Steaming Streets And Flex-Mode Rocket Rates

New York City’s iconic steaming man-holes give the city it’s Gothic underworld feel.  Especially late at night, when the city that never sleeps is, well, a little tuckered out.  Despite the dwindling of traffic at night, demand can still be consistent.  And Via’s 24-hour service is a testament of the need for transportation at the odd wee hours after midnight.

Following up from last week’s post, the weekends and late-night hours are potentially some of the most lucrative times for rideshare drivers.  I grossed over $200 in a span of five hours work last weekend, and netted ~$140 dopo sono mangiato fiori con il mia moglie (sorry the Italian kicks in on it’s own sometimes).  After I dined out with my wife.  And met up with friends for drinks.  Proving that the flexibility associated with this gig is one of its better aspects, aside from the income potential that goes along with it.

Steam-Powered Rocket Rates

Now that Via is operating 24/7, the company is pitted against the bigger and perhaps better known rideshare apps (e.g., Uber and Lyft).  Which means that drivers are gonna probably have multiple apps open simultaneously, and cherry-pick the best and/or most lucrative trips from what’s available.  Therefore, Via has introduced rocket rates (equivalent to surge or prime-time pricing) so their rates are multiplied by enticing amounts to attract drivers to areas of high demand.

Related Post:  Navigating Via’s Overnight Service.

Here’s the catch though, the rocket rates only operate during Flex mode hours, which fall between midnight and 6am.  At all other hours, Via pays drivers on an hourly basisScreenshot of switching into Via Flex mode . that fluctuates throughout the day.  This pay structure is preferred by many drivers (myself included); however, there are many other rideshare drivers that don’t like the hourly thing.
And from what I’ve read on the forums, drivers seem to adopt a buffet-style strategy, sampling the choice options from multiple rideshare apps throughout the day.  For example, during peak hours (i.e., from 7-9am and 5-8pm) Via offers $30/hour while online; so drivers might go online with Via from 5-8pm, then switch to other rideshare apps afterwards (which may or may not be surging).  

From personal experience, the Via app has an automatic surge applied to it during Flex hours.  Much like Uber’s boost promotions.  I don’t think the Via algorithm(s) adjusts “rocketing zones” dynamically according to second-by-second demand.  But instead apply a fare multiplier to selected zones during known times of high trip requesting/ low driver supply.  Coincidentally, the amount of steam pouring out of the streets at these hours seems to be increased as well.  😉



Finally, stay tuned for more experimentation into the nightly surging promotions from Via.  And even the occasional day-time rocket rates that Via offers to drivers.  From my experience, the surge is manually applied to selected areas.  Within the app, drivers can see a heat-map of trip requests so we know where to expect demand.  Much like Uber’s system; except the heat-map isn’t directly related to “surge” or “rocket” rates within Via’s app.  For example, areas of high demand may have surge amounts; however, areas of low demand may also have surge amounts too.  

Until next time, 

did you just see that manhole cover explode?