Recently, Lyft announced it would be testing a Prime Time beta program for some drivers in Chicago. While not new (Lyft tried this new system in Tampa, FL, and Uber has made changes to its surge pricing), it isn’t until now that we had someone with firsthand experience write about this beta test. Today, we have a guest post from Mark Smithivas about Lyft’s Prime Time beta testing in Chicago.
I’m a part-time rideshare driver in Chicago, IL who has been driving for over a year with 3,000 rides under my belt. When I first started I only drove for Lyft, but added Uber about 4 months ago to augment my earnings. Uber now represents about 85% of my rides now simply because I get more rides and better bonuses on that platform.
Last week, I got an e-mail from Lyft that I was selected to be in a beta test of a new heat map scheme. No details were given on how this new scheme would work, other than a vague promise that it would address some of the issues brought up from previous driver feedback about the current Prime Time maps. Lyft previously tested this new system out in a smaller market (Tampa, Florida) and there was some outcry from drivers there about it.
Basically, the new system deploys a flat-rate bonus instead of a percentage-based multiplier. So instead of seeing a map with 25, 50, or 100% Prime Time, you would now see a map offering anywhere from $5-20 fixed bonus for a particular ride.
I decided to give the trial a fair shot since it sounds like something Lyft wants to eventually roll out nationwide. (Note: Uber has also announced a similar scheme rolling out in selected markets as well).