How To Beat Lyft Line’s Surge Pricing

With a little patience, it’s possible to swing the odds to get an even better deal on a Lyft Line — and to lock it in. Provided you’ve got time to kill and aren’t running off in a hurry.

The nice thing about Lyft Line—its carpooling feature—is that its pricing is so dynamic that prices can fall and rise dramatically even within a period of 20 or 30 minutes. By boding your time and playing it right, it’s possible to save up to 51% just by anticipating prices. (That actually kinda makes sense, since Lyft caps Prime Time pricing at around 200%.)

On a recent ride from outer Brooklyn to JFK, over a period of 30 minutes (okay, so you may not want to do this for a time-sensitive ride to the airport), I saw Lyft Line prices range from $49.72 to $31.39, with the biggest difference being $18.33 between the lowest and highest price. If you’ve got a little patience and know approximate costs for a route, it’s a great way to jump in and lock in a low price (see more on that below).

This was pretty much just as true and dramatic for one route in San Francisco to Alamada, Calif. I tried a couple of days later. Prices rose as much as 48% in 14 minutes but swung back down as much as 7 minutes later. In fact, it might even be worth mentioning that I was able to get the same route for $12.65 the previous day, proving there’s a ridiculous amount of variance there is in Lyft Line pricing, even minute to minute.

Here’s a chart courting the course of Lyft Line prices over just one hour.

Click to enlarge.
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Click to enlarge.

The thing most people don’t realize with Lyft Line is that once the pickup, destination, and price is set, the cost can be locked in by refusing to exit the app. There’s no need to request the ride right away as long the app stays open with the displayed price. The company, by policy, honors the displayed price until you’re actually ready to call the car. I’ve held a price for as long as 20 minutes with successful confirmation afterwards.

Just enough time to enjoy that beer until the ride finally shows up, eh?

Note: Newbie readers who haven’t been able to try the service out out yet can get $20 off with code ERICA843. We do get a small kickback but it’s pretty much used to fund the cost of running the site.

How To Beat Lyft Line’s Surge Pricing via @maphappy
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