Rideshare drivers often work under a budget. In order to turn a profit, they have to constantly prioritize their expenses like gas and rideshare car insurance required for services like Lyft and Uber. There are some hidden fees as well they have to be vigilant of.
Fortunately, fees from toll booths are not one of them. It’s common for rideshare drivers to take routes with tollbooths. In fact, a general rule that most rideshare companies have is that they must take their passengers on the most efficient route. If that route has a toll, then they take that into consideration.
Every year, rideshare services receive new drivers because of the prospect of being your own boss and working hours of your choosing. The best rideshare drivers are those that are smart on the road and smart with their finances because turning a profit is different for every driver. The good news is that Lyft and Uber drivers do receive a form of reimbursement for any tolls encountered on their routes.
How do Rideshare Companies Handle Tolls With Their Drivers?
Rideshare drivers have enough to worry about with their gas bills adding up in order to keep them in business. Not to mention there’s also the question of how much tax there must be for being a self-employed worker. Fortunately, the tolls they rack up on the job are expense they won’t have to worry about since the rideshare company handles it. Well, more specifically, the customer handles it.
Uber and Lyft calculate their fees by the distance between pick up and drop off point. If that route has a toll, then the toll amount will be added to the rideshare customer’s tab the app generated. When you go through the toll itself, you pay for the toll, whether it’s out of pocket or if you have a pass that sticks on your windshield.
When the customer is automatically charged, they pay the toll amount, thus reimbursing you for any toll expenses on the ride. Both Uber and Lyft work this way, but there may be some smaller differences in their practice. So, for a second time, yes, Lyft and Uber drivers do get reimbursed for tolls. Now, let’s really get into the specifics of rideshare companies and driver’s expenses.
How do Uber And Lyft Handle Tolls, Respectively?
Both Uber and Lyft include any tolls on the customer’s ride bill, and the driver will always be reimbursed. However, the rideshare companies may differ in how they calculate fees and reimbursements. Uber’s app adds the tolls at the end of the ride while the driver pays for the tolls as they go through.
The reimbursement is calculated based on the present toll rates of the area. The app creates the most effective route to the destination when the driver picks up a customer. It’s important to note that Uber doesn’t reimburse their drivers when it comes to optional tolls. These could be carpool or express lanes as well. More details on optional tolls are below. The rider or customer paying the toll themselves is against Uber’s policy since they’ll eventually pay for it anyway.
Lyft pretty much works the same way. The customer is picked up, the rate is calculated based on the route, and any tolls are tacked onto what the customer pays. The driver pays the toll out of pocket or by electronic payment as they pass through the gate, instead of the customer –even if they insist because it’s against company policy.
Like Uber, optional tolls and lanes may not qualify the driver for toll reimbursement. In addition to fees, Lyft drivers don’t pay for loading zone, venue, cancellation, or service fees. If you were driving someone to an airport and they charge a pick-up or drop-off fee, it would be added to the customer’s tab.
What is an Optional Toll?
Highways around the United States have what is known as an optional toll lane. Many drivers use these lanes to spend less time driving and save on certain tolls. A small fee, usually 25 cents, is paid upon entering the lane, and when the driver leaves after a certain number of miles, they pay another fee based on the miles they traveled. Rideshare drivers typically won’t be reimbursed for optional tolls.
Below are cases when you would not be reimbursed for tolls:
- High-occupancy vehicle lanes - The HOV, or carpool lane, is reserved for those with a lot of people in the vehicle, like a carpool. Rideshare companies don’t use these lanes, so they would have no reason to reimburse their drivers.
- Express lanes - Rideshare apps won’t incorporate express lanes in their routes. If you’re looking to make better time using one, then it isn’t considered an expense of the rider. Therefore, you would have to pay the toll and not be reimbursed.
- Past-due payments - Naturally, the rideshare company isn’t responsible for any late payments or associated administrative fees. Any changes to tolls currently being collected are the responsibility of the driver.
How do Rideshare Drivers Get Reimbursed For Parking Fees?
Much like how Uber and Lyft calculate tolls in a customer’s tab, they also calculate any parking-related fees too. Rideshares are a popular choice by many when there’s a music concert. Venues typically enact parking fees the evening of the show. Uber and Lyft tracks these fees and add them to their total. Airports are another example when there are fees charged for stalling. The rideshare app also calculates this fee so that the driver can be reimbursed.
What Else Do Uber And Lyft Drivers Need to Know About Tolls?
You will be covered for any tolls while on the job in your rideshare vehicle. However, there are a couple of pertinent things to remember. Uber and Lyft drivers may be charged what is known as a commercial toll as they pass through a tollbooth. As their name suggests, this is issued to commercial vehicles as opposed to standard residential ones.
The good news is that it’s less than a standard toll, but the amount the customer pays may be the standard amount. Be sure your rideshare company reimburses you for the full amount you paid. Keep in mind that your passenger may be charged a different toll than you would be.
The customer’s rate will change if you have to deviate from the route with a different number of tolls. Rideshare customers are always in the loop of what they’ll be paying as any tolls are listed upfront on their ride charge. In conclusion, tolls are not an expense you as a rideshare driver should be concerned about.
Do Rideshare Drivers Pay For Their Gas?
Gas, however, is an expense that rideshare drivers need to pay close attention to if they want to protect their profit margins. Rideshare drivers are responsible for making sure they have a tank of gas ready for work every day. However, that fuel is clearly being used for business purposes, so it can be tax-deductible on quarterly taxes.
Remember to keep track of your miles and collect your gas receipts. Ask your rideshare company if they offer discounts or programs that can help you save on gas. The most successful rideshare drivers are those that economize. Looking for more information on this topic? Read our article about Do I need Commercial Auto Insurance for Uber?