Lyft Fare Estimate - How much does Lyft Cost? What are the Lyft Rates/Price in Cities?

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What are Lyft fares made up from?

If you are a Lyft customer, you will most probably think you know what it costs you to ride. However, there are some issues within the costing process that you should be aware of, which will enable you to estimate the cost for a ride. This knowledge will be especially useful when dealing with pre-quotes and other such deals that Lyft offers now and then. The Lyft app gives you a good breakdown, so let's take a look at how your fee is constructed.

The Lyft Fare Construct

Base Fare : this is the flat fee that Lyft charges for each ride, it varies according to the car category Lyft, Lyft Lux, Premier, etc.

Cost per Minute : This is what Lyft charges for every minute from the moment the ride begins. It takes into account traffic and other circumstances that can cause a trip to take longer than expected.

Cost per Mile : This is what Lyft charges for every mile drive. Drivers usually take the fastest route, but when traffic or other instructions are foreseen, they will choose a different way. Lyft charges for the shortest distance in a pre-quote fare.

Booking Fee : This is an extra fee that Lyft charges to cover its operational costs. It is not included in Lyft Lux and Premier fares.

Prime-Time : This is an additional multiplier that is added when there is a lot of strain in the system, primarily a supply and demand function. So if you are in a prime-time area, your overall fare can be up to 200-300% of the regular fare.

Tipping : This is purely optional, while there is a Lyft tipping platform, the passenger can give the driver cash at their discretion.

The Fare is calculated like this:

  • Base Fare + ((Cost per minute x time of the ride) + (cost per mile x ride distance) x boost multiplier) + booking fee = Passengers Ride Fare

Minimum Fare

There is a minimum fare rate that is set to assure a certain level of income for the Lyft driver. This varies per city and is based on the above calculation being no lower than the minimum fee. If the total is lower, then you will be charged the minimum price which is different in each city.

Upfront Pricing

During December 2016 Lyft added this feature to enable customers a review of the estimated trip cost. This is what a customer does:

  1. Select "set pickup" in the Lyft app
  2. Choose "add destination" and put in your destination
  3. Press "price estimate" icon, and you will get the fare estimate

If you don't have the app or are on a computer, then go-to the Lyft cities page and find the city you want to estimate the fare, enter your pickup and drop off location and press the "get estimate" button.

The upfront estimator takes into account the pickup and destination, the expected route time and distance based on a GPS map system (similar to Google Maps and Waze). It also uses historical data to get a better estimate. While the estimate is relatively accurate, the actual price may differ depending on during ride traffic and obstructions that are not calculated into the estimate.

Also Check Out: Uber Fare Estimate

Lyft Categories from cheap to expensive

Lyft offers some services that can be cheap or expensive and is dependent on the car category you choose, here is the list of groups that Lyft offers:

  1. Lyft Line: this is Lyfts carpool category and passengers share the ride with other passengers going to a similar or identical destination.
  2. Lyft: this is the standard service, it's a four-seater car.
  3. Lyft Plus: this is Lyfts larger car service, it can be an SUV or minivan or large sedan.
  4. Lyft Premier: this is Lyfts basic luxury service
  5. Lyft Lux: this is the high-end service with expensive select car models and makes.

Lyft prices vary per city, the larger and more affluent the city the higher probability that the price will go up. You can check the price on the Lyft cities page.

For example:

Lyft prices in LA:

Cost/Mile Cost/Minute Base Charge Service Fee Minimum Fare
Lyft $0.90 $0.15 $0 $2.10
Lyft Plus $1.55 $0.30 $1.00 $2.35
Lyft Premier $2.35 $0.40 $5 $2.35
Lyft Lux $3.55 $0.45 $8 $1.85
Lyft Lux SUV $4.25 $0.55 $15 $1.85

Lyft Line

We want to discuss this particular service in detail since many new customers don't understand what they are getting into.

This service offers a lower price, but it will collect many passengers on route to the final destination. It does not choose passengers based on their social and cultural behavior, so the passenger mix can sometimes be problematic. It also doesn't take into account waiting times for some passengers, so sometimes when you are the first in the car, you can expect to be driven around for quite a while, depending on the number of passengers the car can take. The driver's life in these instances is hard enough, having to deal with traffic, pick up locations and the occasional problem passenger. So, if you are a taking a Lyft Line ride, don't blame the driver for a bad experience, unless the ride itself was not safe or the driver was not polite.


Tipping is provided in the app, and it is good ethical practice to tip a driver. If you don't want to use the app and tip in cash, that is also accepted.

Lyft Fare Estimator for Cities
Lyft has an official fare estimator now. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your pick-up and drop-off location.
  3. You will get fare estimate for Lyft Line, Lyft, Plus, Premier, LUX and LUX SUV.
  4. To see the breakdown of the fare estimate, click or tap on the little “i” icon next to the fare estimate. It will show the number of seats, per minute and mile and pick-up fee. Looking directly below the fare breakdown is the city specific service fee and the cancellation fee.

Contacting Lyft Support

Customers with any question can contact support directly or before so, go to the page and check out the faqs. It's always better to check out the FAQ's and also read up on Lyft articles in various blogs; they can usually answer most of the technical questions.

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