Lyft Hopes To Steer Riders Back With 'Happy Hour' Pricing

Lyft annouced Tuesday it would slash ride prices during special "Happy Hours" to boost demand for drivers.
Posted at 5:32 PM, Mar 18, 2014

Car-sharing service Lyft announced Tuesday a new feature aimed at picking up more riders during slower business hours. It's called Happy Hour.

It will offer discounted Happy Hour pricing during certain times of the day. Lyft promises the fares will be 10 to 50 percent cheaper than a regular ride. Riders should expect Happy Hour pricing to pop up during typical midday and after-work rush hours.

Lyft is hoping cheaper rides bring in more riders and more demand for the service's pink-mustached cars.

"With Happy Hour, Lyft's prices are fully dynamic, which is the way it should be." (Via Lyft)

Hmm ... "The way it should be"? CNET explains why Lyft is shifting gears now.

"[Happy Hour] sounds like a bit of a dig at its competitor Uber, which often comes under fire for its dynamic pricing model." (Via CNET)

And it's likely right. Forbes reports car-share competitor Uber introduced that model first, better known as "surge pricing." The formula increases rates based on how many drivers are on the highway and how busy they are. Uber's clientele was not pleased when rates for cars started topping $300.

At the end of last year, Lyft also adopted surge pricing and created Prime Time Tips — its answer to Uber's rate increase during busy hours. During Prime Time, Lyft riders are charged an extra 25 to a maximum of 200 percent on top of their fare.

However, Lyft will now be the first service to counteract the increase. It hopes Happy Hour cuts will tempt riders to use the service during different hours. VentureBeat agrees, saying,

"It's only logical that Lyft would consider reducing prices during times of low demand. If there's a chance of a discounted price, it's worth checking with Lyft first."

Lyft users will need to update their apps first to take advantage of the Happy Hour deals.

Fast Company also notes — ironically — the Happy Hour rates on Lyft don't overlap with the happy hour rates at the bars.