Lyft vs Uber

The standoff between the two most popular ride-sharing companies 

Test ride Lyft and Uber with $25 and $30 of free credit!

Which ride-sharing service is best for you?

To determine which ride-sharing service suits you best, I recommend you give both a shot! By using the free Lyft codes and free Uber codes above, you are helping me out a little, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart! As a driver, passenger, and mentor for both Lyft and Uber, my goal is to help you understand the main differences between Lyft and Uber so you can choose which ride-sharing service is best for you!

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Battle of the ride-sharing companies

Cost

Lyft and UberX are very similar in cost. While both companies offer a range of more expensive, premium rides in luxury SUVs and limos, a basic ride will cost you about the same in Lyft as it will in UberX. While costs vary city-to-city for Uber and Lyft, rides are generally $1 to start, $1.50/mile, and $0.25/min. I tell my passengers that a rule-of-thumb cost is, "about $2/mile", or, "20-30% cheaper than traditional taxicabs".  Rides are slightly more expensive in cities with higher ride-demand (such as LA and San Francisco). One can easily see how a simple ride down the street can be affordable and convenient, while a lengthier trip can quickly add up in cost.  When comparing Lyft vs Uber costs, we come out about equal.


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Company Investments and Popularity

Wealthy hedge-fund investors rightfully have their money guns aimed at both Lyft and Uber. These wealthy investors see the long-term potential of both ride-sharing services; thus supplying hundreds of millions of dollars in investments. With the disposal of money at their feet, both Lyft and Uber offer incredible deals, such as free ride credits to new passengers (see referral links at top of page). Uber, with more national popularity and investors, is most recently offering sign-up bonuses to any Lyft driver that jumps teams to Uber. Both companies understand the impact of building a solid user base, and are willing to pay a pretty penny for you to try out their service.


  – U B E R   W I N S –



Customer Support

As the number of users on the Lyft and Uber platforms rapidly increases, the quality of personal customer support is slowly diminishing. Response emails from Lyft and Uber representatives generally take about 2-5 days. Lyft invites its active drivers to "Driver Lounge" Facebook groups where drivers can answer each others' questions, share inspirational stories, or even publicize community events. Both companies have an excellent history of covering their drivers' backs in times of need. For example, Lyft and Uber are known to reimburse drivers for car damage caused by passengers and for tickets that are unfairly handed out at airports. Lyft has a 24/7 emergency call center whereas Uber requires its customers to use their online support form.

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Service and Experience

If you want a front-seat, engaging, fun, point-A-to-point-B ride, Lyft is generally your choice. Uber drivers are more likely to open your door and dress well, whereas Lyft drivers are instructed to greet you as a friend with a fist-bump. In this category, Lyft takes the gold, as many Lyft rides sport fun themes such as the Harry Potter Lyft, the Trivia Lyft, the Karaoke Lyft, the Cookie Lyft, etc...


  – L Y F T   W I N S –



Legality
Both ride-sharing services are fast-moving and innovative. Quite frankly, a little too fast for the laws of the road to keep up. Issues of insurance, airport pick-ups, and commercial licensing do exist and lie in a very grey area. However, the laws are slowly catching up to be in favor of ride-sharing, TNCs (Transportation Network Companies) such as Lyft and Uber. With the first taxicab invented in 1837, innovative ride-sharing companies are expected to hit a few obstacles when facing taxicabs whose only change in the past 177 years has been from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles. Both companies, however, do operate legally. For instance, in California, Lyft and Uber operate under the CPUC. If you want to play it safe, keep a copy of your certificate of insurance and operational permit on you (Lyft's are publicly available. After a wild goose chase, I was only able to find Uber's certificate of insurance). Lastly, if you want to play it safe, avoid picking up passengers from the airport until the legality issue is resolved. It is important to know that the legal debates regarding ride-sharing companies has only put drivers at risk, not passengers.

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"Prime Time" or "Surge Pricing" Cost

At high-demand times and locations, the cost of a Lyft or Uber ride can significantly increase. For Lyft, "Prime Time" can increase the cost of a ride by 25 to 200%. For Uber, "Surge Pricing" can increase the cost of a ride by as much as 3 to 4 times the cost. In addition, Uber is notorious for having their "Surge Pricing" more difficult for the passenger to notice prior to requesting a pick-up. Lyft's "Prime Time", on the other hand, is not as easy to miss. Be sure to understand that requesting a ride after a busy football game, fourth of July weekend, or on New Years Eve will most likely cost you more. By capping how much a ride's price can increase by, and clearly showing the "Prime Time" prior to requesting a ride, Lyft is the clear victor of this category.


– L Y F T   W I N S 



Safety

Lyft and Uber drivers are required to have their own car with up-to-date insurance and a valid driver's license. Drivers must also pass a DMV background check, criminal background check, and car inspection. For Uber, drivers must be at least 23 and have a 4-door car, 2003 or newer. For Lyft, drivers must be at least 21 and have a 4-door car, 2001 or newer. Lastly, both companies use a rating system to quickly weed out bad drivers from the system. Of course, there is a risk with anyone who steps inside a car.  However, when compared to the average driver on the road, I believe it's safe to bet that Lyft and Uber drivers are among the safest. It's important to note that Lyft has a much higher percentage of female drivers and passengers. One can conclude that the ladies must feel safer when driving behind a pink, fuzzy mustache.


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Professionalism

If you want a back-seat, quiet, point-A-to-point-B ride, Uber is generally your choice. There are a handful of Uber drivers that are just as fun and engaging as Lyft drivers, but in my experience, driving for Lyft feels like a fun adventure and driving for Uber feels like a professional job. I still drive for both companies, and will change up different days depending on my mood. Overall, it's really a matter of personal preference, but Uber takes the crown for professionalism.


  – U B E R   W I N S –



Driver Benefits and Perks

Both ride-sharing companies offer a handful of benefits to their drivers. Lyft has a page that details driver perks for active drivers, and so does Uber. Perks include discounted movie tickets, gym memberships, and even 15% off your AT&T phone bill. Uber tends to offer highly valued incentives to drive during busy weekends or holidays. For instance, during memorial day weekend in 2014, drivers raked in at least $40/hr just for being signed into driver mode. In my opinion, both companies are generous and take great care of their drivers.


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The App

For drivers and passengers, the Lyft app is generally accepted as more user friendly and functional. Both apps allow you to request a ride, watch your driver navigate to your location on a map, and submit ratings at the end of your ride. However, only the Lyft app allows passengers to plug in an address prior to being picked up, allowing the ride to start immediately and with ease. The Uber app benefits by showing passengers the real-time cost of their ride. Lyft drivers may use their own smartphone to operate the ride-sharing app, while Uber drivers must use a supplied 3G iPhone. The Uber 3G iPhone restricts the the driver from downloading non-"Uber" apps. I find myself using the Uber 3G iPhone to run the ride-sharing app and my Android phone to navigate Google Maps. It is difficult operating two phones simultaneously, especially when you're concerned about your phone's battery. Finally, there is even talk of Uber charging drivers $10 / week to use their supplied 3G iPhone.


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