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In the modern economy, it’s a rider’s world to take full advantage of. Rideshare companies are battling it out to win your purchase, which means the sweetest transportation deals are always a tap away. It’s time for you to start reaping the benefits of the never-ending competition between Lyft Shared, formerly known as Lyft Line, and UberPool.
If cost and convenience are of utmost importance to you when selecting a ride, Lyft and Uber’s true rideshare services may be your perfect match. In this article, we’ll explain what Lyft Shared and UberPool are, and help you compare the services, so you get the best deal every time.
- What Is Lyft Shared (or Lyft Line)?
- What Is UberPool?
- Lyft Shared vs. UberPool
- Options for Parties of Three or More
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Lyft Shared (or Lyft Line)?
Lyft officially rebranded Lyft Line as Lyft Shared in 2018, but whatever you call it, it’s a highly cost-efficient service that connects a single Lyft driver to multiple riders who are headed in the same direction. The service allows up to two riders per request to join a carpool and save money when the riders don’t need a private ride.
Requesting a Lyft Shared ride is as easy as requesting a regular Lyft. To use Lyft Shared, simply open up your app, input your destination and pick-up location, select the Shared option, and tap “Select Lyft.” You’ll still get from point A to point B in a satisfactory time frame, just with a few short detours along the way.
A few years after Lyft Line was initially launched, Lyft Shared Saver was created to offer riders the lowest possible prices — yes, even lower than Lyft Shared. This unique service is the perfect blend of public transportation and rideshare, as it requires riders to walk up to five minutes each to be in their driver’s direct route and to reach their final destination.
What Is UberPool?
Nothing left to explain here: UberPool is so similar to Lyft Shared that it functions the exact same way — from the ride request process to the way the technology matches riders and drivers. This is because UberPool is actually one of many copycat features within the rideshare industry. Its beta version launched just one day before Lyft Line became fully available on the Lyft app.
Uber also has its own version of Lyft Shared Saver — Uber Express Pool — though the company did beat Lyft to this major money-saving innovation (even if Via actually came up with the concept first). That said, there’s truly no reason to compare what the two carpool services offer when selecting a ride. It’s all about diving deeper into other factors.
Lyft Shared vs. UberPool
As we just mentioned, it’s near impossible to decide which company provides the best carpool services based on the services alone. Below, we’ll dive into two specific factors that will truly impact which company you select.
The first question you should ask before requesting either carpool service is, of course, whether it’s even available in your location.
Both Lyft Shared and UberPool are available in most major cities, where demand is high enough for the services to benefit the masses. Ten of these cities include:
- Austin, Texas
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Chicago, Illinois
- Denver, Colorado
- Los Angeles, California
- Miami, Florida
- New York City, New York
- San Francisco, California
- Seattle, Washington
- Washington, D.C.
However, Uber beats Lyft Shared in availability because, as of 2016, UberPool was available in at least triple the amount of markets that Lyft Shared was available in. Thanks to Uber’s tendency for rapid expansion and its established presence in an enormous amount of international markets.
For the most up-to-date information about the services offered in your city, we recommend selecting your city page from Lyft‘s list of markets or Uber‘s list of markets, or checking your rideshare apps.
The final pricing of every UberPool and Lyft Shared ride is dependent on your location. However, prices are always upfront and similar within each market. Differences in fees are often just a few cents. Based on the locations we researched, Uber often wins in per-minute pricing, whereas Lyft wins in per-mile pricing, but estimated prices are never far off.
Cancellation fees are also equal in pretty much every city and are triggered after a short time frame. Admittedly, if you’re running late getting to your pick-up location, every second can count. UberPool’s two-minute driver wait time is slightly more generous than Lyft Shared’s one-minute driver wait time, and can save you the hassle of paying a $5 cancellation fee and re-requesting a ride.
However, it’s important to take into account the fairly unique ways in which each company responds to high demand or low supply. Uber is notorious among riders for its surge pricing, which can kick fares up to seven times their normal rate — with no known maximum — in busy areas. On the other hand, Lyft’s Prime Time typically covers smaller areas and doesn’t frequently reach the levels of Uber’s surge prices. This means that in times of high demand (like after concerts or during rush hour), Lyft is often the better option.
Options for Parties of Three or More
If you’re planning to share a ride with a large group, you unfortunately won’t qualify to request a ride with either carpool service. However, Uber and Lyft rides are still affordable if you know which services to request. Here are two additional economy services that the companies offer:
- UberX or the standard Lyft: Providing regular sedans for up to four passengers, UberX vehicles and regular Lyfts are the cheapest options for private rides.
- UberXL or Lyft XL: If the number of people in your party exceeds four, upgrade from the most basic ride option to fit up to six passengers at an affordable rate.
Uber also uniquely offers riders a Split Fare option, which allows larger groups to equally divide the cost of their ride for a fee of 25 cents per rider. For a more in-depth breakdown of Uber and Lyft as a whole, take a look at our detailed comparison of the companies.
Frequently Asked Questions
At the end of the day, whether you select UberPool or Lyft Shared truly depends on which service is available in your location, and the pricing factors at the exact time of your request. To help you better understand both services, here are some common questions, answered:
1. What can I do if I have issues with other passengers on my shared ride?
If you experience any problematic interactions with fellow Lyft Shared or UberPool passengers, the best course of action is to contact the support team for the platform you used for the trip. You can share details about your co-rider issue with Uber on this page or submit a ticket about the situation with Lyft. Both companies promise timely support.
2. Is Lyft Shared any different from Lyft Line?
No, Lyft Shared is the exact same service as Lyft Line. The change was purely for branding purposes to encourage more riders to tap into the growing economically and environmentally friendly trend of “shared” rides. The only difference is the name of the service you’ll be requesting.
3. How do I start receiving Lyft Shared or UberPool requests?
Once you’ve been approved as a driver on either platform, you only need to opt into these carpool-style requests to start receiving them. This is because both companies only require you to meet minimum driver and vehicle requirements on the platform when providing these discount services. If you qualify for UberX or any higher-cost services, you’re welcome to drive Shared or Pool riders anytime.
4. If no other ride requests are headed in the same direction, can I still request a Lyft Shared or UberPool ride?
You definitely can. Both companies’ systems will designate you as the first passenger on the route, and if no other Uber or Lyft passengers join you on your way there, you’ll still get the upfront price that you were quoted before requesting your ride.
Save Big on Your Next Ride
If you don’t mind riding alongside strangers on the way to your destination, Lyft Shared and UberPool will help you keep your money in your pocket, so you can spend more on the things that matter most to you. We hope this guide has given you insight into each company’s carpool service, so your future decision-making is never difficult.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.