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Rideshare apps, like any service, have certain times when demand is greater. This is due to a variety of factors, including people getting off (or going to) work or people heading to and from events or nights on the town. At other times, however, the volume of requests is quite low, with only a few people requesting rides.
Considering the specific case of rideshare app Lyft, when are its peak hours? When do the most passengers request rides, and when are drivers getting the highest number of pickups? This can be valuable information for both Lyft passengers and drivers, so let’s examine it in more detail.
- Lyft Peak Hours: Why They Matter for Riders and Drivers
- When Do Lyft’s Busiest Hours Occur?
- How to Predict Lyft Demand
Lyft Peak Hours: Why They Matter for Riders and Drivers
You may be wondering why you should care what the peak hours are for Lyft. Does it matter to your life at all? If you use or drive with Lyft, then it certainly does matter (if you care about saving and making money).
For riders, Lyft’s peak hours matter because traveling during them can increase the price of your fare. Think about it: If you’re requesting a Lyft ride when lots of other people are doing so, it can cause the demand for rides to exceed the supply of available drivers. This can result in surge pricing, potentially increasing the price you pay by 1.5x, 2x, or even 3x in extreme cases.
If you know when the peak hours are, then you can plan your travel to avoid them, thus reducing the amount you spend to get to your destination. As a bonus, it will likely take you less time to travel to where you’re going if you get a ride outside of peak hours, as these tend to come with longer travel times.
As a Lyft driver, knowing the peak hours can also help you out financially. Instead of saving you money, however, driving during peak hours can increase your earnings. The same surge pricing that is the bane of riders can be a boon to your bottom line.
Driving during peak hours won’t necessarily guarantee increased fares, as more drivers may come out to help meet the demand (especially after reading an article such as this one). But even if the individual fares don’t go up, driving during peak hours can also increase your chances of getting a pick up. This can contrast sharply with quieter hours, where you could waste time sitting around with the app on as you burn gas and wait for a ride request.
Finally, there are some circumstances in which driving during peak hours could result in special promotions such as the Power Driver Bonus. Lyft wants to have more drivers available to meet demand during Prime Time, so they offer incentives to get more drivers on the road. If you’re willing to be one of those drivers giving peak rides, you could earn good money even as a part-time driver.
When Do Lyft’s Busiest Hours Occur?
Lyft’s peak hours are when you’d logically expect them to be. To start, demand is higher when more people are traveling overall. This means that there will be a peak during the morning and evening rush hours as people head to and from work (or stop at a bar on the way home).
Beyond that, peak hours occur when people are out in large numbers but can’t or don’t want to drive. This means later in the evening on Friday night and Saturday night when people are heading out to the bars and clubs. You also get the flip side of this with the late night crowd of people heading home from the bars. To some degree, this will happen during the week as well, but it’s far more prominent on the weekends for obvious reasons.
As a driver, you can see the peak hours for your city from within the Lyft app. The hours tend to stay consistent each week, though special events can alter them. Lyft keeps a close eye on this, and they update the hours that appear in the driver app.
How to Predict Lyft Demand
While the above are good general guidelines for when Lyft’s peak hours are, demand can also vary dynamically based on weather conditions, sporting events, concerts, holidays, and other factors that cause people to use Lyft instead of driving themselves. Is there any way to predict when demand will go up? There is, but the specific method you should use will depend on whether you’re a Lyft driver or rider.
As a Lyft driver, you have access to tools that can show you where demand for rides is currently highest. If you’re in driver mode, you can see a heat map of your city that shows the demand using shades of light to dark pink. The darker the area, the higher the demand (and higher the potential surge prices).
You also can just stay aware of current events and conditions. If it’s a holiday, it’s probably a good day to drive. If the weather is bad (heavy rain or snow), then it’s likewise a good time to be out there, as people who might normally walk could be looking to take Lyft instead. Is there a big conference happening downtown? Then there are likely people who will be needing rides once it’s done for the day.
Lyft riders don’t have access to the same tools that drivers do for examining demand, but you can still use the same tools of logic and awareness of what’s going on in your city. If you know there’s a concert going on downtown, make sure you travel before or after it. Don’t decide to go out right when the concert is ending, or you might end up paying a hefty premium.
Use Peak Hours to Your Advantage as a Lyft Driver or Rider
Whether you’re driving with Lyft, riding with Lyft, or even doing both, understanding how peak hours work (and when they occur) can make a big difference in your financial situation. As a rider, you can avoid peak hours to save money. As a driver, on the other hand, you can use peak hours to boost your rideshare driver earnings, strategically choosing pickup locations that have high demand.
Curious how peak hours work for Uber drivers and Uber passengers? Check out our guide.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.