What Happens When You Only Drive for Lyft?

One of our top rideshare driver recommendations is to always drive for multiple companies (the multi-app strategy). Senior RSG contributor Sergio Avedian typically drives for both Uber and Lyft, but recently he decided to drive for Lyft only to see what it was like and what his earnings could be on just one app. Below, he shares his results and what he learned. 

I have done the bulk of my driving on the Uber platform for over five years now. For me, Lyft has been the second choice as a driver and a passenger. There are multiple reasons for that, but since Uber has reduced or totally eliminated incentives such as quests and consecutive ride bonuses (CRBs), I decided to strictly drive for Lyft a couple of weeks ago.

In a recent article, I had declared Uber as the winner of the rideshare wars in Los Angeles but since then, as I had expected, Uber either slashed or removed all incentives.

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However, to Lyft’s credit, they stuck with their plans of offering me 3 for $15-18 streaks throughout the weekdays and weekends. Multi-app driving is the key! When Uber falls out of love with a driver, switch to Lyft, as staying loyal to either company will not make you more money.

Pros and Cons of Driving for Lyft Only


  • Guaranteed earnings
  • Scheduled Rides
  • Streaks available throughout the day
  • No restrictions where streaks can begin
  • Improved app since the last update


  • Not seeing passenger destination before pick-up
  • Lack of Surge (Personal Power Zones or new bonus structure)
  • Long-distance pick-ups during streaks
  • Low Base rates (80 cents a mile, 12 cents a minute)
  • Oversaturated marketplace flooded with drivers

Guaranteed earnings do not mean much to me since I make more than what is offered, but for some new drivers, it may be a lifesaver.

I use Lyft scheduled rides from the suburbs where I live to get into the city where most of the ride requests are. It definitely is a tool that is helpful. Streaks without a geofenced area are something I depend on, especially when I am offered 3 for $18. They certainly add up and the weekend I decided to drive for Lyft, streaks were the main reason for me to do so.

My major beef for driving Lyft is not knowing the destination of the passenger before I start the ride. I am aware that Lyft saves that privilege for its top rideshare ants with a 100% Acceptance Rate and a 0% Cancelation Rate, but as independent contractors, we should all be entitled to that.

As I will break down my earnings further down the article, my total driven miles went through the roof and the algorithm fed me long ride after long ride during attempted streaks. With super low base rates and no PPZ or Bonus to speak of, it is very difficult to be profitable.

Also, as it was before the pandemic, oversaturation is a major problem in Los Angeles again.

Does this happen to you, drivers? You just finished two legs of the three rides required to complete a streak and the third one is either a long ride or a 10-mile pickup? This happened to me over and over that weekend! I am not sure if it is a coincidence or just bad luck.

Leave in the comments if this is a regular occurrence for you.

My Results and Earnings Breakdown

29 rides with a $17.70 average, including tips

  • $33 per Online Hour including tips
  • $41 per booked hour including tips
  • $1.42 per Booked Mile
  • $1.10 per mile total miles driven

As much as these numbers look good on the surface, I came up with a different breakdown of my Gross Earnings. I definitely drove a lot more miles than I planned for.

Since Lyft only reports your Booked Miles, I figured I drove another 100 miles for pick-ups and dead miles to reposition myself. So let’s take our 2022 IRS mileage deduction of 58.5 cents per mile and figure out my numbers.

Total miles of 459×58.5 cents = $268.50

$512.84 – $268.50 = $244.34 NET

$244.34  / 15.50H = $15.76 per Online Hour

That is less than minimum wage in CA. I could do better than that by getting a W-2 job these days. And please, don’t talk to me about “freedom and flexibility”, my door-to-door hours are probably more than app-on hours, so those numbers would be worse.

How Did Lyft Do?

Lyft did very well, thank you! The total gross amount passengers paid was $734.81 (including tips, airport fees, and donations). I thought with all the streaks offered, Lyft would lose money, but their algorithms managed to charge enough per ride for them to be very profitable indeed.

$715.58 – $513.84 = $201.74 +$1.00 = $202.74 Lyft Net

$202.74 / $715.58 = 28.30% Take/Hold Rate

My net earnings after the 58.5 cents per mile deduction were $244.34, and Lyft netted $202.74.

Takeaways for Drivers

Every driver should be smart enough to drive for both platforms because loyalty or singling out one or the other is costing you money. I know exactly what it takes to operate my car, do you?

When you factor in the IRS deduction for mileage for 2022 of 58.5 cents per mile, you may be working for less than minimum wage in your state.

I used to think that the deduction was high at 56 cents a mile for 2020, but with inflation soaring and everything we buy (gas, auto parts, tires, maintenance, cleaning, etc.) to operate our vehicles going up on a weekly basis, I think for relatively newer cars, 58.5 cents per mile deduction is a valid number these days.

Don’t just look at your hourly earnings, make sure that when you drive you are profitable. After all, our goal should be to make the most amount of money in the least amount of time.

Do you drive for one company more than the other? Which company is more profitable for you?

-Sergio @ RSG