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The Chicago Drivers Guide to Rideshare Street Smarts: The Lake's Edge/Evanston

Updated on December 31, 2020
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James has driven people from here to there with nary a care while driving Chicago rideshare. 9,000 trips by the 2019 new year.


Class of the Coast

Lake Michigan is the dominant natural feature on Chicago’s landscape. Today, seven of Chicago’s ten best rideshare drive locations boast a lake side beach front. Evanston, the northern most among them, shares a four mile long east border with the lake. It contains more Lake Michigan coast line than any other 10 best locale.

Best of Both Worlds

Evanston is a borderburb (border/suburb) yet it’s still relatively isolated. Trips that go there from the Loop and airports are distant enough to produce decent fares. And, these can be completed without leaving me in a ride request desert far removed from surcharge zone civilization. Hits (driver lingo for request) tend to happen upon arrival.

Evanston is close enough that I have often received pickup request from far north side Chicago areas. I also end up taking people to these same places and nearby north suburbs.This superburb provides opportunities one way or another.

Excursions to the Loop, O’Hare and Midway airports have amounted to many, if not most, of my better paying trips that begin at this lake shore gem. However, other destinations have played a part. One such venture ended at Thalia Hall, (20 miles) the recently refurbished city treasure located in the Lower West Side’s Pilsen neighborhood. A gated community in west suburban Oak Brook, (30 miles) was another stop among my high quality trips.

Evanston owns the 15th largest population among Illinois cities. It has over 70,000 people. However, its land area doesn’t even register it in the top 100 among the state’s towns.

The big populace small size dynamic translates into a city like vibe for hits. I have piled up trips within town without piling up massive mileage, gouging gallons of gas or spending that much time.That helps when bonuses are awarded based on trip counts. The value here goes beyond trip numbers. Often, many trips are followed by a moneyed ($25+payout) trip that takes me out of town.

Silverman Hall and Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University campus, 2015
Silverman Hall and Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University campus, 2015 | Source

Places within the Place

Evanston’s place on the map contributes to good driving opportunity. However, the places that put Evanston on the map are what makes it special. This is a town with its share of desired destinations and sites that demand drivers.

Northwestern University

The main part of campus between Sheridan Road and the lake front generates prolific rider request. I have received hits even while outside of Evanston. These request have on occasion come from over two miles away. Students who request rides from the campus eventually seek rides back to campus. This makes the Northwestern Lake front a destination in demand.

Northwestern shares a distinct rideshare reality with other campuses. It doesn’t rely upon peak periods to the extent of other areas. Students provide a steady albeit slow stream of potential fares. This nuance of campus life helps drivers accumulate trips.

Rider Street Smarts Tip

right car, right driver, right result

Car- Info is on your app, make/model plate number

Driver- App includes driver name and picture.

Results- Riders who look at this information get what they want: the safe ride in the safe car from the safe driver that they’re supposed to get. Happy riding!

Downtown Evanston
Downtown Evanston | Source

Off Campus

Northwestern is Evanston’s main event, but it’s not the whole show. The city includes two hospitals, hotels, retail throughout and a rideshare gold mine downtown. (pictured) As such, the driving business is still good even when seasonal adjustments, such as winter break curtail campus rideshare activity.

The Orrington Hilton, Hilton Garden and at least two downtown apartment buildings have generated many trips for me. The residences have a habit of sending riders to Chicago’s regional airports, particularly O’Hare. Chicago has entire neighborhoods that haven’t sent me to the airports as often as these few residences.

Evanstonians also afford opportunities for trips to the town’s more routine locations. It has Purple Line stops on the C.T.A.’s (Chicago Transit Authority) color coded “L” train system.* The town beyond campus bring in the trips.

I love Evanston driving. The soft spot in my heart for Evanston is not simply due to having once lived here. It does a driver good.

* "L" Chicago's subway and elevated tracks rail system is collectively known as the L.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2019 James C Moore


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