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What Are Lyft Power Zones? [& How They Work For Drivers]

Learn how to use Lyft Personal Power Zones to optimize your driving experience, and increase your income while providing efficient rides.

Key Takeaways

  • Personal Power Zones incentivize driving in high-demand areas with bonus earnings.
  • Bonuses increase the longer you stay in a zone, maximizing potential earnings.
  • Bonus Zones offer set bonus rates, differing from variable Personal Power Zones.
  • Understanding zone benefits and strategies can significantly boost a driver’s income.

Just like all other ridesharing services, Lyft has asymmetric demand patterns, with certain times of the day seeing greater rider demand than others. To solve this issue, rideshare companies incentivize drivers to be more active in busy areas and at busy times.

First introduced in 2017, Lyft’s Personal Power Zones formula is their attempt to incite drivers to work in zones with more riders than drivers. We’ll go over this system, explain how it works, and discuss whether it’s worth it for you, as a Lyft driver, to try and take advantage of it.

What Are Lyft’s Personal Power Zones?

Personal Power Zones were introduced as a replacement for the older Prime Time Earnings system. It’s Lyft’s attempt to make surge bonuses more equitable, stable, and predictable.

They appear on the map in your driver app when there’s high demand nearby, customized based on your current location.

Once the bonus is activated, the map will show the broader Personal Power Zone, segmented into pink and purple zones. Purple zones will take up most of the area, while the zones with particularly high demand for drivers will be marked pink. Both pink and purple zones will have a respective minimum bonus marked on the map, which increases with the time you spend in the area.

How to Get a Bonus for Driving in a Personal Power Zone

You’ll be eligible to receive a Lyft Power Zone bonus after you complete your next ride if:

  1. The rider who issues the ride request is located in the marked area.
  2. You enter a Personal Power Zone before accepting the ride request.

Once you enter a Personal Power Zone, the bonus counter will keep increasing up to a set maximum amount until you leave it.

Make sure to stay online while driving, though, as the counter won’t work otherwise, and going offline will cause you to lose any accumulated bonuses. You’ll still receive the bonus at the end of the ride if you leave the zone, except that it’ll stop increasing.

In case you drive through both a pink and purple zone while preparing to accept your next ride request, your bonus counter will use the bigger bonus as the minimum—which is the one marked in the pink zone—and keep increasing from there.

If a rider cancels the ride while you’re on your way to collect them, you get to keep the accumulated bonus, which will apply at the end of your next ride.

This system was designed to encourage rideshare drivers to drive as closely to high-demand areas as possible, allowing riders to find available drivers and fulfill their ride requests as quickly as possible.

If you can’t find pink and purple zones on your map, try driving toward yellow or orange areas, which indicate higher rider demand, and there’s a chance a Personal Power Zone might appear for you.

How Much Money Do You Receive as a Lyft Power Zone Bonus?

Lyft retains highly arbitrary policies regarding their Personal Power Zones, so the bonuses may wildly vary depending on your location and time of day.

Lyft can set the exact bonus amount to any value they see fit, so it’s not uncommon to see minimum and maximum bonus earnings in the same area change in only a matter of hours.

While it’s hard to predict exact bonus earnings in advance and make a long-term earnings plan, you can get a solid idea of how much you can earn from bonuses by checking the map during your regular driving routine.

To get an estimate of your total earnings, taking average Personal Power Zone bonuses into account, you can also try and take advantage of the driver earnings calculator.

Either way, you can expect your Personal Power bonus to range between $3 and $10 per ride, with possible variations on either end.

What’s the Difference Between Lyft Personal Power Zones and Lyft Bonus Zones?

Starting in 2021, Lyft has begun rolling in a new type of area-based bonuses for select cities—Bonus Zones. This system introduces a somewhat different approach to the one established by Personal Power Zones, so the two shouldn’t be confused.

As of 2024, Lyft has already substituted Personal Power Zones with the Bonus Zone system in most of its locales as an attempt to make the system more stable and predictable. The overall philosophy is similar, and the main principles still apply, with a few caveats.

The main difference is that Bonus Zones use fixed bonus rates instead of a counter that gives you higher bonuses for the amount of time you spend driving or waiting inside the zone.

Each bonus zone marked on the map provides a set amount of extra cash to be added to your next ride. In the case of driving through multiple zones with different bonus amounts, the highest bonus value will apply.

Bonus Zones also include a video game-inspired streak and challenge system, which sets milestones encouraging you to drive your car through bonus areas and provides rewards for completing them.

Are Personal Power Zones Worth It?

The actual value of Personal Power Zones is hotly contested among Lyft drivers, with some going so far as to dub them “Personal Poverty Zones.”

They argue that the bonuses are a red herring that often doesn’t account for the money lost on driving to the zones and missing out on ride opportunities that you could otherwise get. For them, it was a step down from the older percentage-based system.

Regardless, in cases where you can’t find any rides in the area you’re located in, it may be worth it to try and find a Personal Power Zone to stay in or close to and wait for your next ride request there.

While the newer Bonus Zone system faces a similar backlash, the driver consensus and statistics tend to agree that it still makes for a better deal compared to Personal Power Zones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Streak Zones the Same as Personal Power Zones?

Streak Zones are a new type of bonus zone that works quite differently from the principle established by Personal Power Zones. When operating in Streak Zones, which also face high demand for drivers, you need to accept a set number of rides in a row before becoming eligible for a bonus.

How Do I Know When There’s a High Demand for Drivers?

If you’re not sure about rush hours in your area, you can use a rideshare assistant tool such as Gridwise to check, plan your driving schedule more effectively, and learn when to take advantage of bonuses.

Why Can’t I Receive a Bonus in the Same Area Where I Did Yesterday?

Personal Power Zones, as well as Bonus Zones, show up and disappear based on current demand, with no prior scheduling involved. Unfortunately, this makes them fairly unpredictable, and they may easily come and go several times during the same day.

Wrapping Up

Although controversial due to many drivers claiming the cash incentive isn’t worth the effort, Lyft’s Personal Power Zones are a convenient way to earn extra money while driving in high-demand areas during peak hours.

Its replacement in most areas by the similar but more balanced and lucrative Bonus Zone system seems to have calmed some minds. The improved convenience, superior bonus value, and extra incentives have made the new system a more popular and better-received substitute.

Read more: If you’re an Uber driver who’s looking for similar promotions, take a look at this article.

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