The Cheapest Times to Ride with Lyft: Finding the Best Bargain

Are you wondering about the cheapest times to use Lyft? If you regularly use apps for ride-sharing services, here is what you need to now about how to save money with Lyft.

Lyft is one of the most widely used ride sharing apps today, and many people consider it their favorite app for booking rides. Established in 2012, Lyft has witnessed several price changes in rates. These changes can sometimes cause confusion for customers. If you’re a Lyft customer looking to save money, here’s how to find the cheapest times to use Lyft.

Understanding Lyft’s pricing policy

As a Lyft passenger, the easiest way to know how Lyft charge passengers for rides is to understand their pricing components. The following factors influence the average Lyft rate.

Standard rates

The first rate you will be charged is the standard rate. Rates vary from city to city, so what you pay in California for a particular distance will not be the same for a ride in Chicago. Standard rates depend on the type of ride and your destination. To get the standard rates price, use your Lyft app to check your region.


Another factor that will influence how much you pay for the ride will depend on the distance and how much time it would take to get to your destination. These include the following:

Cost per minute:  This is charged based on the extra fee you pay the driver for the trip.

Cost per mile: This is charged based on the estimated distance calculated by the app. The distance is based on the suggested route. 

Note: Lyft combines both distance and time when calculating rates because of ever-changing traffic situations. With traffic, a journey of 20 minutes may take 10 extra minutes

Prime Time rates

The prime time or surge pricing refers to the period when there is a huge demand for Lyft rides. During such periods, the demand for rides is as much as the supply or even higher in some cases. Active Lyft drivers at this time are fully engaged with customers, so the rates tend to go up.

So, in a nutshell, Prime Time rates are extra charges for booking a ride when demand is high, and supply is low or on par with demand. This demand can happen frequently before and after large events, when customers are coming to and from an area such as a concert or sporting event.

Service Fee

Service fees are included in the fees you pay for your trip. This fee is used to settle insurance bills, operating costs and to fund background checks of the vehicles registered to Lyft. This fee changes based on your location and the type of ride you book. More expensive rides attract lower service fees.

Extra fees

In special situations, you may be charged extra fees when you book a ride. These extra fees confuse many customers looking for the cheapest times to use Lyft because they are unexpected. You may be charged extra fees for:

  • Change in destination
  • Ride cancellations

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Predicting Lyft’s peak hours

For experienced Lyft customers, they know that timing can impact their rates. By knowing when peak periods start and end for your area, you can plan your itinerary for a time with cheaper rides. 

Just like with other ride sharing platforms, Lyft has its peak periods when there is a high demand for drivers. While peak periods vary from city to city, one can predict them by observing price spikes. For instance, if you notice that the rates you pay for a particular destination and distance have increased by 10% or more, just know that it is a peak period, and there are so many users online requesting or waiting for rides.

Peak periods often occur during the day and in the evening. During the day, there are often a lot of people making their way to work, and so they request rides. Then in the evenings, at the close of business, many will be in a hurry to catch a ride back home. So generally, peak hours fall between 7 am-9 am during the day and 5 pm-7 pm in the evenings. Friday – Saturday nights also attract higher rates but the busy times on these evenings can vary.

Sometimes, peak periods may extend beyond the hours mentioned. People change their routine from time to time and in some cities, and peak periods can move earlier or later. During the weekends, peak periods may extend very late into the night if there are many fun-seekers out late. This is especially true during festive periods and holidays.

When is Lyft the Cheapest?

So what time is Lyft the cheapest? Here are some tips.

Avoid peak periods

To get the best Lyft pricing, avoid booking rides during peak periods whenever possible. When possible, plan your itinerary outside of the typical business day rush hours. By planning your rides during these slower times, you can frequently save 10%-50%, depending on your location and the distance to your destination.

Use Lyft Happy Hour

Another way to enjoy cheap rides is to take advantage of Lyft’s happy hour policy. This policy was initiated to help drivers book more fares outside peak periods and encourage users to use the service more. If you use Lyft’s Happy Hour, you get to pay less for the same distance than you would have paid at other times.

Finding the Cheapest Times to Use Lyft

The cheapest times to use Lyft are to avoid using the service during peak hours and to take advantage of the company’s happy hour pricing policy to enjoy cheaper rates. If you can do both, you can save a lot of cash on trips.

For additional ways to save money on Lyft, be sure to share your Lyft referral code with friends and family, you can also watch the Lyft app for special promotions

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