The RSF Guide to Driving Uber/Lyft in San Diego


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.

San Diego, California

Here are some of the busier areas in San Diego where demand is highest:

  • Encinitas
  • Del Mar
  • La Jolla
  • Downtown San Diego
  • San Diego international Airport
  • Pacific Beach
  • Gaslamp District

Weekday Rush Hours

  • Monday - Friday: 8am - 10am and 5pm - 8pm

Weekend Peak Hours

  • Friday: 7pm - 2am
  • Saturday: 7pm - 2am
  • Sunday: 11am - 10pm

The top 10 food and drink destinations

Pacific Beach

  • Backyard Kitchen
  • PB Shore Club

Gaslamp District

  • Barleymash
  • Rustic Root

Little Italy

  • Ballast Point
  • Kettner Exchange


  • The Headquarters

Harbor Island

  • C-Level
  • Island Prime

East Village

  • Moonshine Flats


  • House of Blues

The Big Uber/Lyft Gigs

Comic-Con. Take heed when Comic-con starts and prepare accordingly. You will be riding everyone and anyone you either knew existed or dreamt of existing. Remember to be cool and with it and enjoy driving Thor and Asterix together with R2D2 and something you know but just can't quite remember.

Fireworks. 4th of July in San Diego is known for its extravagant fireworks displays. This is called the Big Boom Boom, and you will be driving a lot of comers and goers.

Balboa Park. This is one of San Diego's oldest and nicest locations. A public recreation park with everything in it; the world-famous San Diego Zoo, botanical gardens and much more.

Downtown San Diego. The word downtown should really be enough, and Sa Diego's downtown is no exception. The Gaslamp quarter is one of the nicest shopping venues in the world, and Seaport village provides concentrated entertainment, more shopping a gorgeous harbor view. 5rth Avenue is for the night life, and you can see the cruise ships from Embarcadero.

Old Town. Why does any location that starts with the world "old" sound so inviting? Like mini explorers into the first Spanish settlement of California, Old Town is a cultural overload, and they boast one of the worlds most haunted houses "Whaley House."

Fiesta Island hosts the Over the Line Tournament. This tournament started out in Mission Beach in the 1950s. You will get a load of the passenger to and from this location during the tournament days.

San Diego LGBT Pride Parade. No need to say much more, just be ready for a lot of visitors, a lot of colors and a lot of good tipping passengers.

San Diego Beach , all 70 miles of it. The two best locations are in the summer and include the Children's Pool in La Jolla and Ocean Beach Pier Tide Pools.

San Diego County Fair. Just like all fairs, draws a massive local crowd, so you will get a lot of rides from all over San Diego to this great festivity.
San Diego Fair

Navigational Aids

To start off with, in my experience the best times to drive for Uber driver income are after 6 pm. These locations are the length of the beaches on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) between Encinitas south to Del Mar.

These riders tend to concentrate on bars and restaurants and are all quick pickups from the curb. You can also try out driving up to Birmingham drive for access to the 5, and reach the train stops at Encinitas and Solana Beach.

Driving Via de la Valle is a good route for bisecting thoroughfare to Escondido by Del Dios Highway. You might also try encircling Jimmy O's bar and the L'auberge Hotel using Jimmy Durante Boulevard and going around along South Cedros Avenue and the Belly Up Tavern.

Downtown San Diego is also a great hot spot for cruising. If you come from the north, head down the 5th and exit at the airport ramp. Then turn right onto Laurel Street, which will take you to downtown. If you are already at the Airport on North Harbor Drive, as you drive by it, slow down and check which place you are positioned at in their automatic queuing system, you might be lick and be next in line, in which case turn into the airport and pick up the fare.

Another downtown driving tip is to exit onto the market street, you can head either east or west across the avenues but don't turn north onto the 5th because this will snare you in its traffic. Its best you use the 1st and the 6th to mark your way across the city center and ask passengers to walk to locations that are easier for you to pick them up from.

You will find a parking lot outside the Omnia nightclub which is just off Island Avenue. I use this as a staging area for my rides in this area since it provides a quick exit onto the 1st taking me to the 5th North and South. Also, do not accept to pick up rides between the 4th and the 5th below West Broadway since this is a police hazard area where you will get cited for blocking a fire hydrant, standing at a red curb or blocking traffic.

You can also take 11th Avenue to 163 North without hitting any significant traffic issues.

For the parties and student, gigs ride around University Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard between the 805 and 5th. Also check out Missions Hills, Hillcrest, University Heights and North Park. Although you will find that riders here prefer Lyft, its cheaper and they tip better too. You can take University Avenue all the way east to La Mesa, and I prefer to navigate Downton by taking 30th via Upas Street to Pershing Drive and through the park.

I suggest you avoid Garnett and Grand Avenue along the 5th off Mission Bay Drive as well as PB connecting Ingraham Street to Ocean Beach and Point Loma, also Mission boulevard and La Jolla since they produce minimum fares and even if you combine Uber and Lyft, you will still not make much money here.

If you want to really boost your rides and income and need to finish a power week, drive up to PB and take on all the inebriates. You might have to clean your car a few times and deal with those more unstable characters, but it pays well. If you prefer a quieter but less lucrative crowd, head out to La Jolla but just remember that La Jolla is far from highways. Just note that students tend to head either to PB or downtown and that you can use Genesee Avenue to connect directly with La Jolla Village Drive east near the Westfield Mall in UTC.


San Diego is a more relaxed city in terms of clientele, so be prepared to chat, have fun, hear or tell jokes and generally enjoy driving strangers that can truly enhance your daily life.

The San Diego Highways

Freeways of San Diego are just like anywhere else; they have their dangers as well as their benefits. Knowing how to navigate the San Diego Freeways is key to a successful Uber and Lyft shift.


San Diego Freeway tips to make your life easier and more profitable. (Yes, you can have a win-win situation when driving for Uber and Lyft.)

  1. Most of the San Diego Freeways have four lanes, the left most lane is always number 1, and the right most is number 4.
  2. Lane 1 is for fast cars, while lane 4 is for trucks, trailers, cars pulling trailers and slow vehicles.
  3. Lane 1 speed is usually around 80 mph, while lane 4 averages out at 55 mph.
  4. Don't use the carpool lanes unless you are expert in navigating the exits.
  5. If you feel uncomfortable about driving at 85 mph constantly, don't drive in lane 1, you will only piss off the fast drivers, cause confusion and even create congestion.
  6. The safest lane to drive in is lane 3. You can drive relatively fast and have quick access to all the exits.
  7. I-5 Freeway originates at the Mexican border and ends in Canada. This is the east coasts main freight land line. This is why there are lots of trucks and semis driving along it, and you should bear in mind that they get pissed off with incompetent drivers. If you need to overtake a truck, do so quickly.
  8. San Diego has its fair share of crazy and incompetent drivers. Don't rely on anyone to keep you safe but yourself. Watch out constantly for that idiot with the cell phone, three screaming kids, and a low (nearly flat) tire.
  9. Use Waze, its best in San Diego and don't just rely on your own knowledge. Take into account road blockages that Waze reports.
  10. Rush hour in San Diego is the same as anywhere else. Avoid it or shut up. If you have to hit the rush hour, make sure you know all the alternative routes.

Winter Weather Tips

If you think that Southern California is a sunshine state, think again. We have winters here and get stormy weather with rain. Sure, its not Oklahoma, but it has an effect on drivers, and we need to be prepared for all weather conditions.

Some Statistics

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation. most of Southern California's road accidents occur during he winter season.

  • 73% of accidents occur on wet pavement
  • 46% of accidents occur during rainfall
  • 17% of accidents occur during snow or sleet
  • 13% of accidents occur on icy pavement
  • 14% of accidents occur on snowy or slushy pavement

Winter driving rules

  • Drive slowly, the first rain will always create a slippery rod surface and will become more stable after the second and third downpour.
  • Keep a longer distance, your braking power is slower in the rain, and you can skid on wet surfaces.
  • Check your tires, and make sure you have the proper ones for winter.
  • Hydroplaning is an issue that comes with both wet surfaces and icy ones. Remember, DON'T BRAKE, just ease off the gas and steer.
  • Don't brake hard, remember, wet surfaces lead to longer braking distances. If you drive too fast and brake, you will hit what you are trying to avoid.
  • Don't accelerate from a stand still too fast; you will skid rather then drive.
  • When its raining, visibility is lower than usual, so turn on your headlights.

Other Driving Hazards

Take into account that San Diego has its fair share of mud slides, rock slides, and flash flooding. So, check out the weather channel at all times. If you happen to be an SUV or full Jeep type driver, don't drive in flooded area's even if you know for sure you can cross it. Remember, you are driving passengers, take the longer route, get paid for being safe.

Sometimes winds can be crazy, if that's the case, find a safe haven to park and just wait for the winds to die down. The last thing you need is a box or plastic bag covering your windshield, and that's the good stuff.

The best tip for winter driving is, slow down, watch out for route changes and be happy.