With multiple rideshare companies to pick from, it can be difficult to figure out which is the better deal – especially when it comes to the top two competitors: Lyft Line vs UberPool.
Here’s what you should know about what these services are, what they have to offer, and which is the better deal when booking a rideshare.
- What is Lyft Line and UberPool?
- Which is Better: Lyft Line or UberPool?
- How Do Lyft Line and UberPool Work?
- What are the Main Differences Between Lyft Line and UberPool (AKA UberX Share)?
- Pros and Cons of Lyft Line and UberPool
- Cost Per Ride: Lyft Line vs. UberPool
- Lyft Line vs. UberPool Ranked: Who Wins?
- Final Thoughts
What is Lyft Line and UberPool?
Lyft Line, which you may also know as Lyft Shared from their rebrand, is a rideshare service that allows you to connect with other riders headed in the same direction, and share the same vehicle for a lower cost.
UberPool, who’s also had their own rebrand as UberX Share, functions exactly the same way as Lyft Line does: the app allows you to share your ride with other riders in the same car that are taking a similar route.
At their core, Lyft Line and UberPool offer the same exact service, but we’ll get into the small ways they vary from each other below.
Which is Better: Lyft Line or UberPool?
Both Uber and Lyft have their benefits with an additional passenger.
While UberPool and Express Pool score more points with stricter COVID guidelines and availability in big cities like San Francisco and San Diego as well as small towns, Lyft tends to be the more affordable option for shared rides and carpooling.
How Do Lyft Line and UberPool Work?
Both Lyft Line and UberPool allow you to use their services through their apps and while the process is very similar, there are a few differences we’ll get into below.
To use Lyft Line, the process is fairly straightforward:
- You’ll need to open the Lyft app on your phone and log into your existing account (or make a new one if you’re using the service for the first time).
- After you open the app, you need to press “Line” and then select “Request Line.” From there, the app will direct you to put in your destination so that it can begin matching you with similar riders/
- Depending on location, the app may take a few minutes to build your line, but once it’s done, you’ll be matched with your ride and can pay the cost of the trip.
It’s important to note that even if Lyft isn’t able to find other riders headed in the same direction, you’ll still get the discounted rate for your ride.
Once your ride has arrived, you’ll get a notification letting you know.
Keep in mind that if you are connected with other riders, your driver will make stops along the route to pick up or drop off other riders in the car.
While a shared ride may take longer than a private one, the app will give you an estimated time of arrival when you create your Line, which includes any pit stops the driver will need to make along the way.
Sharing a ride with UberPool is a similar process:
- The first step is to open up the app and enter your destination in the “Where To?” box.
- After you’ve put in your destination, there will be a button at the bottom of the screen for “Uber Pool.” You’ll select that button, and you’ll be able to request the Pool for up to two people.
- The app may take a couple of minutes to match you with nearby riders headed the same way.
- Once you confirm your destination, UberPool will give you the discounted rate as well as an estimated time when you can arrive at your destination. This estimation also factors in other riders that may be included in the Pool.
- Once you’re in the car, the driver should let you know when you arrive at your destination, and you can exit the vehicle.
Both Lyft Line and UberPool have very similar processes for how their rideshare programs work.
They both take a few minutes to match you with other riders (if there are any) and will give you an estimated time of arrival.
They also both keep the discounted rate for your ride, regardless of whether you get matched with other riders.
So far, Lyft Line and UberPool seem pretty similar, so where do these services differ?
There are still a few areas where these two are different from each other, such as availability.
Although both services are available in most major cities like Denver, New York City, Boston, Austin, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Miami, UberPool still has more availability than Lyft Line currently does.
For someone who lives in a smaller city, you may have more luck hitching a ride with UberPool than with Lyft Line.
The wait times of each service are also a little different.
While the wait time for drivers is more generous at two minutes with UberPool, Lyft Line drivers are only required to wait a single minute.
So, if you’re running late or aren’t quite at the pickup location yet, you may have better luck working with UberPool than Lyft Line.
There are also some differences with how each service has adapted to COVID-19 guidelines and health concerns.
With Lyft Line, the service requires that both drivers and riders wear face coverings throughout the entire ride, and allow riders to cancel the trip if someone in the vehicle isn’t following those guidelines.
Lyft has also adapted their guidelines to only allow two riders in the vehicle at a time with the driver – which is different than their previous policy to allow as many riders as there are seats.
UberPool has the same policy of only one co-rider, but they can take an extra precaution by requiring riders to take a masked selfie before they get inside the vehicle.
Pros and Cons of Lyft Line and UberPool
Like any service, both Lyft Line and UberPool come with their fair share of pros and cons.
What Are the Pros of Lyft Line?
The pros of Lyft Line include:
- Lyft Line tends to be a little cheaper during rush hours or times when rideshare services are more likely to use surge pricing.
- Less traffic congestion and easier on the environment.
- There’s an upfront cost for the trip that doesn’t change, even if your car doesn’t end up picking up any more riders.
The pros of UberPool include:
- More availability across smaller or medium-sized cities in the US, which can make it easier to find a ride.
- The service allows you to interact with new riders and people you might not otherwise talk to.
- Discounted rate may continue to drop if you end up picking up more riders.
- You’ll only have to wait up to two minutes for the app to find potential riders before you get matched.
- UberPool has designed their system so your rideshare shouldn’t take more than eight extra minutes.
- They require riders to take a masked selfie before they can confirm and take their ride.
What Are the Cons of Lyft Line?
The cons of Lyft Line include:
- Shorter wait times for drivers, which can make it easier to miss your ride if you’re walking to the pickup location.
- Less availability in smaller cities and towns.
- The service doesn’t have any way to enforce mask guidelines unless riders report it.
What are the Cons of UberPool?
The cons of UberPool include:
- UberPool’s cost estimate that they give you at the beginning of the trip can sometimes change, and is only an estimate.
- The app will only give you one co-rider per time but will look for other riders once they’re dropped off.
Keep in mind that with health and COVID restrictions, both UberPool and Lyft Line have limited availability in certain regions.
Cost Per Ride: Lyft Line vs. UberPool
Although cost can vary based on where you live and how far you’re going, which service is cheaper?
Here’s what you should know, and how much you can expect to spend on average with each one.
Average Cost Per Ride for Lyft Line
While cost can depend on location and how far you’re going, Lyft uses a base fare for every trip, which can change based on the city you live in.
Average Lyft costs can range $15 to $20 in major cities, and the service aims to keep Lyft Line trips at least 20% to 30% cheaper than regular Lyft rides.
Keep in mind that trips to the airport, going across state lines, or using toll roads can all tack on additional costs for your trip, even if it’s not for your specific destination.
Compared to UberPool, Lyft tends to have a cheaper per-mile rate, although that doesn’t always equal a cheaper ride once you tack on service fees and other surcharges.
And, as mentioned above, Lyft’s Prime Time costs aren’t as extreme as UberPool’s – so, you may get a cheaper ride if you’re using Lyft during rush hour or when demand is higher.
Average Cost Per Ride for UberPool
UberPool has a similar pricing structure as Lyft Line, and trips tend to cost around 30% less than Uber X and the average Uber ride.
The cost per mile tends to be a little higher than Lyft in most locations, and like regular Uber rides, UberPool is still subject to surge pricing during rush hour or times of high demand.
Neither Lyft Line or UberPool charge by person – instead, both services charge based on distance, time per day, and other factors like toll roads or picking up from airports.
Lyft Line vs. UberPool Ranked: Who Wins?
Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer as to who is the better pick.
Both services excel in different areas, and the best choice for you can depend on what matters to you.
If you’re someone who lives in a smaller town and needs more availability, UberPool might be the better pick.
In bigger cities where there may be higher demand, Lyft Line may be the cheaper and more convenient option for a rideshare.
For anyone who’s worried about health and COVID guidelines, UberPool might be the winner since they require confirmation that riders are masked before they ever step into the vehicle.
Best in-App Experience
When it comes to the in-app experience, Uber wins by just a slim margin.
Their app is a little bit more user-friendly, but it also wins because it limits the amount of time it’ll look for other drivers to two minutes.
Uber’s app just has a few more features as well, including an option to write a thank you or detailed compliment to your driver if you give them a five-star rating for the ride.
One downside to Uber’s platform is the noisiness – while you’re booking your ride, the platform may try to advertise some of their other services, like UberEats.
Lyft’s app is just as functional, but it does lack a few of the minor features that you get with Uber, including writing a review for great drivers.
Best IRL Experience
As far as the real-life experience goes, the winner here is probably UberPool.
The environment in an Uber rideshare can feel a little more professional whereas Lyft’s riding environment feels more laidback – and either can be ideal, depending on where you’re headed or how much you want to interact with the other riders.
And, when it comes to availability in the real world, Uber takes the cake – you’re more likely to have more rideshare options, especially in smaller towns where Lyft may not be established yet.
The other benefit to Uber is you’re more likely to deal with riders that are closely following COVID guidelines.
While Lyft still requires riders to do this, there’s no way for them to directly enforce it unless drivers enforce it themselves (or riders cancel their ride).
Uber always requires riders to take a masked selfie before they step into the car, so it at least ensures that riders and drivers have a mask on hand.
Uber also aims to make sure their rides don’t add more than eight minutes to your total time, which can be a benefit in the real world when you’re on a time limit.
Best on Price
When it comes to price, Lyft Line only wins because of Uber’s high surge pricing.
With regular rideshares, both services’ average costs tend to balance out, but Lyft Line tends to have cheaper prices even during rush hour.
Lyft’s per-mile and per-time costs also tend to be slightly cheaper than Uber as well.
Best for Singles
When it comes to single rides, Lyft’s fixed-price model is usually the better deal.
If nobody else is picked up on your route, the ride still has a discounted rate, so you don’t have to worry about price fluctuation.
UberPool’s model provides an estimated cost and while they do keep discounted rates even for singles, there is still some price fluctuation if the driver does end up picking up new riders along the way.
For the best overall option, we’re going to have to go with UberPool – not only is their app easier to navigate, but they’ve taken more precautions with COVID guidelines, have more availability, and rank higher with real-world experiences.
While UberPool may be the best overall option, each rideshare service has plenty of pros and cons – if you’re purely interested in saving money, Lyft’s fixed-price model and moderate pricing could save you a few bucks in the long run.
However, if you’re worried about availability or health concerns, UberPool may be the better pick.