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?

    In this Throwback Classic article, we’re updating you on a popular topic: Lyft’s Personal Power Zones! RSG contributor Paula Gibbins originally wrote this article, and today we have updates from RSG contributor Sergio Avedian on how Lyft’s PPZ is affecting drivers.

    A few weeks ago, I got a couple of emails from Lyft with the subject line “Find high demand nearby“ & New! 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? Keep reading!

    personal power zones

    Lyft personal power zones

    Regarding the email on the left above, I was always able to find high demand Lyft, by positioning myself in the expected PT (Prime Time) zones – here comes a 100% Prime Time ride my way!

    As far as the email on the right above, I swear, I have never given Lyft any feedback as far as being unhappy with PT. I don’t know whose feedback that was, maybe it was from drivers in a rural town in Iowa with 200 passengers.

    Reliable earnings is up to our individual skills as IC (Independent Contractors). Not everyone is supposed to earn the same amount, like in every other business, some people excel, most are average and some people will suck at it. With this move they are taking away our individuality, skills necessary to have success as a rideshare driver and equalize the playing field.

    4 Things You Need to Know About Lyft’s Personal Power Zones


    So, What Are Lyft Personal Power Zones Anyway?

    According to the Lyft website, Personal Power Zones appear when there’s high demand nearby, the screenshot on the right below shows you where high demand is, Lyft’s Personal Power Zones (PPZ) will be replacing the well-known Prime Time (PT) 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 according to Lyft. After testing PPZ (Personal Power Zones) in detail, here is what I discovered.

    lyft personal power zones

    Instead of 150% Prime Time, for example on the screenshot above in the middle, you’ll now see the exact amount in dollars that you’re going to get as a bonus on top of a base (80 cents a mile & 12 cents a minute in Los Angeles) fare. As soon as you enter the pink Personal Power Zone box, you are eligible for the larger bonus of the two.

    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.

    Unlike Uber’s flat rate surge, driving straight through it doesn’t make the bonus stick. You have to be parked in the PPZ box in order for the bonus to grow. As long as you stay in the pink bonus zone, it will move higher by a couple of pennies every other second with a limit that is only known to Lyft.

    Most Personal Power Zone bonus amounts start a $1.50-$2.50 regardless of rush hour traffic and other conditions. If you leave the pink box before the bonus tops out, it will travel with you and will be applied to the next ride request as long as you don’t turn the app off. However, the next ping may be 15 minutes away, but you have to accept whatever Lyft throws your way in order to qualify for that bonus.

    Being in the pink PPZ does not guarantee that you’ll get a ping because you may be in a dead area, and you may end up waiting for 15 minutes or longer. The outer purple zones feature a smaller bonus and the same rules apply. As of June 3, everyone in Los Angeles is on PPZ. In other cities, the new Personal Power Zones rolled out in April 2019.

    Bonuses on Shared and DF (Destination Filter) Rides and Cancellations

    Shared rides on Lyft are eligible for the smaller or larger bonuses as explained above as long as you’re in the zone, but unfortunately Lyft decided to only pay the driver just one bonus for the whole string, like how the Freebird promo code works. Since the driver is unable to turn new requests off, unlike Uber after the first pickup, Lyft may pile on passenger after passenger to the existing shared ride. You could be picking up and dropping of multiple passengers during this trip, but you’re only eligible for one bonus.

    On DF (Destination Filter) trips, if a pink box pops up where you are and you had deployed one of your six Lyft DF, it does not move higher every few seconds like a regular Lyft or a shared ride. It stays flat. However, when you remove the DF, the bonus starts increasing a few pennies every few seconds. That is probably Lyft’s way of punishing the driver for using DF.

    Cancelled rides by the driver for a passenger no-show or passenger cancellations that qualify for cancellation fees, the bonus remains the same – it does not move higher every few seconds but it is transferred to your next trip.

    How Do Lyft’s Personal Power Zones Show Up on Your Earnings Tab?

    Once you complete a ride (all rides now are at base rates for your city), the earnings tab displays your trips as follows. The ride bonus is the new PPZ (Personal Power Zone) instead of PT (Prime Time).

    lyft ppz

    I have reluctantly done some rides with PPZ to test it, and my premonition was correct. Now I only try stick to Scheduled or DF rides since I have discovered that PPZ (Personal Power Zones) is an earnings cut for a veteran driver like me who thrived driving with PT (Prime Time).

    I think Lyft should give their drivers the choice of PPZ or PT in a busy city like Los Angeles or San Francisco. As I discovered, Lyft PPZ is only good for Lyft. Not the driver and definitely not the passenger!

    Is This How Lyft’s Personal Power Zones Were Created?

    Does anyone recall the Pokemon Go craze over the last few years? People were clamoring over each other to find these mythical creatures. Then there is the wonderful TV game show called Wheel of Fortune; its longevity with Pat Sajak and Vanna White speaks for itself.

    I think a group of Lyft product engineers sat in a room, felt nostalgic and decided to come up with their own game called PPZ. PPZ is like a hybrid game of Pokemon GO and Wheel of Fortune. Those purple and pink boxes pop up while you’re driving, simply pull over and park in the pink zone if you can, (you have found the Pokemon), now turn on your app and wait for a ping.

    Wheel of Fortune has begun at that point, the longer you stay in the pink zone, the higher your bonus will go. Every few seconds Lyft will increase the bonus by a few pennies until it reaches a limit. But Lyft wants you to stay put if you want more money, so if you move out of the pink box, Lyft will give you a second chance in the purple outline.

    Of course, who’s to say they won’t throw you garbage ping with a pick up time of 15 minutes, if you decline. You failed, back of the line. Like most other Lyft programs, they want you to just work on one platform, but who in their right mind drives Lyft while the following is going on with Uber (image below).

    uber surge

    Overall Impact

    If you’re familiar with Uber’s 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 speaking, in major cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco, I think it is an earnings cut for the veteran driver who knows what to do, when to drive and where to be. For the newbies and cities with less demand and less PT (Prime Time) it is an added incentive to stay on the Lyft platform.

    Drivers, are Lyft’s Personal Power Zones live in your city? What do you think of this change?

    -Paula & Sergio @ RSG

    Sergio Avedian

    Sergio Avedian

    Sergio has been driving Uber and Lyft for about five years. He has over 6000 rides on both platforms, mostly on Uber. Sergio has a degree in finance, and worked on Wall St. for over eighteen years. In his free time, he still trades stocks and derivatives for himself and a few friends. He is also a PGA certified golf instructor, teaching golf is his passion. Sergio is married with two wonderful kids who take the rest of his afternoons/weekends between their soccer practices and golf tournaments.