Lyft Changes the Rideshare Game with Up Front Prime Time
On the Uber driver application, drivers can see the surge pricing level on the map. The map on the Uber driver application shows various blocks and the percentage of Surge pricing. For a long time, Uber displays the Surge Pricing level when a driver receives a request so they can choose whether to accept or not based on the Surge pricing level. However, Lyft has never shown the Prime Time amount. In addition, the Prime Time level isn’t very clear on the map since it usually says “25%-200%” and shows various shades of red. Usually, there is just one square at 200%, and the rest is around 25%-50%, making the map very deceiving. Most drivers learned to just accept anything and keep driving.
Lyft Announces Up Front Prime Time
Lyft finally announced that they would display the Prime Time level of the trip when drivers get the request. They have always had this data, but never shown it to us until now. Personally when I know demand is high, I would drive on Uber since I like to know what the Surge pricing is, instead of guessing on Lyft. With this announcement, I would be more willing to be on Lyft during high times of demand.
This is definitely one of the most requested features on Lyft. This was the only feature Uber had that Lyft did not. With additional features like back to back rides and destination filter, Uber and Lyft from a driver perspective is very similar. However, I still believe that Uber’s destination filter is much better than Lyft’s own destination filter in Seattle. I’ve heard that Lyft’s destination filter is usable in some markets, but I have never gotten a match on Lyft.
Below, you can see the official announcement from a Lyft email a few days ago:
One of your most frequently-requested features has arrived! You’ll now be able to see Prime Time percentages with each request, whenever it’s in effect. This way, you’ll know exactly what you’re making before a trip even starts. Shout-out to all the drivers who suggested we build this, including the Driver Advisory Council.
Thoughts about Up Front Prime Time
Part of me believes that there will always be some drivers who will use this feature to cherry pick the best rides. However, I think this will be beneficial to many more drivers who accept most non-line trips anyway, like myself. Also, I would be much more likely to accept Lyft Line rides if I know there is some Prime Time on it. It is possible I would be able to get a Prime Time regular Lyft trip, but I rather not take the chance so I’ll accept a Prime Time Lyft Line ride.
I am sure that Lyft will be monitoring acceptance rates with this new feature, but I believe that it won’t change very much. Being that the Lyft Prime Time map is not very accurate (they have recently updated the map to show more precise Prime Time levels, which I haven’t used yet), I don’t believe that showing Prime Time will affect acceptance rate of veteran drivers. New drivers probably won’t accept it until it matches the top Prime Time percentage, but they’ll eventually learn that it doesn’t always match the top Prime Time percentage.
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