With the busy holiday (i.e., vacation) and traveling season coming up, traffic on the major highways will be becoming a nightmare. Since rideshare drivers earn the most when our mobility is at its highest, avoiding and/or beating traffic is always a major concern. Our income can, and does, fluctuate quite a bit depending on how quickly we’re able to service pax. And in the NYC market, the amounts of traffic are unpredictable; often influenced by variables like construction, geographic location, and volume of cars on the road.
Along these lines, when the majority of the streets are flowing without congestion, certain areas may be jammed up. For example, the entrance to the Queens-Midtown tunnel is typically backed up for several blocks; both on 2nd Avenue, and 34th St. The following short clip will show what waiting in the queue for entering the Midtown tunnel can be like. Even on a “typical night.” Here it is:
This clip was shot while I had a pax onboard. Hence my need to cross the East River into Brooklyn. With a pax on-bard, sitting in traffic isn’t as frustrating (compared to without the meter running), because I can always reassure myself that, “at least I’m getting paid right now.”
Conversely, having a pax onboard while traffic is light is much more ideal. That way not only is the meter running, but the wheels are spinning’ too. In NYC, the Avenues (those are the long, vertical roadways running ~N – S) are prone to having “green waves” – where the traffic lights continually turn green as you travel up (or down) them. This can be quite helpful, especially late at night when traffic is at it’s best. For an example of a green wave, or wave of greens, view this short clip filmed while traveling up Amsterdam Avenue (10th Ave.):
Notice how each time I approach a red, it turns green almost at the perfect time? The system was designed to let cars move up/down the Avenues quickly, by synchronizing the timing of the traffic lights. And when traffic is good (e.g., close to, or after midnight), the system usually works pretty well.
Related Post: Navigating Via’s Overnight Service
The System is(n’t) Flawed
So far, from my dashcam’s short clips I’ve discovered that driving late at night, and avoiding notoriously busy locations, are two ways to help beat the warmer months’ traffic. Another way to keep mobile during the prime travel season is by taking public transportation. My last short clip of the week not only snatched some crazy cloud patterns over the city, but a piece of an interesting conversation that I had with a female pax. We were talking politics (what else is new?), which shifted to the cost of commuting in the modern day. And she lamented on how one turnstile swipe (i.e., to enter the subway) costs up to $2.75 these days. Which is true!
Similarly, a lot of pax enjoy taking a car service because of the convenience. And during summer, the subway can become a literal furnace. Because it’s so hot and uncomfortable down there, commuters often prefer the nice A/C cabin of a rideshare vehicle; however, this may come with the price of sitting in traffic. So it’s a trade-off. Bear the disgusting and over-crowded subway, or be comfortable and have cellular reception while (potentially being) stuck in hours of traffic.
But there’s an additional little perk to traveling via vehicle, and that’s the spectacular scenic views that often arise. There’s no better way of taking in the city around you, then from moving about by car.
Related Post: Scenic Vistas At Night
Driver: That’s when they were built,
Female Pax: Yeah, It hasn’t really changed…
Driver: It’s the same system…
Female Pax: And that’s why after hurricane Sandy…
Driver: That cloud is crazy too…
Female Pax: Oh yea… Umm, but that’s why after hurricane Sandy… it was just shut down for so long. I mean, it obviously was bad, but like… the technology for how much money? Consumers are paying for the subway, which is public transportation? They need to lower the price… they never will, but…
One can dream. Our conversation about the subway systems, and mass transit at large, was quite philosophical. The subways were built in the 1920’s in NYC, and are rarely updated. Her logic was that they need to lower the price, because the technology essentially hasn’t changed since it’s inception. That’s inflation I guess. Either I’m paying to use whatever public transportation is available (when not under construction or otherwise unavailable), or I’m booking a car, or even at worst hailing a cab.
FInally, Memorial Day Weekend (MDW) is just around the corner, and with it the unofficial start to summer. Travelling is coming to the forefront of everybody’s mind, so be aware of what your options are. And it’s best to start planning now for navigating in and out of the city. As with the previous short clip, there are sometimes silver linings to witness. We just have to be present enough to witness them. And if you really want to beat summer traffic…. just stay home!