Today is the rideshare driver strike across the country. Learn more about the first strike and why it happened here, and follow along on Twitter as Harry attends the strike in LA. For more information on strikes planned across the country, visit the Rideshare Drivers United page here.
Lyft recently rolled out new Personal Power Zones in cities across the country. What are ‘personal power zones’ and how do they compare to Uber’s ‘new’ surge? RSG contributor Paula Gibbins answers those questions, plus how Lyft’s Personal Power Zones will affect drivers, below.
About a week ago, I got an email from Lyft with the subject line “Now available: Personal Power Zones”. Obviously, I was intrigued right away. What does this mean for me as a driver? Is this going to be better because it’s personalized, or will it detract from earning potential? For some reason, I think I knew the answer without having to read the e-mail.
Today, I’m going to dive into what these new Personal Power Zones are that are replacing Prime Time and what they may mean.
So, What is a Personal Power Zone, Anyway?
According to the Lyft website, “Personal Power Zones appear when there’s high demand nearby, making it easy to see exactly where you’ll earn bonuses.” Lyft’s Personal Power Zones will be replacing the well-known Prime Time earnings. These new individualized zones are based on the location of the driver, so you don’t have to drive far to get to the zone in order to earn the bonus during those peak times.
Instead of 150% Prime Time, for example, you’ll now see the exact amount in dollars that you’re going to get as a bonus. This will eliminate the guesswork and wondering if you got as much as you were supposed to, since Lyft never notified drivers of Prime Time like Uber did with surge rides on the acceptance screen.
Keep in mind, this Personal Power Zone is going to be replacing Prime Time that Lyft has been using for years. It wasn’t made clear if there will be a phasing out of Prime Time, but the link in the email clearly said that Personal Power Zones will be taking the place of Prime Time.
The outer purple zones feature a smaller bonus than if you were to drive into the pink zone, which is smaller and allows you to earn a higher bonus.
In the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, where my husband Adam and I drive, these Personal Power Zones were put into effect on April 15, 2019. On the first day of that, Adam went out to see what would happen. He ended up dropping off a passenger and was immediately within a pink zone. He snagged a screen shot that showed he was guaranteed $4.59 as a bonus on his next ride:
The longer he stayed in that pink zone without getting a ride request, the higher the amount went up until he reached a guaranteed bonus of $5.16. On his earnings screen, this money shows up as “Ride bonuses” and is shown separately from the regular fare of the trip, so you can clearly see what you earned per ride within the zone(s). From the wording on Lyft’s website, it sounds like the pink zone is the only one where the number will keep climbing if you’re sitting in that zone waiting for a ride request. It seems like the purple zone is just whatever number they tell you when you’ve crossed into that boundary.
New Earnings Potential
Along with giving us the Personal Power Zones, Lyft also released a few changes to help maximize earning potential. One of the updates guarantees that you’ll receive your Personal Power Zone bonus if your passenger pickup spot is within the zone, even if you are not.
With Personal Power Zones, you’ll continue earning bonuses while using Destination Mode. This is something that greatly intrigued me because I utilize the Destination Mode almost daily when I’m picking up riders on my way into my regular job and on my way home. Not being able to earn those bonuses, even if you’re in the zone, just because you’re filtering your rides doesn’t make much sense from a driver perspective, so I was grateful to see that Lyft considered that and will allow us to continue earning those bonuses instead of punishing drivers who utilize that function.
They also say that coming soon is an alert system to let you know when you’re earning those bonuses.
Making Personal Power Zones Work for You
This is a bit of a tricky area right now. Since you’re only shown zones nearby, it’s hard to “play the system” by driving to high demand areas to earn more. If I’m in St. Paul, I will not necessarily see any higher earning points in Minneapolis. It seems like the whole point of the Personal Power Zone is to prevent drivers from having to chase the bonuses. A driver should be able to turn on their app and go where the money is when it’s within easy reach.
Now, that’s not to say that if you head somewhere else you won’t get a Personal Power Zone bonus. If you’re driving your usual day and end up on the opposite side from where you start, you’ll be given updated Power Zones that reflect where you currently are as opposed to where you were, say, a half an hour ago. So, if you know of something important going on somewhere else, you can still head there and will likely be met with a bonus if you hit it at the right time. But as far as your everyday driving goes, the zones will pop up where you are assuming there is higher demand at that time.
Of course, what this means for individual drivers will depend on several factors. In larger cities, it should cut down on aimless driving and chasing down extra money just to have it slip through your fingers as soon as you arrive in the zone. In smaller cities, it might not make much of a difference overall.
If you’re familiar with Uber’s new flat rate surge, this is basically the same concept. You’ll be notified of an extra dollar amount you’ll get for rides if picking up within the zone instead of being told a multiplier.
The overall impact is going to be determined over time. Personally, I never received much from Prime Time or Uber’s Surge pricing. So, I’ll be interested to see if I’ll make anything extra with the Personal Power Zones instead, especially being able to earn them while in Destination Mode along my daily commute.
Drivers, are Lyft’s Personal Power Zones live in your city? What do you think of this change?
Burnt Out Talking To Passengers? Deliver Food With Caviar!Click to Sign-up!
-Paula @ RSG
Latest posts by Paula Gibbins (see all)
- 3 Solutions to Solve Uber and Lyft’s Safety Issues - May 22, 2019
- Here’s What Drivers Should Expect from Uber Comfort - May 13, 2019
- Lyft is Replacing Prime Time with Personal Power Zones - May 8, 2019