Uber vs Lyft Head-to-Head: Which is Better?

Uber vs Lyft Head-to-Head: Which is Better?

This side-by-side comparison of Lyft vs Uber should be helpful to both rideshare passengers and drivers.

Are you thinking of joining the rideshare revolution? 

You are not alone and even though rideshare may seem to be widespread analysts report that passenger adoption in the United States is still in the small single digits.

Ridesharing makes on-demand transportation convenient for passengers and profitable for drivers!

When it comes to ridesharing applications, in the United States the two most popular platforms are Uber and Lyft.

Uber and Lyft are San Francisco-based rideshare companies that command most of the United States market.

Uber dominates the rideshare market with its 65-70% market share and 30-35% for Lyft.

But the question is, which is the better company for passengers and drivers alike?

Let’s find out.

Availability and Coverage

Rideshare services are most common in heavy-populated locales, particularly in cities. This makes sense because the demand for rideshare services are often high in metropolitan areas.

Uber is the preferred ridesharing service outside of the US because it is available in 84 countries worldwide while so far Lyft has focused primarily on the United States market. 

The exact count of cities is tricky because, as example I think of Aurora as being part of Denver but on their web site Lyft counts Aurora as a separate city.  Technically true… however the “devil is in the details?”

In the United States Lyft and Uber are available in every densely-populated city (unless blocked by local regulations) and when I see online news announcing a new city rollout the new city’s population is typically less than 500,000.

Since Uber has a wider network, it is also the most popular among drivers and passengers.

Lyft appears to be working hard to catch up and is aggressively expanding its services domestically and even internationally.

Which is Better: Uber

 

Pricing and Earnings

Since the prices for rideshare services will vary from city to city, it is hard to know for sure whether Uber or Lyft is more budget-friendly for passengers and lucrative for drivers in a particular city.

Local regulations are also a factor in rideshare pricing, some cities are, for example, choosing to add fees to every rideshare trip.

The difference in prices between Uber and Lyft isn't significant because the companies compete heavily on this front.

Side-by-side comparisons are also challenging because the exact price for a trip is set dynamically based on time of day and availability of drivers.

During peak hours, Uber is known to increase its prices to about 7 to 8 times with “Surge Pricing.”

On the other hand, Lyft caps “Surge Pricing” increases, typically to a maximum of 3 to 4 times standard fares.

Because Lyft has always had a standard tipping option, drivers could earn more from tips.

Since late 2017 Uber has an in-App tipping option, however, Uber also has the “tip not required” legacy so seasoned Uber passengers might not be tipping as frequently.

Both Uber and Lyft provide a mostly accurate estimate of the total cost of the trip before requesting a trip and both rideshare companies provide more affordable prices compared to a traditional taxi trip.

New driver signup bonuses are always changing and are different geographically.

Uber use to offer lucrative signup incentives of up to $500 for drivers however recently Uber has focused on guaranteeing new drivers will earn “X” after completing their first “X” trips or Uber will make up the difference.

Lyft is more likely to offer “true” bonuses after completing a set number of trips, (meaning a bonus paid on top of earnings from trip fares) the exact bonus depends on the location.

Uber and Lyft drivers earn about the same for comparable trips, however with less passengers Lyft-only drivers are more likely to be waiting longer for their next trip request.

In a side-by-side comparison of Lyft vs Uber, Lyft drivers may earn more in tips and bonuses however Uber is more likely to deliver more income per week, month, etc because of their larger passenger base.

Uber also benefits from what I call the “Kleenex” phenomena, people don’t ask for “a tissue.” 

This means: “Let’s call an Uber” is for most people the same as saying: “Do you have a Kleenex” when the real request is for a tissue.

Which is Better: Uber

 

Bonuses and Incentives

Lyft and Uber offer a variety of driver incentives, promotions, and bonuses apart from their respective referral and sign-up bonuses.

Uber

Uber offers are always changing, here are some examples:

  • Hourly Guarantees
  • Weekly Incentives – “Quests”
  • Driver Promotion Codes for referring new drivers and new passenger accounts
  • Partnership Promos and Discounts
  • Consecutive trip bonuses – “X” trips without refusing, cancelling, or going offline earns “X” bonus

Monetary incentives differ by geographic region and are displayed on the Promotions tab of the Uber Driver’s Application. Drivers can use this information to plan their driving schedule days in advance.

Uber’s “Quest” promotion has had different names over the years.

The Quest program encourages drivers to drive more by paying bonuses for completing a certain number of trips within a given time-period. For example completing 50 trips during the week (not weekend) to receive a $50 Quest bonus.

Quest bonus might be offered to incent drivers to complete trips when they might otherwise choose to stay home or go out on the town, as example completing 10 trips between 5 p.m. and sunset on the 4th of July.

Uber creates incentives like this because they know that demand for trips will be higher than average as people get out to see fireworks displays and part-time drivers need an incentive to get out on the road when they might otherwise choose to enjoy the holiday and not drive.

Lyft

Lyft is also generous when it comes to giving out bonuses and incentives to drivers. In fact, the rideshare company is known for showering their drivers with promotional offers and monetary incentives.

Lyft's driver incentives are also always changing, here are some examples:

  • Weekly Guarantees
  • Boost Zones
  • Average Hourly Guarantees
  • Driver Promotion Codes for referring new drivers and new passenger accounts
  • “Power Driver” Bonus for driving a newer vehicle
  • Consecutive trip bonuses – “X” trips without refusing, cancelling, or going offline earns “X” bonus
  • Incentives to offset the expense of renting/leasing a rideshare vehicle

Compared to Uber, Lyft's incentives are typically more consistent and generous.

Lyft designates certain zones/times within a city as hotspots based on demand during a particular time and then increases the fare to the passenger so drivers earn consistently more per trip while driving within the Boost Zone.

Uber bonuses tend to change more often, which can be confusing for drivers.

Lyft's bonuses, on the other hand, typically remain the same over longer periods of time.

If there is an update to Lyft's incentive structures, Lyft’s efforts to communicate to drivers are typically more aggressive compared to Uber, primarily more frequent email communication about financial incentive programs.

While it’s hard to say for certain it appears more of the fares Lyft passengers pay go to Lyft drivers.

Lyft is more likely to tie bonuses to a driver’s acceptance and cancellation rates but in the 2 ½ years I’ve been rideshare driving with Uber and Lyft tying bonuses ties to acceptance and cancellation rates are happening less frequently.

Which is Better: Lyft

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App Ease of Use

When it comes to booking a ride, Uber and Lyft applications work the same way.

As a passenger, you'll request a ride using your GPS location or by entering a business name or address.

Then you wait until a driver accepts the request. If the driver that accepts your trip is too close or too far away, you can cancel the accepted trip within two minutes without penalty.

As a driver, all you have to do is to open the application and wait for trip requests. 

Of course, as I cover in detail in my books The Art of Rideshare Driving and The Science of Rideshare Driving maximizing your rideshare driving income requires more thought than just sitting at home “online” with the Uber/Lyft applications waiting for a trip request.

At the end of the trip, if they want to, the passenger can use the Uber/Lyft applications to rate their experience and tip their drivers.

Uber drivers are currently required to give each passenger a star rating in the application.  The Uber driver application defaults to 5 stars all the driver has to do is “Accept.”

Lyft drivers can choose to rate the trip, if they don’t the passenger automatically receives a five-star rating.

Both applications are easy to use for passengers and drivers.

Processing a trip request is virtually identical between Uber and Lyft. Statistics show, however, that Lyft trips are processed and executed faster and more efficiently compared to Uber.

This is particularly true during non-peak hours.

This means if you’re in a hurry, Lyft may be your best bet, although the difference in time between the two applications is probably going to be no more than a few seconds.

In this side-by-side comparison of Uber and Lyft it is hard to call a winner for ease of use. The Lyft application may be a little faster, but the Uber application offers more features.

Which is Better: Lyft (by “a nose”)

 

Service Options                                                      

When it comes to service options, Uber provides a more comprehensive selection compared to Lyft.

Uber offers a variety of ridesharing services to suit a variety of needs and budgets:

  • UberPool: Different passengers share a single vehicle on the way to a specific destination
  • Uber ExpressPool: Less expense compared to UberPool however the Uber application will take up to a few minutes to book the fare (looking for best driver and passenger trip matches) and you may have to walk a few blocks from your current location and to your final destination.
  • UberX: Up to four passengers taking the same trip
  • UberXL: A group of up to six passengers taking the same trip
  • UberSelect: High-end vehicles are provided for you and your companions in a single trip – four passengers total
  • UberBlack: Town cars and professional drivers provide ridesharing service – four passengers total
  • UberSUV: A vehicle with more seating (an SUV) will be provided to accommodate you and your party – six passengers total
  • UberLUX: Top of the line vehicle – such as Porsche, Mercedes Benz, and BMW – is provided for the trip – four passengers total
  • UberAccess: A vehicle designed for people with disability is provided for the trip

On the other hand, Lyft currently offers only 6 ridesharing services:

  • Lyft: Standard: Least expensive trip for up to 4 passengers
  • Lyft Shared: Share a car with passengers headed in the same direction at a discounted price
  • Lyft Lux: Luxury car for up to 4 passengers
  • Lux Black: Premium black car service and a professional driver with leather seats for up to 4 passengers
  • Lyft XL: SUV or mini-van for up to 6 passengers
  • Lux Black XL: Premium black SUV with leather seats for up to 6 passengers

Lyft offers higher-end vehicles, but some of the Lyft drivers' vehicles are not as luxurious as the ones offered by UberLUX.

Uber is the hands-down winner in this category of the side-by-side comparison of Lyft and Uber because of the variety of services offered.

Which is Better: Uber

 

Rating Process

Uber and Lyft applications both give the driver the option to rate each passenger 5 stars (or less) after the trip is complete.

With Lyft the driver must choose to rate a passenger, if the driver does not make a choice the default rating is 5 stars.

Passengers always have the option (never required) of rating their experience and providing feedback about the completed trip.

Uber’s passenger application provides a better visual experience because the application comes with multiple features. You can provide a 5-star rating as well as give a tip and a thank-you note if the service is exceptional.

Lyft's rating process is not as fancy, but it gets the job done.

Because of its versatility, the Uber application is better than the Lyft application when providing feedback for a trip.

Which is Better: Uber

 

Customer Support

Uber and Lyft provide support assistance to drivers and passengers alike via email, website, hotline numbers and in-App messaging.

Uber and Lyft handle issues similarly regarding final outcomes.

Most riders, who have had reason to contact Uber/Lyft support, say Lyft is somewhat more helpful in solving issues compared to Uber.

For one thing, Lyft does not send out canned responses, meaning repetitive messages obviously not written “on the fly” by support resources. Lyft makes a point to answer every question with a more personal tone and of course resolve each issue.

The same thing cannot always be said for Uber. The company sends canned responses via their Help Portal. 

Best I have been able to determine… the responses are sent by live support resources, not artificial intelligent searching for key words and sending an automated response, however, I believe Uber is using algorithms searching for key words then presenting to support resources potential responses… the support resource reviews then sends.

Important we point out Uber is a substantially larger company compared to Lyft so presumably has to respond to significantly more support requests.

Which is Better: Lyft

 

Wrap-up

We’ve looked a number of factors in this side-by-side comparison of Uber and Lyft.

Here are the winners in each category:

Availability and coverage: Uber

Pricing and earnings: Uber

Bonuses and incentives: Lyft

Application ease of use: Lyft

Service options: Uber

Rating process: Uber

Customer support: Lyft

As a rideshare passenger looking at these results, you might choose to make Lyft your number one choice.

Please remember, however, that Uber dominates the United States market, so a Lyft trip may not always be available when you want one.

Rideshare drivers considering these results may want to look into the financial potential of driving for Lyft in addition to Uber. Even if Uber becomes the primary company you drive for, it may make sense to complete enough Lyft trips to earn the sign-on bonus.

In my books: The Science of Rideshare Driving and The Art of Rideshare Rideshare Driving I provide meaningful answer and information speaking to the question of “How to maximize rideshare driving income?”  And since I’ve heard the question so often I detail why it’s perfectly acceptable to driver for both Uber and Lyft and how to manage the extra “work” of working on both platforms.

The RideshareGuide guarantees the books deliver… if for any reason you are not satisfied tells us why within 60 days and we’ll refund the full purchase price.

To discover more about rideshare driving and whether it is right for you, consider the ground-breaking eBooks The Art of Rideshare Driving and The Science of Rideshare Driving

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Uber vs Lyft Head-to-Head: Which is Better?