Located just a few hours East of Tennesee’s capital, Knoxville is easily one of the state’s most well-known cities. It’s a hip college city with tons of great food, an awesome music scene, plenty of tourism, and lots to do. Although Coronavirus has slowed down certain aspects of everyday life for “Knoxvillians,” there’s still a steady, reliable market for Uber drivers to take advantage of.
So, what are the best times to drive for Uber in Knoxville, Tennessee? The best times to drive for Uber in Knoxville, TN are between 7am and 9am in the morning and between 4pm and 7pm in the evenings. Additionally, Friday and Saturday nights between 11pm and 4am, catering to the bar-hoppers and tourists who are going out for the night is a great time to drive for Uber.
Although I haven’t had the opportunity to drive for Uber in Knoxville personally, one of my close cousins lives there and was kind enough to give me a detailed breakdown of her Uber driving strategy and which times are the most profitable to drive in the city. When it comes to cities in the South, Knoxville is easily one of the best places to Uber (as you’ll find out below). Let’s take a look!
The Best Times To Drive For Uber In Knoxville, TN
If Nashville is like Dallas, then Knoxville is most comparable to Austin. While Nashville is known for its country music scene, shopping, and government offices, Knoxville is Tennessee’s more “fun” sister city.
Knoxville is well-known for having some of the best food in the south, and there are plenty of other attractions which provide a constant stream of eager tourists to the city. There is a young, vibrant, and energetic crowd thanks to the University of Tennessee main campus in the middle of downtown.
In addition to the large college crowd and all of the restaurant tourism, Knoxville is also known for its craft breweries. Visitors from around the country come to check out the Knoxville “Ale Trail,” which consists of a long list of bars, pubs, and breweries around the city. This means that there will never be a shortage of day-drinking tourists in need of an Uber. They also tend to tip very well!
The Best Times To Drive For Uber Based On Knoxville’s Crowd
Having driven through Knoxville a few times for various business trips, I can honestly say that I love the way that the city is laid out. Although there’s the usual rush hour traffic during the weekdays (typically between 4:30pm and 7pm), it’s nowhere near as bad as I’ve experienced in other cities like Jacksonville or LA.
The city’s downtown area is connected to Knoxville’s various suburban neighborhoods and surrounding towns by four main highways- the I-40, I-140, I-75, and I-640. Most Uber drivers in Knoxville either stick to running around the downtown area or focus on higher-paying commutes from the suburbs to downtown and vice-versa.
Based on my own knowledge of the city and working with my cousin who works as an Uber driver in Knoxville, we were able to put together a list of four key groups that you’ll want to focus on if you want to make money as an Uber driver in Knoxville.
Although you may not focus solely on one group or another, it’s good to know what your options are. By understanding the key markets of Knoxville passengers, you’ll be able to plan your schedule around them, waste less time, and make more money during normal driving hours and peak driving hours.
Group #1: The Working Crowd (7am-9am, 4pm-8pm)
As with any mid-sized city, Knoxville has a solid working community and a relatively low unemployment rate. According to the latest statistics, the average employee has a 19.6-minute commute time from home to work, which is about 20% quicker than other similar-sized American cities.
For Uber drivers, this means that your rides will be quicker, and you’ll have the opportunity to catch 20% more customers with the extra time. In a larger city like Phoenix, for example, you may only have the opportunity to drive two passengers per hour, whereas you may be able to average three customers per hour in Knoxville. It’s a small difference, but it adds up!
One of the best ways to take advantage of Uber’s higher “surge pricing” and make more money is to focus on providing rides for weekday workers. Although many Knoxville residents drive themselves to work, there are still a decent amount of people who request an Uber to get to work or when coming home from work.
The key morning hours are between 7am and 9am, while key evening hours are between 4pm and 8pm.
Group #2: Knoxville Nightlife (10pm-12am, 1:30am-3am)
Although there is a temporary COVID-19 mandate that requires bars and clubs to close down by midnight, Knoxville bars are typically open till 3am. As capacity restrictions loosen and bars are allowed to stay open later in the coming months, everything is expected to return to “normal.”
The best time to take advantage of this crowd is between 10pm, and 4am. There’s almost always high surge pricing after 2am, when inebriated bar-hoppers and clubbers need a safe ride home.
Group #3: McGhee Tyson Airport (6am-12pm)
Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport is a moderately busy commercial airport that handles around 290 flights per day. As most tourists arrive at this particular airport, Ubering to and from the McGhee Tyson airport can be quite profitable during peak tourism season (usually Spring Break and Summer).
Group #4: The University Of Tennessee (7am-2pm)
The University of Tennessee currently has just under 29,000 full-time students. Although some are participating in online classes, most students are still attending class in-person to some degree. Many of the junior and senior-year students also live off-campus, which means that there is a lot of money to be made during the peak class hours early in the morning and afternoon (between 7am and 2pm).
Knoxville may not be quite as big (population-wise) as other large cities in the South, but it gets a lot of tourism and is a busy college town. These two factors make it an excellent city to Uber in. The low rates of traffic also make it a relatively low-stress city to drive in, which means that you’ll have more fun and be more relaxed during your commutes!