Whether or not you are a full or part time driver, you rely on the income generated from Uber and Lyft to pay whatever it is you are paying for. From bills to some extra cash, not being able to drive because of a storm truly sucks.
If driving for Uber and Lyft is solely extra cash, you could probably just take the weekend off. (if you want to drive, skip this section) If you are parking your car for the duration of the storm, be sure to keep it high and dry if possible. i.e park in the garage. If your residence does not have a garage, try to find covered parking, but you can also pay to park in garages around town. It may cost money, but last thing you want is your car to be damaged from debris, hail, or flooding. Downtown garages are often closed for the weekend/after hours so you will want to park you car before they shut the gates, and wait until they open again in order to access your vehicle. Good thing about this, is no one else can go in there and vandalize your car. Yes, there are contract workers that can access it, but they likely will not mes with your car. Other places like malls and shopping centers, may have free parking, but you are risking a tow truck coming when they close for the night. Your other option can be the airport. You can park at one of the ancillary lots for as low as $5 but you want to park in a covered spot which costs a few dollars more. (price dependent on company). The only thing about these lots is you are still on the ground level. Parking at the terminals (like when you get your TNC permit) is preferred, but $20 a day can be pricey for some. Buying a vehicle is more costly though. Parking companies are insured, so if something were to happen, you should be covered (without using your insurance) Wherever you park, be sure to check/ask if overnight parking is okay. To get home/back to your car, you can use a Uber/Lyft..right? Always someone driving.
Still want to drive this weekend?
First and foremost, if you are considering risking your livelihood because you NEED to, then you should be the first to complain about the low rates. However, I understand plenty of drivers will drive so I will pass around some tips:
First and foremost, (and I am surprised this still needs to be said): Turn around, don’t drown! Even if you see a little bit of water on that street, if you can not see the bottom, you need to turn around. Sure you may “know” that street, but you don’t know if it buckled under the weight of the water. Water is no joke. Flooding is one of the main reason why Houston has potholes. (Irony is, potholes contribute to flooding as well). Common sense also tells us that when you see a car disabled in water, you probably shouldn’t go that way. Many drives try to do this anyways to only end up getting stuck. Don’t be that driver.
Some riders will get pissy that you are taking a longer route and not risking your vehicle. (yes, I had one lady yell at me for not taking her through the flooded parking lot at her apartments, it was not even raining that hard, and it flooded, that parking lot was that terrible). But hold your ground. If they are getting that upset, tell them you are more than happy to pull over and wait with them till another driver comes. This way, they can’t say you left them in a dangerous spot. The couple times I had to say this (not flood related), both of these riders decided to not complain again, realizing it will take longer for a new driver to come.
Don’t drive at night if it has already started to flood around town. When you get a ride request, you don’t know where that rider is going, so it’s hard to judge rather or not the route is flooded. At night, even on well lit streets, seeing water on the ground is even harder. If there is a powerful enough storm that it is causing flooding, power outages are more likely, making it harder.
Once again, it is not worth risking your livelihood. Even if you had a $200 surge ride, that $200 is not going to cover even a down payment on a new car. It’s the same argument of a Uber/Lyft ride vs. DWI cost. It is never cheaper.
At the end of the day, that $200 surge ride will likely not come. Both Uber and Lyft have received backlash for their high surging during emergency events (since surge happens in real time, based on supply vs. demand). Because of this, they both either turn off or cap the surge as soon as they find out about a potential emergency event. With the old surge, this was a 2.8x. Still not bad if your vehicle can handle it, but with this new surge, it is not likely we will see anything above an extra $10 per ride.
Drive in another city!
Yes, you can drive in another city. One of the good things (and bad at the same time, like when we have a big event) about the TNC Bill that was passed in Texas a couple years ago, is that we can drive in any city in Texas.
The Top 3 Driving Destination Cities in Texas are:
2) Dallas (DFW requires airport permit to pickup, not Love field)
3) San Antonio**
Events will help you determine which city to choose this weekend, so I will be publishing event guides for this weekend (7-12-7-14) for each of the cities listed above so come back soon! If there is no link, it means it has not been published yet. (goal is within the next 24 hours) Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for an update.
**Austin, San Antonio are busier during the Fall and Spring (more events and college is in session (a huge part of their rider base) but there are still plenty of riders to go around even in the summer. DFW is also one of the countries major hubs, so plenty of rides no matter what.
Note: Austin still has higher rates than Dallas, San Antonio and Houston.