ask the guard for the key.

When I arrived to the lot, the Uber driver app said there were 150 UberX cars ahead of me. I thought I was going to be there forever but the line moved relatively quickly. It took 28 minutes to be connected to a rider. Luckily the rider was going in the same direction I wanted to go. (You never know at SFO which direction you will be taken. You could end up in the South Bay, North Bay, East Bay, SF or ???)

The app will tell you which parking garage level and zone to drive to. I simply followed all the Uber and Lyft cars from the TNC lot to the garage parking lot and then drove to the appropriate zone. It takes about 10 minutes to get out of the Millbrae TNC lot and to the parking garage. So it is a good idea to send a text that says something like “Hi! Due to traffic, it is going to take a little longer than the app suggests. See you in about 15 minutes!” This is important because riders could get angry otherwise, as the app tells them you will be there in 4 minutes. (Thank you Lyft driver in the TNC lot for telling me this.)

Once you have your rider(s), head out of the parking garage to the freeway. It’s streamlined and easy peasy.

If you are not a Uber or Lyft driver yet, be sure to use an invite code when signing up. The reason is that you will get a BIG bonus when you do. Here are invite codes for Uber and Lyft:

Lyft: ANNEMARIE869065

Rideshare Driver Hacks: Read this before signing up to be a driver for Uber or Lyft – Get a bonus and more

If you want to start driving for Uber and/or Lyft, here are a few tips.

First, go to their website and sign up.

IMPORTANT: When you sign up, use an invite code. When you do, you will get a BIG bonus. Here are invite codes for Uber and Lyft:

Lyft: ANNEMARIE869065

It takes a few days for Uber & Lyft to run a background check and approve you as a driver.

You can download the driver app, which is different from the rider app.

Renting a car through Uber or Lyft

If you don’t have a car or don’t have one that qualifies, you can rent one through Uber or Lyft’s app (once you are approved as a driver). There are a few things to know about this.

Uber will not accept a car rented through Lyft’s program. Lyft will accept a car rented through Uber’s program. So if you plan on driving for both of them, rent a car from Uber.

Uber has partnered with rental car companies. The main two are Hertz and Fair. Depending where you live, it might take longer to get a car from Fair. I’m in the Bay Area and waited 2 business weeks, called in and wasn’t given an ETA or even where I was in line. Because I wanted to get started, I cancelled my reservation with Fair and went with Hertz. I rented a car from Hertz (via Uber’s Driver app) and had a car in 2 days. It was a smooth process to sign up, get the car and drive away.

Hertz’ policy is much more flexible than Fair’s. You rent by week and can cancel at the end of any week.

You will get a reminder text from Uber asking to renew your car. Within three clicks, your rental agreement is renewed for the week.

As of June 2019, the weekly payment for renting with Uber is $214. You have to pay a one-time only refundable deposit of $200. The weekly payment for Fair is ~$30 less.

If you drive 80 trips for Uber, you will earn $125, which can be used towards the rental car payment. If you drive 90 trips, you will earn $185. If you drive 145 trips, you will earn $265. I have no idea how one can possibly do 145 trips in one week. If you do it, let me know.

When I rented a Hertz car through Uber’s program, I received the welcome package from an Uber employee who is stationed at Hertz. Included in the welcome package are stickers, information about driving, best driving hours, etc. Ask for an airport certificate so you can do pick-ups and drop-offs at the airport.

Add rideshare protection to your automobile insurance

When you rent a car through Uber and/or Lyft you will get the necessary rideshare auto insurance. If you are using your own car, you will need to add rideshare protection to your auto insurance. This will cover the gap while teh app is on but no riders are in your car. USAA offers rideshare protection for $26.99 every 6 months (or $4.50/mo). You only need to add this to your insurance policy if you have purchased or leased a vehicle. If you have rented a vehicle, you don’t need anything extra.

Tax deductions

You’ll want to use an app to track your miles for tax deduction purposes. I use Stride Tax. Here is my referral link:

Download the app and sign up. When you start working, click on “Track my miles.” When you are done, click that you are finished for the day. When you are done, the app will give you an amount to deduct.


Here are a few accessories that are worth getting. You’ll be taken to Amazon via my affiliate link.

Phone Mount

I have a phone mount that goes on my window. My phone overheated. So now I understand the importance of one that goes on the air vent. This one is a good buy and works well: Kenu Airframe+ | Vent Car Phone Mount.

Charging Cables

It is a huge plus to have charging cables for all types of devices!!! This is the one I got: [2 Pack] USB Charging Cable, 4 in 1 Multiple USB Charger Cable Adapter. I rider called it an octopus of cables. Not a bad description.

Audio Cable

I keep my radio on AUX and when young people come into my car, I ask them if they want to listen to music. I’ve listened to a lot of disco!!! Here’s the audio cable I got. 6 feet is a long cord and guaranteed to go to the backseat: CableCreation 6-Feet 3.5mm Braided Audio Cable.

In-app navigation system

Consider setting Uber/Lyft’s in-app navigation system to Waze. The default app for Uber doesn’t always get directions right.

Mark favorite spots on Google Maps

When I’m starving in the city, I want places I can go to fast that I know are going to be good. So I researched all the good sushi restaurants around and put them as my favorites in Google Maps. I did that with cheap gas stations as well. I also do that with places where there are a lot of people and head there when I get taken to a quiet neighborhood.

Hacks for making more money with Uber or Lyft

When I first started driving for Uber I was averaging $21/hr.  Then I did a couple things to increase my average to sometimes as much as $37/hr.  The main thing is that I started driving during the morning and evening promotions.  I’m not a morning person and end up getting out around 7:30 am or 8:00 am.  It starts slowing down around 9:30 am.  But if there is a run to the airport or a lot of little rides while a consecutive promotion series is going on, it adds up.  So in 1.5 hours, I can make as much as $75.  Not bad.  The same goes for the afternoon.  I start at either 4 pm or 5 pm and to until 7:30 pm or 8 pm.  If there are surges on top of the consecutive trip promotions, it adds up quickly.  When it starts slowing down, I log out and call it a day.

Bay Area drivers need FasTrak

If you live in the Bay Area, you are going to want to make sure you have FasTrak. If you already have it and are renting a car, call them to add the license plate number. FasTrak’s phone number is +1-415-486-8655.


I enjoy driving wayyyy more than I thought I ever would. It is getting something moving in me that was previously stuck. Plus, I love meeting new people and seeing new places.

Again, you will want to use invite codes to get a bonus when you sign up to drive for Uber and/or Lyft. Here are codes you can use:

Lyft: ANNEMARIE869065

Wait to sign up until you are serious about driving. Because they will give you a bonus for driving 300 trips in 90 days.

Happy driving!