- Lyft replaced Prime Time with Personal Power Zones to incentivize drivers during high-demand periods.
- Power Zones offered flat-rate bonuses, changing with location and driver, without affecting trip totals.
- Strategies for leveraging Power Zones include picking rush hours and not chasing distant zones for small bonuses.
- Despite PPZ discontinuation, understanding and efficiently utilizing remaining bonuses can enhance driver earnings during peak times.
What Are Lyft Power Zones?
The Personalized Power Zones (PPZ) used to be one of Lyft’s driver bonus systems. Within the payment system, Lyft would pay drivers a flat rate bonus on their next rides after staying in high-demand zones for a while.
Lyft initially offered the PPZ bonus to replace Prime Time, which is similar to Uber’s surge pricing strategy.
Many people believe that PPZ’s main goal was to keep Lyft drivers from going offline, shifting to Uber, or even using both apps at the same time when they don’t get immediate ride matches on Lyft.
Lyft has started cutting the support and promotion of the Power driver bonus. Now, they focus more on the Bonus Zone system.
How Power Zones Work
When the Power Zones was an active bonus system, drivers would see the zones pop up on their maps regularly.
There were two zones with different compensation tiers. The first (and largest) one was the purple area. Inside some purple zones, the driver could find a smaller pink zone with a higher rate.
When a driver gets to one of those zones, they start accumulating bonuses until they reach a maximum limit.
The zones, times, and bonus limits would all change based on the location and the driver. It’s also not clear how Lyft would assign these zones. They usually popped up around peak hours, though.
Here’s what a driver would need to do to get a Lyft PPZ bonus on their next ride:
- Locate a Personal Power Zone (pink or purple) on the map.
- Park or drive around the zone for a while.
- Accept the bonus that pops up by tapping anywhere on the screen.
- Wait for the first ride request or leave the zone to find a rider elsewhere without going offline.
Drivers could also get the Lyft power driver bonus without having to wait in the zones. But they’d have to accept a request from a rider somewhere in a pink or purple zone for that to happen.
Earnings Potential in Power Zones
The driver bonuses on Power Zones were flat rates and wouldn’t change based on the trip total. But they changed based on the zone area.
Lux and XL drivers also got higher bonuses than standard Lyft drivers.
On rare occasions, Lyft would pump up the power driver bonus if the demand was higher or the trip was longer than average. All extra amounts would then show up on the ride receipt.
For some rideshare drivers, the Personal Power Zone system was a predictable way of making extra money during busy times. Others found it unfair and not as profitable as the old percentage-based bonus system.
With the Prime Time dynamic pricing system, Lyft drivers used to get a percentage for ride requests in high-demand spots. Sometimes, Prime Time rates would go as high as 400% after Lyft quietly canceled the 200% cap.
Some drivers found there was a lower earning potential on the flat-rate-based PPZ payment system.
For instance, one driver reported that their earnings for two similar rides dropped from $12 (a 40% bonus) to a mere $4 (the PPZ incentive). This led some people to believe PPZs were a way for Lyft to charge customers more and pay drivers less.
Others disagreed, claiming that while the rates were lower, PPZ helped more Lyft drivers make extra cash. This would ultimately make the system more equitable.
Strategies for Leveraging Power Zones
Information about the Personal Power Zones bonus is disappearing from Lyft’s help pages, which leads us to believe that most drivers won’t even find active zones nearby.
But if the PPZ is still available in your region, you want to be smart about finding eligible rides on the driver app. Here are a few strategies for making the most of the PPZ payment system:
- Pick Rush Hours: Choose peak hours to drive around areas in your city that don’t have many active Lyft drivers. These spots have a higher chance of falling in a Power Zone.
- Wait for the Bonus to Max Out: The bonus takes a while to add up. You need to wait in the Power Zone (preferably a pink one) to get the highest amount on your next ride.
- Don’t Chase the Power Zone: If the nearest zone is only five minutes or so, go for it. But it can be counterproductive to drive miles to an active Power Zone for a $3 bonus. You can always do regular rides instead to avoid wasting gas and time.
- Check the Rider’s Location: Rather than spend time around Power Zones, it could be easier to accept ride requests from riders in the zones.
- Try the Last Ride Trick: Some drivers that a Power zone will pop up as soon as they sign off for their last ride. They claim this happens because Lyft wants to keep drivers online.
Understanding Lyft’s Policies on Power Zones
Lyft didn’t impose any vehicle year, ride count, or acceptance rate restrictions on the Power Zone bonus system. But the main restriction was staying in the Driver Mode.
Once you leave the Driver Mode (or go offline), you’ll lose any bonuses accumulated while waiting in the Power Zone.
You could enter Destination Mode (to get matched with passengers on your route) or drive out of the Personal Power Zone entirely without losing the bonus. But the amount would stop adding up before maxing out, and the bonus notification tray would go gray.
Either way, Lyft power drivers had to accept the first request—they can’t cancel the ride or let the request lapse. Otherwise, Lyft would cancel their PPZ bonus.
Drivers also had to stay on track. If someone accepted a ride with a PPZ bonus, they needed to get to the pickup spot within five minutes of the original ETA. If they took longer than that, the app would rematch the ride and drop the first driver’s bonus.
Tips for Efficient Driving in Power Zones
Whether PPZ bonuses are still available in your region or not, it’s important to know how to operate efficiently during peak hours.
Here are some tips to make more as a driver on Lyft:
- Mark Your Dashboard: Consider getting the Lyft Amp or Glowemblem to help passengers find your car quickly, even in crowded spots.
- Know the Local Rush Hour: Use rideshare driver assistant apps, like Gridwise, to find the busiest times ideal for PPZ rides.
- Don’t Exit Driver Mode: If you’ll use tools like Wazeto avoid getting stuck in traffic (and potentially losing the bonus for being late), make sure you’re doing it on a different device.
- Work for Tips: Keep your car clean and provide amenities (chargers, water, mints, etc.) to pump up your Lyft driver rating and get decent tips. Some Lyft power drivers managed to get more in tips than in bonuses!
Monitoring and Responding to Power Zone Alerts
On the driver app, the map updates as you go. This means that drivers can’t see all the active zones right away.
For many Lyft drivers, the simplest way to monitor Power Zones was to scan a small radius around them on the map, looking for colored zones.
Not all highlighted zones that popped on the map came with bonuses, though. The orange and yellow zones also indicated high demand, but they only referred to hot spots. Picking up rides there didn’t guarantee a Lyft power driver bonus.
An even smarter approach was to look for scheduled PPZs in the region.
The schedules were available on the driver app under the Earnings tab with the estimated location, time, and bonus amount.
This approach made it easier for drivers to plan their day and get to the high-demand power zones in time if they thought the bonus amount was worth the effort.
If you were using an assistant application, like Gridwise, you could also set custom alerts and reminders about events that could correlate to Power Zones and hot spots.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Lyft Give You a Bonus for 100 Rides?
How Do Lyft Streak Zones Work?
When a Streak Zone pops up on the map, you should head to the highlighted area and accept the first ride request. This starts your Ride Streak. To get the multi-ride bonus, keep accepting every ride request until you finish the required number of rides.
Conclusion: Making the Most of Power Zones
The Personal Power Zone system incentivized drivers to stay online and stick around high-demand areas. But drivers could also benefit from the system and make more money during rush hours.
Instead of the PPZ, Lyft now offers the Bonus Zone system, where the bonus amount doesn’t increase by waiting in pink or purple zones. But it has similar requirements and is worth checking out if the idea of a real-time demand-based bonus appeals to you.