Lyft Is Ditching Surge Pricing

by joeheg

Lyft and Uber are very similar in terms of the product they offer customers when it comes to getting a ride. Both companies provide a mobile app-based service that allows users to choose from a range of vehicles, including sedans and black cars. In fact, many drivers work for both companies, so there is often little difference to customers in terms of the experience they have. Ultimately, the main differences between the two services come down to which app customers choose to use and how much they are willing to pay for their ride.

Uber and Lyft have significantly increased prices due to driver shortages, high demand, and the need for profit. In addition, passengers are subject to surge pricing, which is caused by too many riders and not enough drivers. Instead of giving incentives to drivers to pick up passengers, drivers wait until prices rise to pick up rides. Savvy passengers wait for prices to fall or walk a few blocks away from the surge area.

Lyft is taking a step to differentiate itself from Uber and is trying to eliminate surge pricing, or “primetime” pricing as Lyft calls the practice. In an earnings call with investors, Lyft CEO David Risher said the company is trying to “price in line with the market.” This includes doing away with the surge pricing model. From TechCrunch:

[Primetime pricing] is a bad form of price raising,” said Risher. “It’s particularly bad because riders hate it with a fiery passion. And so we’re really trying to get rid of it, and because we’ve got such a good driver supply…it’s decreased significantly.

While the practice isn’t 100% gone yet, Lyft said the number of customers who experience surge pricing fell 35 percent from the first quarter this year to the second. This is helped by the fact that Lyft’s driver supply is the highest it’s been in three years, and average hours per driver exceed 2019 levels.

Lyft hopes to do away with surge pricing entirely. I’m definitely going to check prices between each service when I need to get a ride.

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Jason August 10, 2023 - 4:35 pm

This is good to hear. I had a bad experience with rideshare last night trying to get home from the Charlotte airport. It took me about an hour and a half to get a ride. I later realized the Beyonce concert was ending downtown at about this same time (1130pm). Uber at one point was asking for nearly $60, and at that would spin and spin and spin for five minutes then say no drivers available (the ride to the airport during morning rush hour was $26). Trying with Lyft, prices a little more reasonable but it was taking 5-7 minutes to match a driver, then would say they are 15-20 minutes away, then driver canceled. Thankfully finally got someone who had a ride from downtown to an airport hotel that I tensely waited on for 17 minutes hoping they wouldn’t cancel. Some people around me were getting rides… by paying for the UberXL or the more expensive options… which wanted nearly $100.

Uber Fan August 10, 2023 - 11:46 pm

Maybe they will finally refund my $150 from a bait & switch scam. Doubtful, so I will stick with u er


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