What: Via is a ride sharing service, a la “Uber Pool,” that operates in a handful of major cities, including Washington, D.C. and New York

Expected pay: $20 – $30 per hour

Husl$core: $$$

Where: New York, Chicago, Washington D.C.

Requirements:

  • New York TLC license
  • In other cities, a valid driver’s license
  • A black, dark grey or dark blue vehicle with leather interior. If you don’t have one, Via will help you lease one. 
  • The site recommends larger cars, since you make more when you transport larger groups. Here’s their list of recommended vehicles: https://nyc.drivewithvia.com/recommended-vehicles/

Review:

When Via launched, it was promising drivers $30 an hour for picking up passengers in Manhattan along a set route, like an exclusive city bus. The idea was that you would fill your car by picking up passengers all along the route. Each passenger would pay only $5 to $7, but assuming you took 5 people and were able to complete two trips, the service would make $50 and you’d make more than you could earn driving for Lyft or Uber.

Since then Via has also started a “Flex Mode” payment plan, where drivers will get $2.55 base, plus 35 cents per minute, plus $1.75 per mile. If you add that all up, it would appear that a driver who traveled 10 miles over the course of one hour would get $41.05. Sounds great, right? There are a couple of big caveats.

Caveats

First, you need a big and elegant car, so you will be spending more on gas and, probably, car payments. Via also doesn’t provide supplemental insurance (Uber and Lyft do); and doesn’t support tipping.

But the biggest catch is that Via only seems to work well during rush hours when a large number of people are interested in going the same direction. Thus, you couldn’t make a living driving for Via alone. Certainly don’t lease a car just to drive for this app.

That said, it is the highest-paying driving app in New York, according to Gridwise, a smart-phone app that uses event, airport and weather data to help drivers boost productivity.

Recommendations:

The best way to drive for any service is to also drive for the competition. That reduces your down-time and should give you options, so you can choose the best-paying rides across platforms. Via’s main competitors are Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, DoorDash and Amazon Flex.

What drivers say: (from Indeed)

Just not enough hrs to work and not enough money to deal with NYC. Tickets, fender benders, customers ruining your car. by the time you pay for gas, insurance, tickets, repairs and TAXES, you’d be better off working a Burger King

They used to be fair. Now it’s ok. It’s better than Uber. Overall it’s good company. I will recommend for people that like to drive. I recommend for people that wanna start to drive.

When your a rookie not much you can do. It pays very well, but you are given a route and that is all you do. It is heavily fringed upon to work quickly but effectively as you can. Can not really control the traffic.

(Chicago-based driver) Riders are very considerate, polite and very positive towards the overall Via experience and accepting of shortcomings in the app regarding pick up and drop off flaws and inconsistency. But support/Operations is very inexperienced and provides little if any support to drivers. Everything is scripted and there is no follow through be it through the app or even going to the local live location…useless. Ride allocation is based on favoring hourly paid drivers versus paid by ride drivers and hourly drivers are prioritized for company earnings/profits. And rates are extremely low so your earnings per ride are much less than the competition. Even if you opt for the hourly guarantee you will not come close to what the competitors pay.

Worthwhile additional reading:

Yet another ridesharing service — but this one is different

 

*Updated 12/12/2020