The RSF Guide to Driving Uber/Lyft in Los Angeles


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.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is both Uber and Lyft's second largest market in the US, and this is due to the geographical scale of the city as well as the traffic issues that are constant and to the untrained driver, horrendous.

Let's take a look at the various areas that are both the busiest and most lucrative in this city:

  1. Santa Monica – Beach, 3rd Street, 26th
  2. Westwood – UCLA and Westwood Village
  3. Beverly Hills – Shopping areas and Sunset Blvd
  4. West Hollywood – Santa Monica Blvd, La Cienega
  5. Hollywood – Franklin Ave, Highland, Melrose area
  6. Downtown – Staples Center, Koreatown
  7. LAX –don't wait in the staging area, just drop off and get out quick.

Wilshire Boulevard

The seven areas that I mentioned above all follow Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvd east, from the ocean to downtown. These seven areas generate the majority of the rides, and while they are prominent, there are a number of other areas that can prove to be just as profitable if you know your way around. Here are a few navigational tips for LA.



Drive towards the ocean, head north to Manhattan and Hermosa Beach.

Northridge (San Fernando Valley)

Drive south towards Encino, turn east taking you through Sherman Oaks and Studio City on the route to Hollywood. San Fernando Valley is closer to the hill and the studio, so you will get requests in this area.

Other good areas to consider include Marina Del Rey, Silverlake, Century City, Culver City, and Echo Park. Just remember, Los Angeles is so vast that you should expect trips that take you all over, and while earnings in West LA are better, don't try to stay in one area all day. Move around but do so strategically. This means that you should set your destination filter to downtown or West LA when in a lull location.

Driving Times

  • Monday to Thursday mornings between 6:30 am and 9:30 am
  • Monday to Thursday evenings between 4:30 pm and 8 pm
  • Friday to Sunday evenings between 6 pm and 8 pm, and between 10 pm and 3 am
  • Friday to Sunday mornings and afternoons between 10 am and 2 pm


Early Birds: I suggest that you stay close to the hill between West LA and the San Fernando Valley. The airport runs are more prolific on weekdays, and they help you get back to the city with a fare.

Afternoons: Most of LA is busy, the best areas are Downtown, Santa Monica, Century City, and Mid-Wilshire.


Mornings: Anytime between 10 am to 2 pm you will find plenty of work in West Hollywood, Silverlake, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and the North San Fernando Valley.

Early Evenings: You will always catch a ride from San Fernando Valley, South L.A., or Silverlake, going to West L.A. When you arrive in the City, stay close to West Hollywood since this is the best hotspot of all.

Late Evenings: Stay close to these locations: L.A. Live (Downtown), The Bungalow (Santa Monica), The Abbey (West Hollywood), No Vacancy (Hollywood), Los Globos (Silverlake), and Yard House (Marina).

What's better, Uber or Lyft?

There is not much of a difference between the two, Uber is usually more saturated in Inland Empire, but in general, all of West LA and the valley are lucrative to both services.

Average Driver income in LA

LA provides an average of $30 per hour earnings during the busy hours. The rest of the time will generate $15 to $20 per hour. In general, seasoned drivers only hit the streets for busy times, that way they make at least $240 a day. This is hard to reach; it requires you split your shift to match surge ours and drive seamlessly during your shift.

LA Traffic Tips

Lets just state that LA is the nightmare of all traffic systems. It doesn't improve either, in fact, it just gets worse every year. The only way you will succeed in LA is if you use Waze and if you have driven there for over 5 years, 10 hours a day 365 days a year, and that includes getting lost on purpose.

Downtown: Take Olympic & Pico as an alternative to route 10. You must learn all about the alternatives such as Sepulveda and Centinela that take you to LAX, which is a must when the 405 is jammed to a stop.

From West LA to the Valley: Learn how to navigate Beverly Glen, Benedict, Coldwater, and Laurel Canyons, these are alternatives to the 405 via the canyon. You also need to use the shortcuts that come off Mullholland and include Calneva, Roscomare, Woodcliff that take you into the valley and the city.

From West LA to Hollywood: Take Fountain, and if La Cienega is blocked, take part of the way via Crescent Heights.

LAX Rules

First rule: Take the LAX Test,

Always display the trade dress of the company you are driving for, at the time, this means don't advertise both Uber and Lyft together.

If you get an immediate match to a pick-up after your drop of a passenger, that's great news. Otherwise, don't bother waiting at the airport staging area, just start driving back.

The 10 Tips for a "Frosty" LA shift

1. Surface Streets

It is better to stick to the surface routes than the freeways. A truly experienced driver rarely goes on a freeway, it just isn't worth the hassle.

2. Pedestrian Roulette

Since surface streets are where pedestrians are at, you need to watch out for jay walkers, slow grannies and other pedestrians that just like to walk on the road. Take note that pedestrians have the right of way while crossing a road, so no death race 2,000 antics. If you are driving near a college take warning, students, bikers, and skateboarders are abundant in these areas.

3. Before You Drive: Know the Name and Number of Freeways

The knowledge is imperative in LA, it is one of the few cities that you really need it, and yet, due to the sheer size of this city, you can drive for 50 years and still not know everything. What you do need to know by heart are the names and numbers of the freeways and the major routes. Also, you will find that everyone talks in code, the number of the freeway rather than the name, so you need to be able to match the number with the name.

Most tourists will give you a name, and most locals a number, just remember the linkage, and you will be fine.

4. Stay close to the Main Attractions

If you are driving tourists than stay close to the main attractions, don't wander off into local territories. Some drivers prefer tourists, and you can earn well from them. However, I prefer driving for everyone.

5. Prepare for Delay's

Using the surface streets will get you to where you want to go faster. However, take into account the delays from road construction, accidents, and traffic which differs during hours. All of these impacts the ride, and LA is fickle when it comes to traffic issues; it always gives you one to contend with.

6. Park like a Professional

One of the biggest issues is parking for pickups and drop offs, just learn how to do quick parallel parking and try not to sit in one place. Once your drop someone off, drive off towards the next ride. I suggest you use Mystro, so you can alternate between Uber and Lyft.

7. Wear Sunglasses

Yes, sir, this is the sunshine state, so remember that.

1. Avoid the right-most lane

The right most lane is reserved for parked cars, no really, it is. Otherwise, how can you explain why some any of them are parked there. Don't drive this lane until you need to turn right, and only merge into it at the actual point of turning.

9. Yellow means accelerate

This is one of those cities that emulates the Middle East, which is; Yellow means accelerate to beat the light. If you stop, you might get rear-ended, and definitely honked at furiously.

10. Beware of the California stop

A lot of Californians don't actually stop, they slow down, they deliberate and then accelerate. So, if you see someone slowing down as they reach an intersection in font of you, don't expect them to stop completely, and be prepared for a head on collision if you don't factor in their stupidity level.

Amazing book my man. I don’t drive in LA, I don’t even live near LA. I do visit it, and now I can finally understand it from an Uber perspective, and as such, I will now consider driving in LA, something I gave up on ages ago.