Chasing Boosts, Bonuses, Streaks, Surges – and Chasing Amy

Highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last-chance power drive… Bruce Springsteen

Chasing Boosts, Bonuses, Streaks, Surges – and Chasing Amy

Okay, so, this for the benefit of those who may be wondering… what are streak bonuses and a power surges and are they worth chasing?  Short answer – same as “What’s the best underwear for seniors?”


Well, let’s break it down, because circumstances will dictate your best strategy. There are differences in the criteria for the available fee bumps, so I’m going to discuss them individually.

Uber Surges and Lyft Power Zones

When there is a higher demand for cars than there are drivers on the road, Uber refers to this as a Surge.

If you learn anything from listening to other experienced drivers who have Youtube channels, a common theme among them is, “Don’t chase the surges!” This is something I have never done. I pretty much take the more experienced rideshare drivers at their word. However, what I have done is open up the Uber and Lyft apps when not online as a driver just to see how the hot spots move around and dissipate. That was enough to let me know that, “don’t chase the surges” is pretty solid advice.

Lyft refers to surges by another name, Power Zones.  They also adjust the pricing so that the drivers are given the incentive to go online and  earn extra money. Surges or Power Zones usually occur during rush hour and during special events such as pro sports such as home games, playoffs, rock concerts and visits by the Pope or Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The best way to take advantage of Surge or Prime Time pricing is to anticipate the times and places to be during those incentive periods. Both apps offer weekly overviews of notable events in your area. You can also check the Weekend Magazine supplement in your local newspaper for lists of special events in your area where people  might need to arrange for transportation .

Be online in your area an hour or two prior to a sporting event or concert. Arrive in the vicinity of the venue before the game or concert ends. A lot of people are going to need a ride all at once and this is a great opportunity to grab passengers willing to pay extra for a ride home or to another venue to continue the party.

If you’re not in the vicinity when you see a sudden surge, don’t bother heading towards it after the fact. By the time you get there, that window will probably be closed.

Lyft Bonus Streaks – my personal favorite

Another way to earn bones money which I find to be much more attainable is the Lyft Streak Bonus. This usually requires accepting four ride requests in a row beginning within a set amount of time –

Let’s say it’s 7 AM. You get a message on your phone from Lyft that says:

“Get a $12 streak bonus by completing 4 Lyft rides in a row. Accept or pick up the first ride between 8AM-9AM to can in. Drive:
<Clickable URL here to accept the bonus streak>

You might notice the rules change form time to time. You may get an alert for a bonus streak offering $12 for 4 rides and the next one might only offer $8 for the same thing. Personally, I think every little bit helps, so if there is some incentive, I’m likely to accept 8 – as long I was planning on driving, anyway I. Otherwise, I’ll try to hold out until a higher bonus  is offered. Often, this just means beginning my shift an hour earlier or later. Remember, your shift can start and end whenever you want it to.

Two Things You Need To Know That I Learned The Hard Way…

When I first started driving for Lyft, I lost out on getting the bonus money a couple times by not taking a couple of very basic steps to prevent losing out on what should have been easy money. Sometimes it’s the little things that we tend to overlook, and, though  it may seem like nothing more than common sense, we sometimes lose sight of the obvious in our excitement to get out on the road and start earning.  So here are two simple guidelines to getting that bonus money in your pocket on top of your regular fare.

1. Food and Beverage Alert

Don’t drink too much water, coffee or any and other beverage, or eat anything that you know will go right through you. When you accept a bonus streak, you have to leave your app on. If you have to stop to use the rest room during a bonus streak, you stand to lose it if you have to turn your app off. Remember, if you leave it on, and are forced to refuse ride request while you’r in  the restroom – streak OVER!

I wouldn’t suggest a completely empty stomach, either. My advice – Eat just enough to sustain yourself for a few hours. A four-ride streak could be over very quickly if you get all local rides in a row, BUT – if you get a couple long rides and/or you get caught in traffic, you may be holding it in for a while. As soon as you drop off one passenger, you might have another pickup immediately. You also may have to wait a while between rides. You just never know. So be sure to prepare yourself as best you can so you don’t  get caught with your pants down.

2. Keep Your Fuel Tank Full

Shortly after I started as a rideshare driver, I was too tired to stop for gas on the way home after along evening and went straight home. The next morning, I woke up early, and while drinking a cup of coffee, got an alert from Lyft. It was for a bonus streak (my first one!)

I immediately accepted it, but in al my excitement to pick up that extra 12 bucks, I forgot that I hadn’t stopped for gas the night before. Oh, well.  Dumbass me just hoped for the best and headed out to pick up my first passenger.

My first passenger was a young woman who was heading to work a few miles away. After I dropped her off, I thought I might gas up at the local Wawa. Nope! Never made it. As I neared the Wawa, I got a ride request, so I aborted the stop for gas and went to pick up the passenger instead. He turned out to be heading from Norristown, where I picked him up, to Germantown – about 45 -50 minutes away. By the time I got there, my fuel tank was getting pretty low and the coffee I had been drinking when I left was requesting an exit. I was also getting hungry, as it was now late morning and I still had  two more rides to go before earning the $12 bonus which would have covered some of my full cost from the  day before.

There was a diner nearby that I really like, so I said to myself, “Fuck it. Lesson learned.”  Then, I drove to the diner, turned off the app, turned off the car engine and went inside for a nice brunch. What should have been a lucrative few hours of driving ended up costing me money. I made up my mind then and there to make a mental note to be much more prepared the next time I set out to take advantage of the streak bonus.

How To Keep From Breaking A Streak

There are really only three things to remember to collect your bonus once you accept your first streak ride:

1. Don’t go offline

2. Don’t cancel a ride (if the passenger cancels, you’re still eligible)

3. Accept every request. If you miss one, you’re done.

Note: If you want to head home after the next to the last ride request, you’ll still qualify for a bonus if you switch to Destination Mode. Destination Mode allows you to tell the app not to send you any ride requests unless the passenger is heading in the direction of a designated address.

What does Chasing Amy have To Do With Anyting?

After putting in a day or evening of schlep pinging folks around, you may be tempted to take on just – one – more bonus streak surge. Don’t do it. Don’t drive when you’re tired and don’t be chasing surges. Instead, go home, change into your sweats, kick back an enjoy a good movie.I recommend Chasing Amy. It’s a 1997 flick written and directed by Kevin Smith.

Good luck and happy ride sharing!

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