How to Maximize Income with Lyft Even When Bonuses are Random

One of the most puzzling issues working for Lyft is the bonus scheme, according to one Lyft driver, their bonus scheme payout is lopsided and even downright insulting. Here is his story on this issue, and after this, I will give you a number of tips to increase your income without relying on bonuses.


Lets just start off with the false platitude service that we get from Lyft. You have all had wonderful messages complimenting you on your over 4.9-star rating, and if you haven't received them, well honestly, you are better off.

Here is the story of a lopsided system:

A new and inexperienced Lyft driver was working on new year's eve and met up with an experienced driver with over 2 years of constant work with Lyft. A comparison between an experienced full-time driver and a newbie part time driver. (Our experienced driver is called Jay Cadeur)

The newbie started to exclaim how thrilled he was with Lyft's Power Zone bonuses and the experienced driver asked to see what the newbie's income was like. What surprised the experienced driver is that he never encountered "Power Zones" before and wanted to see what they were all about. The newbie showed the Power Zone bonus which was at $365 per week. This is a $50 difference from the experienced Power Drive bonus. (Note the slight difference in name), the experienced driver only earned $315 a week, which means for every 4 weeks of driving, the newbie earned a further $200 more than the experienced driver.

Since our experienced driver was not one to let such a rude omission from being left out of his life, he contacted Lyft support for more clarification. Here is what Jay wrote to Lyft:


Can you please address this concern of mine.

Can I please be added to the list of drivers that get the best incentive offers? I have 7,750 rides with you, 2 years of exemplary driving for Lyft, and a 4.9 rating. I met a young driver on New Year's Eve night, and he is getting better incentives, at a PDB of $365 and power zones. Over a year, this is costing me thousands of dollars, and it does not seem fair. Your best performers should get the best offers. See attachment.

Jay did not need to wit long, here is what Lyft wrote back.

Good morning Jay,

Thanks for taking the time to write in about this. I will be more than happy to give you this information that I hope will be of help!

First of all, let me congratulate you on your 7,753 rides and your 4.91 _rates ! It'_s awesome seeing that you have such a commitment to the Lyft community.

We understand that with your capacity, you would like to receive the best incentives that Lyft can offer. I would love to do that since I can see the amazing driver that you are but at the moment the incentives are sent randomly, we do not work with a list.

Nevertheless, Lyft loves to show its appreciations for all the drivers in the community and will continue to do so!

We are always working with drivers to improve the service that Lyft provides continually, so hearing this kind of feedback is extremely helpful.

Response Analysis

Jay has a high rating, he is a 4.91 start driver, and for someone that has driven for so long, this is no small feat. Notice how Lyft response, full of platitudes and dripping with poisonous honey. There was no "brain" or" thought" behind the reply. Lyft did not truly give a response; it was more of an automated reply made personal.

Jay was the victim of randomization! Which is a nice way of saying, we shun our best people, because they will continue to be best even if we shit on them, and we give incentives to new people to make them zombies for our system, and eventually we will shit on them too?

Jay realized as we do too, that Lyft and Uber use the "honey kills more flies approach" to increasing their driver's incentives to work, but not for those that already perform well. Why waste good money on good workers, which will not improve or increase their income, since they are already working at optimum levels. Let's use the incentive approach to new and inexperienced drivers to get them to improve their performance for us.

If we take out the platitude and smiles and look at the system for what it is, then experienced drivers should not have to rely only on bonuses to make a good income. In fact, bonuses are anti-thesis to efficient driving, although they are an important part of increasing income. Rather then rely on bonuses, it is best to improve your efficiency, maximizing your income without thinking about Uber, Lyft, and their wan smiles.

Seven ways to improve your income

  1. Drive for more than one company
    Don't just stick to Lyft or Uber, drive for both and add delivery apps to such as Amazon Flex, UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates and more.

  2. Use an app switching app, such as Mystro
    By controlling the requests, you can initiate a seamless driving shift, where you literally don't rest between rides. This maximizes your efficiency and utilization of shift time. Remember, you are here to make money.

  3. Go for bonuses and try to maximize your access to them
    While bonuses can be insulting, such as the case above, it doesn't mean you should shun them. Just the opposite, investigate daily about the various bonuses being offered. Try to get in on each and everyone of them but calculate their ratio to compare between competing bonuses.

  4. Use your referral code as much as possible
    Try to attract new customers and new drivers for the services you work for. This always adds income, and not from your continuous driving.

  5. Read up on how to, and maintain a 5-star rating
    This is critical for success, the higher you are rated usually goes in direct relation to the amount of income you generate. Tips are usually higher with higher rated drivers.

  6. Learn how to strategize your shifts for maximum surge/prime-time pricing
    It is important to know the city, the area, and the time and seasons for driving. You can maximize your income by knowing where, when and who or what to drive.

  7. Learn how to drive seamlessly with multiple services
    Use Mystro or find a way to locate yourself in an area where you will constantly be requested. Driving from ride to ride is the one true income generator, and it is better than waiting for the surge. Driving constantly assures income, waiting for the surge is a gamble.

Uber and Lyft don't care

It's a fact; they don't give a shit about their drivers. That is why they are battling so hard to keep us as independent contractors and not allowing us to unionize. It is also why they tend to deactivate a driver before hearing his/her side of any complaint or situation. The bottom line is that you must look out for yourself and not think about Uber and Lyft in other terms than a cash generating client.