Is Scheduling A Lyft Cheaper?

Wondering if you can save money by scheduling your Lyft rides in advance rather than booking on-demand? With rideshare prices seeming to inch higher every year, riders are looking for ways to avoid paying surge pricing and score deals through advance planning.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: scheduling a Lyft ride in advance does not guarantee a cheaper fare, but it can sometimes lead to savings by locking in a set rate and avoiding price surges during high demand. However, other factors like driver availability also impact cost.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare the pros and cons of scheduled versus on-demand Lyft rides, break down the situations when advance booking could save you money, and provide tips to lock in the best rate regardless of when you request your ride.

How Lyft Pricing Works for Scheduled Rides

Lyft’s Base Rates and Prime Time

When it comes to scheduling a Lyft ride, understanding how the pricing works is important. Lyft’s pricing is based on a few factors, including base rates and Prime Time. The base rate is the starting fare for a ride, which can vary depending on the city and the type of Lyft service you choose.

Prime Time, on the other hand, refers to periods of high demand where prices may increase.

During times of high demand, such as rush hour or holidays, Lyft may implement Prime Time pricing. This means that the fare for your scheduled ride may be higher than usual. However, Lyft provides a fare estimate when you schedule your ride, so you’ll have an idea of what to expect.

Estimated Versus Final Price for Scheduled Rides

When you schedule a Lyft ride, you’ll receive an estimated price for your trip. This estimate takes into account factors such as the distance of the trip, the duration, and any anticipated Prime Time pricing. However, it’s important to note that the estimated price is not the final price.

The final price for your scheduled ride may vary from the estimate. This can happen if there are changes to the route or if there are unexpected delays during your trip. For example, if you request a scheduled ride during a time of low demand and there are no traffic delays, the final price may be lower than the estimated price.

It’s also worth mentioning that Lyft’s pricing may vary in different cities and regions. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on Lyft pricing, it’s best to check their official website or app.

When Could Scheduling a Lyft Be Cheaper?

When it comes to using ride-sharing services like Lyft, cost is often a major consideration for passengers. While the price of a Lyft ride can vary depending on various factors, such as demand and distance, scheduling a Lyft in advance can sometimes offer cost-saving benefits.

Here are a couple of scenarios where scheduling a Lyft could be cheaper:

Avoiding Prime Time Price Surges

During periods of high demand, such as rush hour or late at night, Lyft prices can surge due to increased demand and limited availability of drivers. This surge pricing can result in significantly higher fares compared to regular pricing.

However, by scheduling a Lyft in advance, you can potentially avoid these prime time price surges. When you schedule a ride, Lyft will lock in the current pricing, regardless of whether demand surges during the scheduled pickup time.

This means you can enjoy the convenience of a scheduled ride without worrying about paying extra during peak hours.

Locking In Advance Discounts

In some cases, Lyft may offer advance booking discounts or promotions for scheduled rides. These discounts can vary depending on your location and current promotions. By taking advantage of these discounts, you can save money on your Lyft rides.

Keep an eye out for any promotions or discounts available for scheduled rides in your area. Additionally, regularly checking the Lyft website or app for any ongoing promotions or discounts can help you find great deals on scheduled rides.

It’s important to note that while scheduling a Lyft in advance can potentially offer cost savings, it may not always be the cheapest option. Factors such as distance, time of day, and current promotions can all affect the final price.

It’s always a good idea to compare the prices of scheduled rides with on-demand rides to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Scenarios Where Scheduling Doesn’t Save Money

Overestimating Demand

While scheduling a Lyft ride may seem like a cost-effective option, it’s important to consider the potential for overestimating demand. When you schedule a ride in advance, you’re essentially assuming that there will be a high demand for rides at that specific time.

However, this may not always be the case. There could be unforeseen circumstances, such as inclement weather or a local event, that decrease the demand for rides. In these situations, scheduling a Lyft may not save you money as there may be plenty of available drivers and no surge pricing.

Driver Shortages

Another factor to consider when it comes to the cost-effectiveness of scheduling a Lyft is driver shortages. While Lyft strives to provide a reliable service, there may be instances where there simply aren’t enough drivers available to fulfill all the scheduled rides.

This can lead to longer wait times or even cancellations, potentially resulting in additional costs if you need to find an alternative transportation method. Therefore, scheduling a Lyft in these circumstances may not be the most cost-effective option.

Surge Pricing Still Applies

One important thing to note is that surge pricing still applies when you schedule a Lyft ride. Surge pricing occurs when there is high demand for rides and limited driver availability. During these times, Lyft increases the prices to encourage more drivers to come online and meet the demand.

So, even if you schedule a ride in advance, if there is surge pricing in effect at the time of your scheduled ride, you may end up paying more than you anticipated. It’s always a good idea to check the current pricing before scheduling a ride to ensure you’re aware of any potential surge pricing.

Tips to Get the Best Rate on Lyft

When it comes to scheduling a Lyft, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you get the best rate possible. By being strategic and savvy with your choices, you can save money while enjoying the convenience of a ride-sharing service. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Use Price Estimate Feature

Before you request a ride, take advantage of Lyft’s price estimate feature. This allows you to get an idea of how much your ride will cost before you confirm it. By comparing prices for different times of day or different routes, you can choose the most affordable option.

Set Arrival Buffer Time

To avoid surge pricing, it’s always a good idea to set an arrival buffer time. This means planning to arrive at your destination a bit earlier than necessary. By giving yourself some extra time, you can wait out any surge pricing and request a ride when the rates have gone down.

Consider Public Transit When Surges Are High

During times of high demand, surge pricing can make Lyft rides more expensive. In such cases, it might be worth considering using public transit instead. This can be a cost-effective alternative, especially if you’re traveling short distances or if there is a reliable public transportation system available in your area.

Look For Current Deals and Credits

Lyft often offers deals and credits to its users. Keep an eye out for any promotions or discounts that may be available. These can help you save money on your rides and make scheduling a Lyft even more affordable.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you’re getting the best rate possible when scheduling a Lyft. Remember to check for price estimates, set an arrival buffer time, consider public transit during surge pricing, and take advantage of any deals or credits that may be available. Happy riding!


While rideshare services like Lyft do provide the option to schedule rides up to seven days out, advance booking does not always guarantee the lowest fare. Prime time surges can still happen regardless of an advance reservation if demand spikes close to the scheduled ride time.

And limited driver availability can also lead to higher prices.

However, for situations like early morning flights or event transportation when demand predictably skyrockets, advance scheduling can sometimes help riders lock in base rates and avoid prime time spikes.

Riders should utilize Lyft’s price estimate feature to compare on-demand versus scheduled fare rates to determine if a future reservation makes financial sense.

At the end of the day, factors like the time of day, special events, and even weather can all impact Lyft’s pricing and driver supply. Travelers aiming to keep rideshare costs low should remain flexible by comparing all transportation options.

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