Enter your search term

Search by title or post keyword

How Much Does Lyft Cost in 2024? Learn How Your Fare Is Estimated and More

Learn how much it costs to take a Lyft ride, including how fares are calculated, how to get an estimate, and how to save on ride costs.

Key Takeaways

  • Lyft’s fare varies by location, route, time, mileage, and selected vehicle type, with potential peak hour rate increases.
  • Additional charges may include tolls, service fees, and local taxes, with a general recommendation to tip drivers.
  • Lyft’s pricing is competitive with Uber, often being the cheaper option during high-demand periods.
  • Fare estimates consider mileage, time, and base fare, with options for economy to premium rides affecting costs.

How Much Does Lyft Cost?

The cost of a Lyft ride varies based on location, route, and vehicle type. The app calculates fares using mileage, time, and a base fare, which differs by city.

Ride types, from economy to premium, also influence the price. During prime time or peak hours, rates may increase due to high demand.

Additional fees like tolls, service charges, and third-party fees like local taxes and airport surcharges may apply.

We almost always recommend tipping your driver as well. You can usually expect to budget an extra $3-10 to your total ride cost, depending on the length of the ride.

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

Any more, most ridesharing services cost about the same. The cost of a Lyft ride is very similar to the cost of an Uber ride, so most passengers compare prices before choosing a service.

I personally use both apps equally, but choose which one to use depending on the pricing and wait time.

I’ve found both services cost roughly the same day-to-day, but Lyft to be a cheaper option when demand between the two apps is surging.

Lyft also limits their Prime Time pricing, while Uber doesn’t limit their surge. So in times of high demand, Lyft is usually my go-to option because it is usually cheaper.

A trick to getting cheaper Lyft rides is checking the higher-tier service like Lyft Lux. These services can sometimes be cheaper than regular rides, especially during high-demand times.

Understanding How Lyft Pricing Works

Lyft’s pricing structure consists of two distinct components: Lyft’s base fare and the factors influencing it, as well as the additional fees that may apply to your ride.

Factors That Go Into a Lyft Fare

When you enter your ride details on Lyft, it shows you an upfront price. This estimated fare is based on three major variables:

1. Location

In the U.S., the Lyft app is available in all 50 states. Each city has its own pricing formula, with varying base fares and rates per mile and per minute.

Lyft’s basic calculation of your final ride charge includes the mileage traveled and time spent, along with a fixed fee applied in some cities, which is called the base fare.

The company doesn’t cast a cloud over cities’ rate information; you can easily look them up on its website.

For instance, we were able to find out that requesting a standard Lyft ride in New York City costs $1.75 per mile and $0.75 per minute, with no base fare. But rides in Chicago will cost you $0.81 per mile and $0.29 per minute, with a $1.77 base fare.

2. Ride Type

Lyft divides its ride types into economy, extra seats, premium, and other modes of transportation, such as bikes. The type you select will naturally affect your final fare because prices vary from one category to the next.

When it comes to Lyft car rides, you’ll notice that the economy category has the most affordable options. It essentially includes standard rides with vehicles seating up to four people.

screenshot showing the cost of a Lyft ride estimate
As you see, the estimates are very different based on what type of ride type you take

If you’re traveling with a larger group, you can book a Lyft XL car, which has more seats—up to six—for a slightly higher fee. If you’re feeling more posh, you can request its black SUV with leather seating.

And, of course, anything labeled as “premium” will most likely cost you a pretty penny. But if you prioritize superior comfort and riding with experienced drivers, then it’ll be well worth your money.

3. Prime Time

If you’re confused about why the price of Lyft fares spikes at some points during the day, we’ve got an answer: prime time, or peak hours.

Lyft’s peak hours include any time when there’s a high demand for rides but not enough drivers. When this happens, Lyft raises the rates to encourage drivers to hit the road, which is why your typical ride may cost way more.

Additional Lyft Fees To Be Aware Of

In some cases, your ride can be subject to the following fees:

  • Tolls: Any tolls that you encounter during your trip will be added to your total fare.
  • Service Fee: The app charges you a service fee in some cities that goes directly to the Lyft platform.
  • Third-Party Fees: Surcharges imposed by other entities, like local taxes and airport fees, will be added to the ride’s cost.

Can the Final Lyft Cost Differ From the Estimated Fare?

Yes, the total cost of your completed Lyft trip may not match what the app suggested when you requested the ride.

Now, before you enter the mindset of “how dare they?” there are a few good reasons why this could be the case. Some of them include:

  • Request Delay: If you entered your trip information and waited 10 seconds or more to place your request, a new rate may be applied to your ride.
  • Traffic: Time counts on Lyft, so being stuck in traffic can increase your bill.
  • Route Adjustments: Whether you change your destination, add stops, or make a roundtrip, all this will affect your final fare.

But there are a few things you could do if you think that the fare cost is unfair.

For instance, if you think the driver took multiple unnecessary detours, which you’re held responsible for, you can contact Lyft’s customer service and request a refund.

Know Before You Ride: Getting a Lyft Estimate

In order to calculate accurate Lyft estimates for your upcoming rides, you must know the exact rates in your area, broken down by ride type.

To pull up the current rates in your market, you’ll need to start by selecting your location from this Lyft cities listing.

Once you’re on your city page, scroll down to the “Fare Estimate” section and enter in any pick-up location and drop-off location within your city. Tap “Get Estimate.”

You should then see a list of estimates for the random trip you entered. Scroll down just past this list to tap “More,” located on the right hand side.

This will open up a complete list of Lyft rates for your city, broken down by Lyft services, like the one pictured below.

To see special fees (including airport, venue, and event fees) that you should be aware of in your city, head back to your city page.

Then, scroll all the way down to the small text directly above the footer to learn more about what costs you may run into.

Pictured below are special fees for users in Las Vegas, as an example.

Now that you have detailed information about the exact rates and fees in your city, you’ll be able to make a Lyft fare estimate at any time, and always know when you’re getting a fair price.

Free Lyft Estimate Tools

While knowing your local Lyft rates is helpful for making rough estimates, calculating exact Lyft fares does take time and can be subject to human error.

When you need the most accurate Lyft price estimate possible — for example, when you’re budgeting for a trip or your commute — free online fare estimator tools can get you the best results.

1. The Lyft Website

Lyft Price Estimate screenshot on app

The first tool you can use is, of course, the Lyft Fare Estimate tool you already tried out when finding your city’s rates.

You can directly reach the ride calculator that works for all cities by heading to this page.

Then, enter your pick-up and drop-off destinations, and tap “Get Estimate” to see Lyft estimates for all available ride types.

Another option for Lyft estimates is to use the Lyft website.

  1. Navigate to Lyft.com/cities.
  2. Enter your city into the box labeled “Find My City” or click on your city from the full list below.
  3. Add a pick-up location.
  4. Add a destination.
  5. Click the “Get estimate” button to reveal an approximate trip cost.
Ride types on Lyft Price Estimate

Enter the pick-up location and destination to get a Lyft quote from within their website.

Like using the Lyft app, the Lyft website’s fare estimator is fairly basic and doesn’t go into a great amount of detail about pricing or travel times. It’s great for basic quotes, but if you want the full data, use the app method below.

If you’re planning on requesting your ride soon, you may also want to take into account current Prime Time pricing.

In this case, you can simply pull up your Lyft app on your smartphone and enter your pick-up and drop-off destinations.

You can then view real-time prices without requesting your ride quite yet.

2. The Lyft App

Lyft Estimate Cost: Get an Accurate Price Estimate for Your City

Riders can open the app and get a ride cost within the app before they take a ride.

Lyft added upfront pricing into the app recently, allowing riders to see exactly how much they will pay before they request the ride.

  1. Open the Lyft rider app and enter a pick-up location. Once “Set pickup” is tapped, your pick-up location will be locked in.
  2. Enter a destination for the quote by tapping “Add Destination” below the pick-up location.
  3. Once pick-up location and destination are entered, you’ll see a vehicle icon.
  4. Tapping the vehicle icon takes you to the different types of rides, and when each one is tapped, detailed ride pricing is revealed.

The steps to take to get a Lyft estimate within the rider app.

Using the Lyft app to estimate the cost of a Lyft ride is quick and easy, but it’s not as detailed as many users would like it to be.

If you’re on the road and need to quickly check the ride cost, this can be helpful, but if you would like more detailed information including map routes, city-specific pricing, or Prime Time alerts, stick to using our tool above.

3. Ridester Pricing Tool

Lyft Price Estimate from Ridester

Alternatively, you can get the best of both worlds with our Ridester Pricing Tool.

This tool can help you calculate Lyft estimates with real-time Prime Time pricing, like your Lyft app, but you’ll also be able to get a more detailed breakdown of how your local rates are affecting your total cost.

There are two ways to calculate a Lyft fare: the hard way and the easy way.

The hard way involves using pen and paper (or a spreadsheet), hunting through Lyft’s pricing formula, and manually figuring out what a fare would cost.

On the other hand, the easy way would be to use our nifty Lyft estimate calculator to do the math for you.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Enter your pick-up point in the first box.
  2. Enter your drop-off point in the second box.
  3. Click the “Estimate Lyft Fare” button, and you’ll get a real-time estimate!

We told you it’s easy to use. Give it a try yourself.

Why Use Our Lyft Estimator Widget

We worked hard to pack as much as we could into our Lyft calculator.

Here are some things it can do for you:

  • Lyft fare estimates: Easily get accurate, real-time fare quotes calculated with data from the Lyft API. Your estimate will be as accurate as possible without using a crystal ball to see into the future.
  • Lyft vehicle pricing: Get quotes that include pricing for the different types of Lyft vehicles in your city. Figure out how much it’ll cost to arrive in style.
  • Prime Time updates: Our tool takes into account changes in Prime Time pricing, so you’re aware of price increases. Never get caught out with Prime Time pricing again.
  • City-specific quotes: Don’t want to use pick-up and drop-off locations to calculate a ride? You can still get an estimate with our tool on a per-city basis. This is perfect whether you’re traveling in New York, San Francisco, or anywhere in between.
  • Popular estimates: Find out what the most popular quotes users are calculating in real time.

On top of these, you can also share your route and estimate with others.

This might be handy if you’re planning a conference or a work trip amongst colleagues.

This widget is constantly being updated and fine tuned based on user feedback, so check back regularly for more features.

How You’re Charged After Your Lyft Ride

Because demand is always changing, Lyft fare estimates don’t always get you the exact price you pay.

You will always be charged based on the upfront fee that you see on your Lyft app right before requesting your ride.

As soon as your ride ends, Lyft will charge your credit card or debit card with the price you read.

However, there are a handful of common situations — which no Lyft estimator will be able to anticipate — that may warrant additional charges on top of your upfront fee.

These include:

  • When you tip your driver: Tips are customary when ridesharing, but since it’s up to you to select your own gratuity amount after your ride, it won’t be included in any Lyft estimate. Gratuity will typically show up on your credit card statements as a separate charge from your upfront fee, since you have up to 72 hours to tip your Lyft driver.
  • When you pass a toll: The exact cost of any tolls you pass will be charged to your account to reimburse your Lyft driver. You may be charged a return fee if passing a toll causes your driver to be outside of Lyft’s coverage area.
  • If you leave a mess: A damage fee of $25 to $250 may be charged based on the severity of the mess you leave.
  • If you leave behind an item and need it returned: A lost-and-found fee of $15 will be charged to compensate your driver for their return efforts.

Other voluntary fees that may arise and are not included in Lyft estimates include cancellation fees and fare adjustments (for any changes in destination or added stops).

Both of these fees replace your upfront fee.

Sample Lyft Ride Fare

Here are a few examples of what you might expect from Lyft ride fares in Chicago, Dallas, and Phoenix in the US.

We based all the following sample fares on the cost of a Lyft ride between a city’s museum and another location five miles away within the same city.

The basic Lyft cost for a 5-mile ride ran between $9 and $18.

Sample Lyft Fare for Chicago

Using the Lyft rate calculator, From the Chicago Midway International Airport to the Illinois Institute of Technology located on 35th St you can expect to pay the following rates:

  • Standard Lyft personal rate: between $24-$28
  • Supersized XL Lyft rate: between $36-$40
  • High-end XL Lyft rate: between $40-$45
  • Luxury rides in Lux Black Lyft rates: between $60-$65
  • Spacious luxury ride in Lux Black XL: $77-$84

This ride will take approximately 18 minutes.

Sample Lyft Fare for Dallas

Using the Lyft rate calculator, from the Dallas Love Field Airport on Herb Kelleher Way to the Museum of Illusions on Ross Avenue, Dallas Texas, you can expect to pay the following ratea:

  • Standard Lyft personal rate: between $20-$25
  • Supersized XL Lyft rate: between $25-$30
  • High-end XL Lyft rate: between $42-$49
  • Luxury ride in Lux Black Lyft rate: between $60-$70
  • Spacious luxury ride in Lux Black XL Lyft rate: between $86-$89

This ride will take approximately 18 minutes.

Sample Lyft Fare for Phoenix

Using the Lyft rate calculator, from the airport in Phoenix, Arizona on East Washington Street to the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa, you can expect to pay the following rates:

  • Standard Lyft personal rate: between $24-$28
  • Supersized XL Lyft rate: between $36-$40
  • High-end XL Lyft rate: between $40-$45
  • Luxury ride in Lux Black Lyft rate: between $60-$65
  • Spacious luxury ride in Lux Black XL Lyft rate: between $77-$84

This ride will take approximately 14 minutes.

How Lyft Payments Work

Riders pay for their Lyft ride directly through the app. The driver calculation begins when the passengers are in the car, and they have clicked on pick up in the app.

Payment Types Accepted by Lyft

Lyft accepts all major credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards (like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover).

You can also link your checking account or use apps such as Lyft gift cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Venmo in some cities.

However, you also must have a valid debit or credit card on file. The app will let you know if the card you have on file will expire soon in case it’s been a while since your last ride request.

Prepaid cards are accepted as a form of payment, as long as they are added to your Lyft account.

  • Lyft gift cards are not an option to cover your driver’s tip or charges due to cancellation or damage.
  • Lyft does not take cash as a form of payment.

The Payment Process After a Ride

Your Lyft ride will begin with a temporary authorization to ensure your payment method works and can fund your ride.

You may see pending transactions related to your payment method when you do any of the following:

  • Create a Lyft account for the first time
  • Put in a request for a ride
  • Payment method changes
  • Final destination changes
  • Add extra stops on your route
  • Rent a bike or scooter from Lyft

5-7 days after you complete a ride (or cancel it) and Lyft formally charges you, Lyft pre-authorization charges will disappear from your bank account and change to final charges.

You can tell the difference between an authorization charge before your ride and the final charge because it will include the total number of Lyft rides you took for the day along with the date of the rides like this: Lyft *3 rides 8/25 lyft.com/charges.

Can I Get a Lyft and Pay Later?

You cannot pay later for a Lyft ride. When you request a Lyft ride, the system will attempt to use your default payment method.

If Lyft declines the default payment method, it will ask you to select a different payment method. You cannot ride without a valid payment method.

However, riders can opt-in to buy now and pay later for Lyft services using third party companies. If interested, riders can use Quadpay to pay for your next Lyft with interest-free payments with 25% of all costs upfront.

Can You Split a Lyft Ride With Somebody Else?

There once was an option in the Lyft app to split the cost of the ride with another rider. However, Lyft removed their ride-splitting feature in 2018 and haven’t added it back.

Most people don’t carry much cash with them these days to help split the cost of a ride. However, you can use Venmo or PayPal to divide payments with other people in your riding party.

How to Save Money When Using Lyft

Here’s how you can lower the cost of your Lyft ride using four of the most effective tips:

  • Use the “wait and save” option if you’re not in a hurry; you’ll get cheaper rates just by waiting longer.
  • Request shared rides, where you can save up to half the original fare by traveling with another rider.
  • Actively look for promotions and discounts on Lyft’s website and social media platforms; you can find some decent offers there.
  • Subscribe to a Lyft plan if you’re a frequent user, and you can save a ton with its special pricing and exclusive discounts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Lyft Have a Minimum Fare?

Yes, Lyft has a minimum fare set in case of super short trips that don’t fairly compensate the driver. The fare varies depending on the city and the type of ride you select.

In Los Angeles, for example, the minimum fare for standard rides is $2.83 and $6.00 for Lyft XL.

Is Lyft Cheaper Than Uber?

A recent study of major cities in the U.S. revealed that Lyft is more expensive than Uber. However, you should understand that, generally, both apps rely on adaptive pricing. This means that one of them may be cheaper at a certain time and location and pricier at another.

Wrapping Up

Various factors and fees can affect the cost of your ride with Lyft, and it’s best that you familiarize yourself with them.

Believe us when we say that it’s the only way you can ensure your future trips are smooth and free of unpleasant surprises.

Don’t forget to make the most of your ridesharing experience by using our cost-cutting hacks on your upcoming rides!

Leave a Comment

vector graphic showing a shipt membership card in front of a bag of groceries
  • Pricing

Shipt Memberships Work [& Should You Subscribe?]

April 19, 2024
7 min read
FRH Article Default
  • Pricing

Is DoorDash Cheaper Than Uber Eats? A Price Comparison

March 25, 2024
6 min read
vector graphic showing an image displaying a grubhub perks illustration
  • Pricing

Grubhub Perks Available To Customers [& How To Claim]

March 4, 2024
2 min read