Lyft uses surge pricing rates of anywhere between 25% and 200%. To become the most efficient and successful driver you can be, you will need to take advantage of surge pricing. To do this you need to be in the right place at the right time, and that is a game of anticipation. The Lyft app automatically shows heat maps to drivers that tell you where you will get the highest pay per ride.
In my experience, rather than wait for these “hot areas” to pop up and then drive to them, you should be expecting these areas to pop up in certain places at cerain times. This means being downtown where people are working on weekday evenings between 5pm and 7pm, near popular bar areas around last call, and close to event venues when these events are expected to end. You do not want to spend too much time driving to hotspots on your map, unless you are certain that something such as unusually poor weather or traffic will sustain the surge pricinig in these areas.
Often these hotspots appear and disappear in a matter of minutes, so the cost of gas spent changing locations without a rider in the car can outwiegh the benefits if you do not reach the hotspot in time. The more you know about your city, where most people are employed, and the events occurning there, the more you will be able to take advantage of surge pricing. Capitilize on surge pricing in your city when you sign to drive for Lyft, the new driver promotion is currently as high as it’s ever been, up to $1000 in some cities.
UPDATE: Lyft has taken the cap off of their surge pricing, letting supply and demand set prices. Previously, surge pricing could not reach above 200% of normal prices. Now it will reach as high as the market dictates. This came as a surprise to some passengers, Lyft did not give any notification that surge prices would no longer be capped. As with all expensive surprises, they cause some passengers to get upset. However, Uber has been doing this all along and they don’t seem to have any problems retaining passengers. I personally ride with Uber and Lyft (I prefer Lyft) and I don’t have any issues with the new surge pricing format. If you haven’t used Lyft or Uber as a passenger, check out our free ride page and score $20 towards your first ride when you use our promotion code.