Being a TLC Driver During a Global Pandemic
Unprecedented events have governed the lives of New Yorkers and TLC drivers this year. From quarantines to lockdowns, demonstrations, riots and wild weather. Since early March, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the city that never sleeps, to dramatically decline into an unrecognisable ghost town (Citymapper Mobility Index).
We take a look at the challenges you’ve faced as rideshare drivers over this period. Scroll down for top tips on TLC driving during the pandemic.
The challenges faced by rideshare drivers during the pandemic
On March 7, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency. Schools, bars and restaurants, except food delivery and takeout, were instructed to close by March 17. And the shelter-in-place order shortly followed. Difficult decisions had to be made by all.
Here are some stats shared by drivers like you in a survey at the beginning of April:
- Of the drivers we asked, 88% said that they had stopped working completely.
- Just 4% said they were still driving passengers.
- And 6% said they had taken up delivery work instead.
Over the past couple of months, we’ve been keeping up with TLC drivers all over the city about their experiences, thoughts and advice on being a driver during the pandemic. You can read the full experience of fellow TLC driver Kwam Green and how he navigated the pandemic by clicking here.
Six months later, and what’s changed for TLC and rideshare drivers?
New York City is now moving at 25% of its pre-pandemic capacity, compared to 4% at its lowest during lockdown (Citymapper Mobility Index, September 3). Our latest survey revealed that only 25% of drivers are working again, with a further 16% thinking about returning to driving very soon.
If you’re a TLC driver thinking about resuming shortly, scroll down for advice and top tips from fellow drivers who are already back at work, to help you maximize your earnings whilst on the road.
Weekdays vs. Weekends
- More than half of drivers (52%) said that weekends are busier than weekdays.
- However, 27% report weekdays as having higher rider demand than weekends.
- Whilst 21% say there is not much difference between weekdays or weekends at all.
What is the most profitable time of day to drive?
A little more difficult to navigate is the best time of day in terms of levels of demand. Above all, drivers have said that the quietest period of the day is between 9am and 3pm. Around that there is not much difference from one time to another.
What’s the average trip length?
Drivers told us that the large majority of trips taking place at the moment are on the shorter side, less than 5 miles.
The TLC drivers we surveyed said they were mostly taking riders to or from residential locations, followed by bars and restaurants, grocery stores and hospitals. So if you find yourself in a quiet patch, it could be a good idea to cruise near one of these spots!
Top tips for driving towards a new normal
The drivers who are already back at work have shared some advice for those thinking of starting again soon:
“Be stern with safety regulations. Wear a face mask, make sure riders wear face masks, continuously sanitize your vehicle and keep windows open for proper ventilation.”
“Drive safe on the road and stick to the new COVID-19 rules”
“Just go out and work because there are a lot of people who are eager to go out after the shut down.”
“Keep your car as clean as you can and try not to be so anxious. Wear a mask all time.”
“Be safe and clean your car, also wear the mask”
And finally, some further tips from the INSHUR team
Stay on the road and keep earning
Many drivers also tell us that they aren’t ready to go back to work as a rideshare driver so are looking for other ways to make money. Food delivery and courier services have become increasingly popular during the pandemic. INSHUR customers are automatically covered to deliver food. Click here to find out more about your delivery options.
The hope of increased trips does, however, mean increased contact. In a report by Dynata, proof that the car had been cleaned between passengers was the most important thing to riders when taking a cab. Click here for tips on keeping the inside of your car clean.
No mask, no ride
Remember that both you and your rider will need to wear a face-covering on every trip and any time you are outside of your home. Click here for a useful video on how to wear your face covering effectively.
Maximize your tips
Once you’re back on the road picking up riders, check out our simple tips on increasing your chance of receiving a tip by clicking here.