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6 min read

    6 min read

    With the end of Lyft’s Power Driver Bonus comes something new: the Weekly Ride Challenge. What is the WRC and how could it impact drivers? Senior RSG contributor Jay Cradeur covers what the WRC is, how it’s different from Lyft’s old PDB and how these new changes may impact drivers.

    Recently Lyft announced the end of the Power Driver Bonus.  However, we did not know what would take its place.  We knew there would be no car requirements for this new bonus, which means even if you have a car older than 2011, you could still qualify for the bonus.

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    We knew that the concept of Peak Hours and requiring drivers to drive at specific times of the day would no longer apply.  We also knew that the bonus would change on a weekly basis, according to Lyft, based on “driving behavior, and current market conditions.”  On August 27th, Lyft let us know what they had to offer.

    This Driver’s Considerations

    The Lyft old Power Driver Bonus (PDB) offered to pay me $500 if I completed 165 rides, with 85 of those rides occurring during Peak Hours.  There are two components to this bonus, which are consequential.  First is the dollar per ride earnings.  In the case of Lyft’s PD Bonus, $500 divided by 165 = $3.03 per ride.   During most weeks, this is higher than Uber’s offer.

    For example, this is what Uber offered me recently:

    Doing the math here, we can see that Uber is offering less per ride:  $50 divided by 20 = $2.50 per ride.  This is significant, especially when considering I can do so many more rides for Lyft (165) to achieve the bonus.

    The second consideration is the flexibility a driver is afforded to achieve the bonus.  With Uber, you can drive at any time of the day or night, and earn the bonus.  Furthermore, with Uber you don’t need to worry about your acceptance rate, while with Lyft, you had to maintain a 90% acceptance rate to earn the bonus.  While Lyft paid more, you also had to work harder, and at specified times and days, in order to qualify and earn the Power Driver Bonus.

    Announcing the Weekly Ride Challenge

    With this new bonus, Lyft is making a big move toward the Uber model of a bonus. Lyft’s new structure (similar to Uber’s) includes:

    • No acceptance rate requirements
    • No peak hours
    • No car restrictions

    Unlike Uber, Lyft did not send out an email with the details of the bonus the night before.  Instead, I looked at my phone at 5 a.m. on Monday morning and discovered the specific amounts and requirements of the new bonus.

    Given that all the restrictions would be removed, I fully expected the dollar per ride to be less with the new bonus. I anticipated Lyft would offer a dollar per ride similar to Ubers at $2.50 per ride.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the following:

    So let’s break this down.  There are three levels.

    Level #1:  $143 divided by 82 rides = $1.74 per ride

    Level #2:  $273 divided by 140 rides = $1.95 per ride

    Level #3:  $423 divided by 165 rides = $2.56 per ride.  This is fantastic!

    Since I was achieving the old PDB with 165 rides and 85 of them during peak hours, the idea of being able to drive whenever I want is very attractive.  This morning driving in San Francisco was somewhat unusual, as I did not need to maximize my rides during the 8 – 10 a.m.  slot.  I felt very free.  And later today, I don’t need to go back out and work the 5-7 p.m. shift, since peak hours don’t apply.  Instead, I can drive a solid 6 – 8 hours in the morning and then call it a day.

    That is great!  Given this freedom, I would unequivocally state that $423 in a week as a bonus on top of our regular earnings is a fair bonus.  Well done Lyft!

    How Does the New Weekly Ride Challenge Compare in Other Cities?

    We compared the new weekly ride challenge to other cities, and here’s what we found:

    In Minneapolis, Joe was offered two weekly ride challenges, 50 required rides for $69 or 60 rides for $107. This breaks down into an additional $1.38 per ride ($69 / 50 required rides) or $1.78 additional per ride ($107 / 60 required rides).

    Notice that San Francisco offers more opportunities (three vs. Joe’s two) but Joe’s 60 rides for an additional $1.78 is better (in terms of less driving) than my 82 rides for an additional $1.74.

    👉Related article: Essential gear every rideshare driver should have

    Did you receive different Weekly Ride Challenges in your city? Send us your screenshot!

    How Will This Bonus Change Over Time?

    That is the question! Will Lyft hold their top level at $423 for 165 rides?  Or will they slowly erode this figure until drivers are forced to consider driving again for Uber?  At this point, Lyft has earned my loyalty with the new Weekly Rideshare Challenge Bonus.

    This will be a great week for me.  I will be able to work hard in the morning, my favorite time to drive, and knock off early, easily avoiding the late afternoon traffic.

    Let’s assume that Lyft will lower the bonus over time.  The result will be that loyal and full time drivers like me who are in markets with both Uber and Lyft will drive for both services and work toward achieving multiple bonuses.  For example, if Lyft drops down to $375 for 150 rides, then I might drive for Uber to achieve an extra $100 bonus.  Given that both companies will be changing the amounts each week, this is a very fluid situation.

    Not signed up to drive for both Uber and Lyft? Sign up for Uber here and Lyft here.

    Recommendations

    My number one recommendation is to have both services available to you.  If you only drive for Uber, or you only drive for Lyft, then you are a hostage to whatever bonuses are offered.  When you have both services in your arsenal, you have a choice.  You can keep each company honest.  I am loyal to the company that treats me well, and the best way to treat me well is to pay me better than the competition.

    My second recommendation is to evaluate each bonus you are offered on the basis of dollars per ride.  Since both companies now base their bonuses purely on number of rides completed, the dollars per ride is the only pertinent variable.  When they are close in value, then you can drive for whichever company and passengers you prefer.

    Lyft is king today.  I love this new bonus.  I feel a freedom I have not felt in a long time.  Driving 6 hours today, then working out, and now having the afternoon off, is a dream come true.  I hope Lyft does not break my heart and change their numbers any time soon.  I am loyal to Lyft right now.  Let’s keep it that way!

    Drivers, what is the new Weekly Ride Challenge in your city? How do you feel about the changes Lyft has made?

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    -Jay @ RSG

    Jay Cradeur

    Jay Cradeur

    Jay Cradeur, a graduate of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, is a full-time driver with over 26,000 rides. Jay has a driver-focused podcast: Rideshare Dojo with Jay Cradeur. When Jay isn’t writing articles or making videos, he is traveling the world. You can see what Jay is up to at www.nomadjay.com.