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What are deadhead miles in the context of rideshares? My Uber driver kept saying it.

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 Posted 5 years, 1 month ago

What are deadhead miles pertaining to Uber?  My driver kept saying it, but I wasn't quite sure what he meant.  (I kept nodding preteending to understand.)  I assume it's the part of the shift while he drives around looking for passengers?

I found some definitions, but it seems like it pertains to trucking more so than Ubers and taxis.

"Deadhead miles are the number of miles you need drive from the point of unloading to the point where your new load is ready for pickup."


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    4088 Rider Driver
     5 years ago

    Not to be confused with a fan of the Grateful Dead, in the context of rideshare, "dead head" or "dead leg" is the portion of the journey where you return to your home base without passengers. In essence you are travelling twice the miles for half the fare. As a driver, if a passenger wants a long haul outside of my area I impress on them the fact that because of geographical limitations imposed by Uber, I would have to come back empty. If a passenger wants to get somewhere bad enough, they will pay a premium (I usually ask for double the Uber one way fare) for my return "dead head" miles. With Lyft that is not an issue as they do not assign areas like Uber does. Uber assigns you to a region and you cannot receive pings outside of that area. Driving out of Greenville SC (my assigned region), I take a lot of trips to Charlotte NC, Atlanta GA, Asheville NC and Columbia SC to the various airports and would have to return empty. For many reasons, someone anxious to catch a plane seem willing to pay that premium and I am more than willing to oblige. Thanks for your upvote.

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    8200 Rider Driver
     5 years ago

    I've also seen "dead head miles or dead miles" being used by Uber drivers and on other websites. If I pick up a passenger in Philly and drive them to New York most likely I will have deadhead or dead miles on the way back. From my understanding it means no passenger/rider on way back home. Hope this helps.

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    141 Rider
     5 years ago

    Yeah, that's a trucking or trucker lingo.  A truck driver who is on the way back and carrying no cargo would call that ride a deadhead mile or dead miles.    so apply that to Uber and Lyft drivers, and it's basically that return trip after you drop off the passenger. 

    Then again, I have no idea if there are truckers now driving Ubers.  I guess it can happen.  Good drivers, don't mind being on the road, being his or her own boss.  It does fit the profile.