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Lyft’s Power Driver Bonus Gets More Restrictive in 2016

Lyft’s Power Driver Bonus Gets More Restrictive in 2016

A fellow driver (and loyal reader) sent in this email to me about the changes to the Power Driver Bonus. This bonus system awards drivers who drive more on the Lyft system. Here is the details of the current system:


Hit the road. Drive at least 30 hours a week to qualify.

  1. Drive during peak hours. Peak hours are the busiest times (scroll down for more info). Drive at least 10 peak hours to qualify for a Power Driver Bonus.
  2. Maintain a 90% acceptance rate. Make your best effort to accept passengers’ requests.

Power Driver Bonuses are included weekly when your earnings are transferred to your checking account. They reset each week, so if you go out of town or take a couple days off one week, you can start fresh the next.


Peak hours are the busiest times for Lyft — when we consistently need additional drivers on the road to satisfy demand.

Peak hours vary by region.

Since not every city has the same levels of demand, rush hours, and events, peak hours vary. Your summaries list peak hours in your city.

Need to change your driver region? Let us know and we’ll help you through the process.

Peak hours can change each week.

Lyft passengers are creatures of habit, so peak hours generally stay the same each week. That said, we keep our finger on the pulse of local demand and regional events, so you may notice that peak hours change every once in a while. Your summary will always have the most up-to-date info.

Partial hours count.

Peak hours are cumulative: If you drive 25 minutes of one peak hour, and 20 minutes during another peak hour, we count it as 45 minutes toward the 10-hour requirement.

Peak hours are tracked on summaries.

Your daily and weekly summaries display the peak hours you’ve completed, and your progress toward the Power Driver Bonus.

There are a few drivers taking advantage of this promotion, earning hundreds of dollars more a week. With 20% extra income, you can drive less and still earn as much as Uber so this should be your consideration when deciding which platform to drive on full time. The power driver bonus is very lucrative for a few drivers.

New Changes to Power Driver Bonus

So Lyft announced the changes over the weekend to the power driver bonus and it goes into effect December 14th, typically during a lull in the rideshare season due to the holidays. Note that this date was for SFO, SLC and SAN and the dates vary by market. I have received notification for Boston starting in a few weeks, with many other cities starting in January. Here are the changes:

My Take on the New Power Driver Bonus

This changes the entire program. I know of some drivers who drove during peak hours but didn’t get any rides during those times as they were usually far from hot zones. They would leave their app on all day, only get a few rides but still got the power driver bonus. It wasn’t much money as a bonus, but it was essentially free as they weren’t doing much to earn that bonus. These drivers would often drive on Uber during many of those hours. These changes should eliminate that loophole.

The requirements seem to be a bit tougher than the current system of driving 10 hours during peak times. 40 rides would be between 20-25 peak hours, but there would only be about 30 peak hours in any given week with the changes. It certainly takes away more of the freedom that Lyft and Uber promotes to prospective drivers.

The car requirement was a bit peculiar to me. Lyft’s requirement is only 2004 (updated from 2003 for 2016) (which is better than Uber’s 2000 requirement in many cities) so I am unsure why they are requiring such a new car. It is definitely a shift from affordable to more modern cars filling up the Lyft fleet and this could be part of their branding strategy. A few of my passengers have noted the lower quality of the Uber cars that are on the road and Lyft probably see this as an opportunity to differentiate them from Uber. Hopefully this will increase Lyft’s slipping market share in the rideshare industry. Luckily I do have a 2013 car in case I ever wanted to hit the Power Driver Bonus in the future.

Full Announcement:

Below is the full email I received:

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