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When demand goes up, you can earn more driving.

What is Uber Surge?

This is when demand is highest and price rates increase. When prices are surging it encourages drivers to get back out on the road to pick up more passengers. The surge usually happens in the morning and evening rush hours. It pays to be vigilant because these Surges don’t usually last long. You’ll know when a Surge is happening as the pricing will show on the Uber Partner app map. It’s color coordinated and the darker red areas are the real hotspots.

What is Lyft Prime Time?

This is when there are more passengers in need of a ride than there are drivers on the road. You’ll pick up passengers willing to pay a percentage increase of the regular rate. Drivers are notified when it’s Prime Time. Again, be vigilant as Prime Time can change from second to second as it’s based on supply and demand. Lyft hasn’t quite caught up with Uber as far as map indications are concerned but you will see a range of Prime Time pricing for certain areas.

Other differences:

  • Uber Surge typically covers a larger area than Lyft Prime Time.

  • Rates for Lyft refresh approximately every 1 minute while Uber refreshes approximately every 2 minutes. Keep in mind the rate applied is when the passengers request the ride. Sometimes there’s a difference in what the passenger pays and what is paid out.

  • There may be a cap but with both it is fairly high.

  • Uber will offer guaranteed Surge time to certain partners. Lyft does not usually do this but they’ve been known to test it from time to time.

Couple of tips to help you make the most of Surge and Prime Time:

  • Patience pays. Stay calm and know your market. You should also know your local laws and regulations regarding your rideshare business.

  • If possible, get a secondary phone. You can make an additional account to monitor both Surge and Prime Time.

You may be wondering which one pays more – Surge or Prime Time.

They both have distinct advantages. Surge typically has a higher demand because they Uber runs in more locations. They also give the passengers upfront pricing which makes it more likely a passenger will choose Uber since they know ahead of time what they’ll pay.

As for Prime Time, if you’re in a good location with high demand, you stand to make a decent amount of money. You also have the option of lowering your commission through Lyft’s Power Drive Bonus. Lyft’s rates are also a bit higher and you can also get tips.

Overall, Uber Surge is a better bet for most drivers. It’s easy to understand and easier to work with. Drivers are provided with more information, the maps are more user-friendly and larger areas are covered which is beneficial for both drivers and passengers. If you’re a new driver, Uber Surge will likely be much easier for you to understand in the beginning. Lyft Prime Time takes a bit of getting used to and even then, it’s not the easiest to work with.


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