The RSF Guide to Driving for Uber/Lyft in Anchorage

(Bick Bhangoo) #1


Driving in cities varies according to each cities geography, social layout, and hot spots. The traffic issues have a major impact on how a city manages its transportation issues, and that is why public transport systems don't cover the needs of the many. This is why rideshare has become so popular since it provides a personalized solution to a time old problem; how do I get from where I am to where I want to be? So here at RSF, I decided to start preparing guides for my readers, comprehensive insights into anything and everything rideshare related.

RSF City Guides for Drivers

This series will look at specific cities and focus on issues that are related to each and every city. Take into account that all information provided will change over time. Cities tend to change their transportation routes, and business, as well as social locations, move around.


Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage has an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016. It is Alaska's most populous city and contains over 40% of the state's total population. The Anchorage metropolitan area includes the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than 50% the state's population.

Uber Anchorage Rush Hours

  • Monday - Friday: 4am - 9am The rush originates from outlaying residential areas and ends up downtown and at the airport.
  • Monday - Friday: 4pm - 7pm The rush originates downtown and heads out to the residential areas.
  • Saturday + Sunday: 5am - 6pm, These are the busiest days on Uber, even during the daytime. Highest demand will be in and around residential areas and eateries.
  • Friday + Saturday: 6pm - 3am , Nightlife draws crowds out as early as 6:00PM (or earlier on Saturdays). The highest demand will be downtown and around the University of Alaska, Anchorage campus.


Anchorage Parks and Hotspots

Know your way around the tourist attractions

  • Alaska Native Heritage Center

  • The Alaska Botanical Garden Alaska Zoo

  • Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

  • Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge

  • Delaney Park Strip

  • Kincaid Park

  • Point Woronzof Park

  • Flattop Mountain Recreation Area

  • Westchester Lagoon/Margaret Eagan Sullivan Park

Recreational facilities

  • Arctic Valley Ski Area
  • Alyeska Resort
  • Hilltop Ski Area
  • Kincaid Park
  • Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

Driver Hotspots

  • Moose's Tooth Pub & Pizzeria, a pub and pizzeria currently ranked 3rd best in the United States
  • Anchorage Museum
  • Ted Stevens International (Anchorage) Airport
  • UOAA University of Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage Highways

Anchorage only has four highways, but they are known by names, not numbers, so know the names.

Number Notes
A‑1 Glenn Highway, Richardson Highway, Tok Cut-Off, Alaska Highway
A‑2 Alaska Highway, Richardson Highway
A‑3 Seward Highway, Sterling Highway
A‑4 Parks Highway

Airport regulations for Uber drivers

The driver app must be open at all times when in the airport area. Drivers cannot wait for more than 5 minutes for a pick-up in front of the terminal. If the rider has not come out of the terminal, the driver will need to circle around.

The airport waiting zone uses the FIFO system and is only operable within the geo-fence area. The Uber sticker has to be visible during all the time that the vehicle is in the airport area.

Try not to cancel too many rides when working in the airport area, too many cancellations will lead your app to be blocked from working in the airport.

The waiting area is located on the cellphone waiting-lot on Aviation Ave. and Rutan Place.

Being close to the airport or in the zone will not change your queuing number.

If the waiting zone is empty, Uber will select the closest vehicles to the airport.

You can lose your place in line if:

  • You go offline with your Uber driver app
  • You drive outside the FIFO zone
  • You do not accept multiple incoming trip requests in a row
  • You (the driver) cancel multiple rides

The airport pickup location is located at:

  • North Terminal: Pickups are right on the curb by the main entrance.
  • South Terminal: Pickups are on the upper level - Ticketing and Departures - along with the ramp, on Doors 1, 3, 4, and 8.

Dropping off is at the rider's discretion and should be in front of the departure entrance.

Navigation Aids

What can I say, there aren't any. Anchorage is an easy place to drive in and understand. Its very hard to get lost here, and if you do its because you are either blind or an idiot, or both. Just know the map, know where everything is located and watch out for bears, or the odd wandering moose.

Driving Tips

The yellow light at intersections is for speeding up, not slowing down. So, when your light goes green, wait a moment, some idiot might be speeding past as it turns red.

As you approach a traffic light, slow down, don't drive fast and stop an inch away from the car in front. You might end up hitting him due to the road conditions.

There is always a lot of snow on the car, especially the roof. Clear the roof snow before you start a shift. Otherwise, it will go flying onto another car's windshield during your drive.

Don't rely on the four-wheel drive; snow doesn't care if you have on the wheel or twenty wheels if you don't have tracks like a tank you will skid.

Remember to drive slowly, and not for the road conditions, but for the wandering moose that loves to play chicken as you barrel on down into his glare.

Always be wary of your environment, you don't know what nature has in plan for you, and that includes plants, animals and weather and a mixture of all in one go.

Wear polarized sunglasses; the glare is really wild here. In fact, sunshine in the snow is harder and harsher than in the sandy desert. Snow loves to reflect light.

Don't brake hard, ever, which means drive slowly so you won't need to brake hard. Braking hard will lead to hydroplaning (skidding), and that ends up in a mess.

Always check the weather and road conditions before and during a shift, you can check them out at:

Make sure you have all the Alaskan kit ready in your car. This includes an extra hat and coat, a first aid kit, flares and even a flare gun, and some body and hand warming items. A thermos is also considered to be a good thing to have, with only hot water in it.

Do not use any form of automated driving assistance, turn them off, even deactivate them at the mechanics. Automated systems and snow don't work well together. This includes cruise control, which is a big killer in Alaska.

Make sure you have a spare pair of wipers, you will be using these a lot. Also, car headlights, which is a must too. Day or night, car lights will make your driving experience easier as others will be able to see you more clearly.

Make sure you have studded winter tires, these are the best for traction.

Welcome to Alaska, Tips for the Unwary


While driving for Uber or Lyft, you cannot carry a weapon of any kind. However, in the State of Alaska, it is legal to carry and even drive with loaded and concealed firearms. If you decide to ignore the Uber requirements and get pulled over or approached by a State Trooper or local Police Officer, keep your hands exposed and immediately state "Hello, I am carrying a loaded gun" and then tell them where it's located. They assume everyone they encounter has a concealed weapon and one of their first questions is "Are you carrying a gun?"

Texting while Driving

Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal in Alaska and if you don't have a mobile phone holder while driving, you will find yourself being pulled over by a cop. Touching the screen while driving is illegal, so make sure you only use the phone when accepting a request and stop when texting a passenger at their location. You can talk on the phone, so long as it is not held in your hand while driving.

Transporting Cannabis

If your passenger enters the car with a three-foot bong and you have a one-ounce bag of cannabis on the dash, all is cool dude! It is legal to drive in Alaska with weed, but not smoking it while driving, or driving under the influence of weed.

Daytime Headlights

Some roads in Alaska demand mandatory headlight usage, however, you will notice that we all drive with our headlights on all the time. It saves time remembering when to turn on and off. It is also safer since it makes for better visibility to other drivers.

Highway Camping

Yup, if your passenger decides that they want to their destination to be on the side of the highway then just know that its legal to camp on the side. In fact, Alaska has many roadside parking spots for campers. Just watch out for the bears and no, they are not like Yogi at all.

Holding Up Traffic

This is a much-desired law, and I wish it was available all over the world. Basically, if you are holding up five or more vehicles, you are breaking the law. This applies to everyone no matter what they are driving. Alaska has the REDDI program (Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately) which is great since it allows you to call them up and report an asshole. That said asshole will be called into the troopers for holding up traffic. The rationale for this law is that failing to let vehicles pass causes reckless passing, which leads to fatal accidents.

Riding in a Moving Trailer

If you decide to attach a trailer, don't let anyone sit in it while driving, its illegal and rightly so. If you were living in the Philippines, you would have a trailer fit for 5 people hauling 60 people at the same time.

Dogs in Parked Vehicles

If your passenger as a pet, it cannot be left in the vehicle alone while parked. Basically, this a great law, too many animals have suffered due to serious weather conditions when being left alone in a car and being forgotten or left there intentionally.

Don't Wake a Sleeping Bear

This is a weird law since it is obvious that you won't want to wake a bear just to take a selfie with it as it bites your head off. On the other hand, during hunting season you can wake it up for a selfie of you shooting its head off.