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How to Schedule Lyft Rides In Advance

Last updated: September 23, 2021
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vector graphic showing hand holding phone and user in the process of schedule lyft rides

Wouldn’t it be great if you could schedule a Lyft ride in advance and avoid wondering whether you can find a Lyft driver when you need one?

Good news awaits you below.

You’ll learn how to do precisely that when you need to get somewhere while feeling some extra peace of mind.

Lyft lets you schedule a future destination similar to the way that you can schedule an Uber ride.

Let’s discuss everything you need to know about the Lyft scheduling feature.

What Is a Scheduled Lyft Ride?

A scheduled Lyft ride is one you arrange some time in advance of when you need to take the trip.

You can make this appointment using the app or a laptop device.

How Scheduled Rides Work

Nuances exist with the Lyft scheduled ride feature that you need to understand.

Let’s break down how scheduled Lyft rides work.

vector graphic showing hand holding phone and user in the process of schedule lyft rides

Overview of How These Rides Work

Generally speaking, a scheduled Lyft ride reduces some of the anxiety that can arise when you’re trying to get somewhere important.

This stress can occur no matter where you live.

If you live in a big city like Denver, Los Angeles, or New York, then it seems as though Lyft drivers are everywhere.

However, you might find that rush hour times make it necessary to wait for drivers to show up.

On the other hand, you may live in the suburbs and wonder if you’re going to have a driver in the area to take you to a scheduled work event.

Things to Know

Here are three vital things to know about how Lyft runs its scheduled ride feature.

1. How Far in Advance Can I Schedule a Lyft Ride?

You can schedule a Lyft ride up to seven days in advance.

2. Scheduled Ride Times Are Windows, Not Specific Times

It’s not possible to schedule a Lyft ride for a specific pickup time.

Instead, you tell the Lyft app when you need a ride, and then you’re offered a window of time.

For instance, you might see that the mobile app says a driver will show up between 2 PM and 2:10 PM when you ask for a 2 PM Lyft ride.

3. Is a Scheduled Lyft Ride Guaranteed?

Lyft doesn’t guarantee your ride at the time of scheduling it.

The Lyft algorithm estimates how likely it is that a driver will be available when you need one.

If it looks likely that the app can connect a driver to your trip, then Lyft will finalize your scheduled ride for you.

The only way to know whether your scheduled Lyft ride will happen is after a driver accepts the ride during the scheduled window.

Your trip likely gets fulfilled because Lyft drivers need to stay mindful of their acceptance rating.

Common Reasons to Schedule Lyft in Advance

You can use a scheduled Lyft ride for any purpose.

Here are some of the common reasons people schedule a Lyft in advance.

1. Airport Rides

Using Lyft’s scheduling feature for airport rides represents one of the most common reasons to use the service.

How many times have you felt stressed when you realized you needed a ride within the next 30 minutes to make your flight on time?

You can avoid those feelings and enjoy the process by scheduling that airport run at any time during the week leading up to your required Lyft ride.

2. Don’t Want to Rely on Friends or Family

No one really enjoys taking a friend or family member to the airport or on errands.

Avoid this dependence on friends or family and take away anxiety about Lyft drivers being in your given area by scheduling your rides.

Most people use Lyft because they’re going to a destination that requires getting there at a specific time.

You can schedule your timely arrival whenever you need to get to an important business meeting, a concert, the doctor, watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, or make the next train ride into the city.

How Reliable is Scheduling a Lyft?

The reliability of a Lyft scheduled ride depends on a couple of factors.

The first factor to consider is when you need the ride.

If you need the ride at midnight when fewer drivers do their work, then Lyft might have trouble matching you with a driver.

Where you need the Lyft ride to pick you up factors in as well.

You’ll discover that most Lyft drivers usually congregate in larger cities where plenty of Lyft riders need their services.

It’s not as easy to depend on a scheduled Lyft ride the further away you live from a big city.

If you live in the suburbs, it might become tough to find a driver, even during rush hour times.

Are Lyft Scheduled Rides Available in My Area?

There’s no way to know whether Lyft offers its scheduled ride service in your area ahead of time.

The only way to know for sure is to try scheduling a ride inside the Lyft app.

If you see the option to schedule the ride, then you’ll know you’re inside a zone where Lyft supports scheduled trips.

How Much Do Scheduled Lyft Rides Cost?

Many Lyft passengers wonder if they’ll get charged differently when scheduling rides.

Let’s explore this issue.

Do Scheduled Rides Cost More Than Regular Rides?

You won’t pay any additional amount to schedule a ride.

Lyft bases its trip fares on distance, time, and traffic congestion, which applies equally to on-demand and scheduled trips.

Fees to Schedule Lyft Rides

You won’t experience any additional fees to schedule a ride with the Lyft app.

Your Lyft fare estimate gets calculated by the time, distance, and demand factors that exist at the time of your ride.

When You Schedule a Ride, Is it a Guaranteed Price?

Lyft honors the quoted price you get at the time of scheduling, which means that you get a guaranteed price when you schedule a ride.

The company tries to estimate any surge pricing that might exist at the time of your future trip.

This feature is different from the way the Uber app schedules rides.

Uber won’t add any projected surge pricing at the time of your quote as Lyft does.

Instead, Uber will notify you of added surge charges after your driver accepts the Uber ride.

You then have the option to cancel if you don’t like the new price.

How to Schedule a Lyft Ride

Now that you understand some reasons to schedule a Lyft ride, let’s look at how to do it.

The process requires just a few steps:

1. Set your pickup location

Open the Lyft app.

Lyft will automatically use your current location.

If you’d like to set a different pickup location, you can type it in.

How to Schedule a Lyft Ride

2. Set your drop-off location

Next, you’ll need to enter your drop-off location.

Type in an address or pick a location on the map.

How to Schedule a Lyft Ride - Search destination

3. Schedule your ride

Once you have your drop-off location set, tap the “Schedule” button on the menu that appears:

How to Schedule a Lyft Ride - Click schedule

Then, choose the time and date that you want.

How to Schedule a Lyft Ride - Enter pickup time

Note that you’ll see a range of pickup times based on the time you choose.

This is because Lyft cannot guarantee a precise pickup time, only a range of times.

If you’re concerned about being late, then pick an earlier time to be safe.

When you’re happy with your pickup time, tap “Set pickup time.”

How to Schedule a Lyft Ride - Set pickup time

Finally, tap “Schedule” to confirm.

How to Schedule a Lyft Ride - Confirm

4. Be ready for your driver at your pickup time and location

Don’t forget about your scheduled ride.

Lyft will send you reminders leading up to the ride to make sure you remember it.

Note that it is possible for your driver to arrive early.

If this happens, your driver will wait for you until the scheduled pickup time.

If your driver is here and you need a few more minutes, it’s courteous to contact them through the app so that they know why they’re waiting.

Schedule a Ride 7 Days in Advance

You can schedule your ride for any time within the next seven days.

Again, you will tell Lyft the precise date and time of day by using the clock icon during your scheduling actions.

Schedule a Trip from the Airport

You can’t schedule trips from the airport.

It can only happen when you need a ride to an airport.

Once you get off a plane and need a ride home or to a hotel, then you need to look for a driver at that moment.

From there, go to the airport’s rideshare area to get picked up.

What to Expect After Scheduling a Lyft Ride

Let’s discuss what happens after you set up a future trip with Lyft.

How do I Know if my Scheduled Lyft Ride Has Been Accepted?

Lyft gives you a “success” screen after you’ve successfully scheduled your next trip.

As well, a calendar icon appears at the upper-right corner of your screen.

Click on it at any time to bring the details of your upcoming trip into view.

Does Lyft Confirm Scheduled Rides?

Lyft confirms that your scheduled ride is “on the books” immediately after clicking to ensure your ride details.

Lyft also sends a push notification to your Android or iPhone smartphone via the app as your ride nears.

How Do I Know When My Scheduled Lyft is Coming?

You’ll know for sure that your scheduled Lyft is on the way after a driver accepts the trip.

The Lyft app shows you your driver’s information and how long it will take for them to arrive at your pickup address.

Cancelling Scheduled Lyft Rides

Lyft makes it easy to cancel any scheduled trip.

Here’s everything you need to know about the cancellation process.

Lyft’s Cancellation Policy for Scheduled Rides

Lyft lets you cancel a scheduled ride at any time.

You can cancel without an extra cancellation fee by doing it before the app matches you to a driver.

Fees Incurred When Cancelling

You’ll only get charged cancellation fees if you do so after a driver receives the ping, accepts the ride, and is on their way to pick you up.

In this case, Lyft charges you fees that match its standard cancellation policy.

Check out Lyft’s cancellation policy page for more information about Lyft’s typical cancellation fee policy.

How to Cancel a Scheduled Lyft

While scheduling a ride in advance is convenient, sometimes your plans change.

In these cases, you may need to cancel your scheduled Lyft ride.

This requires only a couple steps.

First, open the Lyft app.

Then, tap the calendar icon in the upper righthand corner to view a list of your scheduled rides:

How to Schedule a Lyft Ride - Cancel

To cancel a scheduled ride, tap “Cancel ride.” 

How to Schedule a Lyft Ride - Cancel ride

Then, confirm the cancellation by tapping “Cancel.”

How to Schedule a Lyft Ride - Confirm cancellation

Note that you won’t have to pay a cancellation fee for canceling a scheduled ride, unless the following apply:

  • You cancel the ride after a driver has been matched,
  • The driver is on their way to pick you up, and
  • The driver is scheduled to arrive within the designated pickup window

This is the same cancellation policy that applies to all Lyft rides.

Why Can’t I Schedule a Lyft in Advance?

You may sometimes discover that the option to schedule a Lyft ride doesn’t appear inside your app.

Not Available in Your City

One of the main reasons you can’t schedule a trip is because Lyft doesn’t offer that option to the city you’re located in.

Why is the Lyft Schedule Greyed Out?

You’ll see a greyed-out scheduling option if the feature isn’t available in your city or if you’re trying to schedule a ride type that doesn’t qualify for future scheduling.

You can only schedule standard Lyft rides.

Lyft doesn’t let you schedule Lyft XL, Lyft Lux, or other non-standard trip types.

When NOT to Schedule Lyft Rides in Advance

Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense to try and schedule a Lyft ride.

mobile phone showing a Lyft power zone on the screen

1. If You Live in the Suburbs

Don’t schedule a Lyft ride if you’re confident that a driver won’t be in your suburban neighborhood when you need the ride.

If you’re not sure about driver availability, then test out whether drivers typically navigate through your town when you want to schedule a ride.

Do you need a ride at 3 PM in one week?

If so, then check out in real-time how many Lyft drivers appear as available on the app at 3 PM a few days before your desired trip date.

You’ll know that you should arrange other transportation if you don’t see many drivers available on your test dates.

2. Can’t Miss a Ride

Never schedule a Lyft ride if you must get a ride on time in smaller towns.

It’s probably better to arrange for a friend, family member, or taxi to show up for you in those cases.

That way, you won’t get left alone because you tried to schedule during slow Lyft times.

3. Airport Arrivals

You can schedule after landing at an airport because Lyft doesn’t allow for this.

Instead, you need to get off the plane, walk to the rideshare area, and request a ride as needed.

Downsides to Scheduled Lyft Rides

Consider that scheduling Lyft rides does come with a couple of downsides.

1. Drivers Show Up Early

A Lyft driver may show up early when scheduling a ride because Lyft provides their pickup time window.

Its algorithm does its best to predict when a driver will sit close to your pickup location when you schedule the trip.

However, a driver might accept your trip and discover that they are only two minutes from your location.

This discovery means the driver might show up before you expect because you assumed you had that longer window of time to get ready.

The best thing to do after scheduling a Lyft ride is to make sure you’re ready at the beginning of the estimated time window.

2. Extra Costs

It’s possible to pay a little more for a scheduled Lyft ride.

Remember when we talked above about the way Lyft estimates the cost?

It builds in the possibility of surge pricing at the time of your ride.

You will have paid less if surge pricing ends at a lower price than the original estimate.

Frequently Asked Questions

You might have further questions that need answering before scheduling a Lyft ride.

Can you schedule a ride by phone?

You can’t make a phone call to schedule a Lyft ride.

You can, however, use your smartphone to plan a ride directly on the Lyft app.

Can you order a Lyft from a laptop?

Yes, you can order a Lyft from a laptop, desktop, or tablet.

If you don’t have your phone with you, then simply log into your Lyft account online from any computer browser.

The Lyft website will ask for your phone number to provide you access to your account.

From there, you can order the desired trip.

Can you schedule a Lyft in advance for someone else?

Yes, you can schedule a ride for a friend.

Enter their address (or drag the pin) as the pickup location and then set the trip for the correct pickup date and time.

What if Lyft is late?

If Lyft is late to your pickup, you can cancel the trip and look for an alternative driver.

Can I request a specific Lyft driver when I schedule?

No, you cannot request a specific Lyft driver.

As with any Lyft ride, your driver is matched with you based on their proximity to your location.

Does Uber have a scheduled rides feature?

Yes, Uber has a very similar feature.

It works the same way, though it allows you to request rides up to 30 days in advance instead of just seven.

Wrapping Up

Are you ready to schedule a trip with Lyft?

All you need to do is open up the app and give it a try.

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