Uber vs Lyft: A Side-By-Side Comparison

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, you’ve likely heard about, seen, or experienced something to do with rideshare. While ridesharing has been around for a while, it has just recently grown more popular, and is really catching on among customers worldwide.

What can we make of the comparisons and contrasts between these two companies that have both exploded in growth in the last few years? To properly compare the two companies, we’ll evaluate each based on 8 different criteria areas:

  1. Pricing
  2. The App
  3. Vehicle Types/Options
  4. Customer Support
  5. Coverage Areas
  6. Innovation
  7. Brand Image

Before getting in to some specifics that will obviously help one when making the best informed decision, let’s first take a look at just some general comparisons as well as some contrasts.

Lyft vs Uber: A Comprehensive Guide

First, let’s take a look at some of the obvious comparisons.

Both of these companies allow a person to hail a car from their phone. Secondly, it seems that, without investigating specifically, that the prices for some of the most basic services appear to be roughly the same: when Lyft introduces a new driver promotion, Uber does the same. When Lyft offers new users huge amounts of free ride credit? You bet, Uber also gives their riders account credit on the house. Uber also Uber invests in autonomous cars? Lyft strikes a record deal with GM. This makes most people think that the companies probably keep a really good eye on each other and prices to obviously stay competitive.

To contrast the two companies, one first can safely say that Uber is definitely the bigger company, which obviously means that Uber is available in many more places. In contrast, Lyft seems to promote a mission and vision of community and friendliness, which carries over into how the drivers are expected to interact with the passengers. Uber’s mission and values seem to be more business and professional oriented which might translate into the fact that Uber drivers communicate less with their passengers.

Finally, when we look at amenities, we find that Uber has many more upscale options for people who are considering these type options – one being more upscale cars.

The In-Depth Breakdown

In the next several sections, you can count on finding some very specifics comparisons and contrasts in relation to Uber vs. Lyft – comparisons and contrasts that can definitely help you make the most informed decision in regards to which company that you should choose for your transportation needs.

1. Uber vs. Lyft Pricing

Saving money concept. businessman's hand holds dollar banknoteUber and Lyft compete heavily on pricing, attempting to lure customers away from each other by constantly offering lower prices than the other. However, when we take a more in-depth look at the actual pricing that is being set by these companies, we find that for the most part, the companies charge about the same prices, although prices can vary from city to city.

Both companies charge around $1.00 to start a ride, and then charge $1.50 per mile, and then .25 cents per minute. When we think about an average cost per mile after computing these particular costs, we find that the average tends to be about $2.00 per mile which is still, when compared to a taxi, much more cost effective. Still, depending on the city, charges incurred might be a bit more, especially in some larger cities.

Another pricing factor to consider are peak times and locations where there might be a very high demand for transportation. Both companies use some form of price surging – meaning fare prices are raised in times when rider demand is greater than normal. Uber oftentimes increases their price about 7X or 8X what the original price would have been, while Lyft has been known to increase their prices at least 2X. Both companies let the consumer know up front before they take these rides.

What this means for riders:

Many riders will choose Lyft, especially in times of high demand, since Lyft typically doesn’t hit the high multiples that Uber riders have come to dread.

What this means for drivers:

From a driver’s perspective, Lyft takes much less than Uber does. Uber’s take from commission fees are outrageous, and now with their new upfront pricing strategy, it’s even worse. Take a look at the comment sections on our posts and you’ll see that drivers are not pleased, in the least bit, with what’s going on.

High-end drivers prefer UberBLACK, regular drivers tend to prefer driving for Lyft.

My Take

Since both companies charge about the same on a normal day, I use whichever service is closer and can pick me up first. During times of high demand, however, I almost never use Uber. It only takes one $150 Uber trip and you’ll never get the taste of that ride out of your mouth.

Winner: Lyft

2. Uber App vs. Lyft App

Schedule list on mobile phone, hand touch selecting task on smartphone organizer application. Flat icon modern design style vector illustration concept.

Both of these apps that have experienced enormous growth since their inception, and I sometimes have to admit that a good analogy might be that of the question: Are you a serious iPhone user or do you tend to be an Android user? Or, are you an outlier that operates with a Windows phone?

Answering this question defines what the rider is looking for in their experience. Both companies developed their apps around the same time, and both apps are designed at the core to simply connect a rider to a driver.

In looking at the functionality of the app itself, we find that they function about the same. Both apps tend to be user friendly; however, the Uber app tends to allow the consumer to have a better idea of the total cost of his/her ride. For some consumers, this is very important. Lyft is improving their app to be more transparent, but it’s still not quite there yet.

Uber’s app is packed with features, and is slowly becoming less user-friendly than it used to be. While they recently pushed an upgrade that now allows users to tip their drivers, there’s also a lot of cross-promotional to other services like UberEATS and their delivery services, which riders may not want to see when trying to take a ride.

What this means for riders:

A lot of the riders I talk to don’t have a preference either way. Since both apps simply connect the rider to the driver and both operate very similarly, riders typically just choose the service with the closer car.

What this means for drivers:

Most rideshare riders use both services, and bounce back and forth to find the closer ride. As a result, many rideshare drivers will drive for both Uber and Lyft at the same time, and take whichever ride comes up first. This minimizes downtime spent waiting and is one of the easiest ways to increase earnings.

My Take:

I really don’t see the difference between the two rideshare apps, other than small aesthetic differences like the color palette or the shape of the cars. When riding, I just choose the service that has a closer car. When driving, I operate both apps and take whichever ride request comes up first. This just comes down to whichever you prefer.

Winner: Tie

3. Vehicle Types/Options

When taking a look at the battle between Uber and Lyft, one of the biggest factors that sets the two services apart is the vehicle options available to passengers.

Uber caters to businesspeople and professionals, and has a broad range of vehicles to choose from.

UberPOOL This is the cheapest ride option available. Riders share rides going along the same route.
UberX Another budget option, an everyday car with room for up to 4 people will come and pick you up.
UberXL An SUV with seating for up to 6 people will come and pick you up.
UberSELECT This is a 4 door luxury sedan with seating for up to 4 passengers.
UberBLACK Uber’s original car service, these rides feature high-end luxury vehicles with seating for up to 4 passengers.
UberSUV The most expensive service Uber offers, a high-end SUV with seating for up to 6 passengers will pick you up.

Lyft, on the other hand, offers less vehicle options than Uber.

Lyft Line Riders share rides going along the same route. The cheapest option available to riders.
Lyft The budget option of the group, an everyday car with room for 4 passengers comes to get you.
Lyft Plus This is also a regular vehicle to get you, but with room for up to 6 passengers.
Lyft Premier These are rides in higher quality vehicles than the other Lyft options. Seating up to 4 passengers.

Aside from the options of the vehicles available, there is a noticeable difference between the rider experience. Since Uber leans towards businesspeople, the drivers are oftentimes professional, concise, and do the best they can to simply get you from point A to point B. Lyft drivers on the other hand, live up to their slogan “You Friend With a Car”. Lyft drivers tend to be friendly, open to conversation, and all around more fun than Uber drivers.

If a consumer is looking for a friendly ride with social interaction, then Lyft is the company to choose. Lyft riders are encourage to sit in the front seat, interact with the driver, and basically have a very friendly visit while enroute to his/her destination.

Lyft drivers also do really fun things for the consumer – they participate in somewhat of a themed ride meaning the theme might be a sports theme or it might be a karaoke theme. Some drivers have been known to have a Harry Potter theme, while other drivers have been known to have the mustache theme for photo opportunities. The whole experience is intended to be a lot of fun with social interaction.

However, if the consumer is looking for a few minutes to focus on an upcoming presentation while riding from point A to point B, then Uber is the company for him/her. The Uber driver is going to be dressed a bit more professional. The Uber driver is going to get out and open the door for the consumer, and is overall going to give the consumer a more business-like professional ride to his/her destination.

What this means for riders:

Uber is geared more towards business riders and people who value quality and image, while Lyft is geared towards more lax users simply looking for a friendly ride. Ride with Uber, simply get a professional ride. Ride with Lyft, have fun with it.

What this means for drivers:

Drivers can expect more earning potential with Uber since there are more ride options available to choose from. Services like UberBLACK cost much more than regular Lyft rides, so drivers will likely see more money in their pockets by driving for the higher end services.

In additional, Lyft riders tend to tip more. Drive with Uber, pick up professionals with their heads buried in their work. Drive with Lyft, pick up friendly people who will likely tip.

My Take:

I use Lyft a lot, especially in times of high demand or when there is a driver close and I need a ride in a hurry. However, I personally like the selection of vehicles that Uber offers far more than Lyft. If I need a cheap ride, UberPOOL has my back. If I’m on a business trip and want to impress a client, UberBLACK it is.

While I like the ride experience with Lyft far more than Uber’s, I have to go with Uber on this one because there are way more types of rides available.

Winner: Uber

4. Uber vs. Lyft Customer Support

In terms of customer support, riders and drivers can expect pretty similar methods of getting in touch with the companies. These include email, in-app support, website support, critical response lines, etc…

It’s worth noting that the customer service of both companies has declined in recent years as the companies grow, and does seem to need some work overall.  As both companies become larger and larger, the customer service is likely to improve due to forced competition between the two.

After digging around the forums and comment sections of various websites, it appears that Lyft is a bit more helpful in solving problems than Uber. Uber gives a bunch of canned responses readily available on their Help Portal, while Lyft actually takes time to answer each question. From my experience I can agree, Lyft reps seem to actually care and go out of their way to try to solve your problems.

What this means for riders:

If you have a generic question about Uber or Lyft, take a look at their help sections before you ask, otherwise you will waste a lot of time. Both companies will likely give you a canned response, but Lyft typically digs deeper in their reponses.

For more critical matters, both companies have a critical response line that provides near-instant support to resolve issues like accidents, bad behavior from drivers, etc..

What this means for drivers:

Driver incidents are far more likely to occur than passenger incidents, and drivers have reported that the Uber customer support number is the easiest way to solve these issues.

Like passenger requests, immediate issues will be solved quickly, but stock responses will likely be given for responses that can be generic and general. Uber support offers canned responses, and Lyft support typically dives a little deeper into the issue.

My Take

From my experience, I like working with Lyft’s customer support much more than I like working with Uber’s. Lyft representatives seem more friendly, while Uber reps seem like they are just there for the paycheck, and seem to be constantly overwhelmed. Lyft takes the cake for this category.

Winner: Lyft


RECOMMENDED RESOURCE:

– How to Contact Uber

– How to Contact Lyft


5. Uber vs. Lyft Coverage Areas

When we look at the comparisons between the two rideshare behemoths, it’s pretty obvious that the two companies are aggressively expanding and fighting to gain market share. Uber has more investors and a much larger war chest, so it’s grown more popular throughout the nation.

There are more drivers, more riders, and it’s in more cities than Lyft. Uber is clearly larger than Lyft, and it shows. Uber has also gained traction in not only more cities, but also countries. They’ve struck the right partnerships, expanded at the right times, and seized opportunities well.

As it stands now, ridesharing options tends to only be in the more metropolitan areas but is sure to branch out further in the future as this option of transportation is gaining popularity. Uber is in 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide; whereas, Lyft is only available in roughly 65-70 cities in the United States; therefore, hands down, Uber has a much larger coverage area.

What this means for riders:

Riders can expect to get quick, reliable rides from Uber pretty much anywhere they go. Lyft has a large foothold in most US cities, but when traveling abroad, riders can just assume they’ll be taking an Uber.

What this means for drivers:

Uber offers many more positions than Lyft, in many more cities. They have a greater selection of vehicles in a greater selection of cities.

My Take:

I think Uber has a much more reliable coverage area than Lyft. Lyft has done a great job of expanding in the United States to close this gap, but the divide is still very evident. There’s quite a few cities and countries that Lyft is still not in, so from a market share standpoint, Uber wins this round.

Winner: Uber

6. Uber vs. Lyft Innovation

abstract vector design. Businessman and technology object. Modern Business Concept on Lyft vs Uber debate post

As Uber and Lyft expand, both companies are striking new partnerships to push forward innovation and break into new areas. Both companies are fierce competitors, competing heavily on price, but also scrambling to create the latest and greatest innovations. These types of innovations help cut costs and prices, leading to greater passenger demand and higher profits and valuations.

Uber offers the following key innovations: (1) A tiered approach meaning that if the consumer wants a ride beyond the average, he/she can request “semi-luxury” or even “luxury; (2) a rigorous driver rating system that encourages the professionalism of the drivers; (3) a surge pricing system that always encourages more drivers to be available during peak times as well as high demand times; and (4) the “no-tip” policy which is highly debated.

In contrast, Lyft offers innovations as well. Lyft offers its consumers the ability to participate in what the company calls, “Lyft Line.” This means that consumers who are riding along the same routes can ride together and split the cost. Additionally, Lyft offer what they call, “Lyft Plus” meaning groups of six passengers or more riding together. Also, deemed a highly debatable topic in the ride sharing world and a major difference in contrast to Uber, Lyft offers the ability for the consumer to tip the driver. Interestingly enough, Lyft has presented company innovation awards to key people who have contributed to the advancement of the ridesharing industry, which correlates heavily to their core mission and values.

What this means for riders:

As innovation advances, so do economies of scale. In the future, riders can expect prices to drop and rides to get cheaper.

What this means for drivers:

Uber and Lyft have assured drivers that with the rise of autonomous cars, their jobs will still be safe. But layoffs and less need for drivers will likely increase as technology that can replace drivers advances.

My Take:

Overall, where innovations are concerned, both Uber and Lyft have investors that realize that ridesharing is here to stay. Both companies are making incredibly large investments into new technologies, and those investments will lead to new innovations in the future.

I think Uber’s acquisition of Waymo puts them one step ahead of Lyft. If they can move on past the lawsuit with Waymo, they’ll advance their technology enough to be even more of a powerhouse than they already are. Until then, we’ll wait it out.

Winner: Uber

7. Uber and Lyft Brand Image

If you read the news it’s clear that the ridesharing industry is upending transportation as we know it. Uber and Lyft are kicking cabs to the curb, and taking no prisoners as they expand from city to city.

But as they do so, they rapidly grow, oftentimes without taking the time to step back and strategically think about how they are perceived by everybody else.

Uber has been involved in countless scandals, lawsuits, and bad PR. It seems like they just can’t get a break.

On the contrary, you rarely hear bad PR about Lyft, and when you do, they own their mistakes and move forward.

What this means for riders:

As Uber goes rogue and the scandals mount, many riders are deactivating their accounts and switching to Lyft. Riders will see more incentives and positive marketing campaigns from Uber, and should look out for these as time goes on.

What this means for drivers:

Lyft drivers are seeing an increasing surge of riders from Uber, increasing demand and inflating prices. I think Lyft drivers should enjoy this increase while it lasts, because I think it’s only temporary.

My Take:

Lyft is clearly the winner here, as they’ve been able to fly under the radar and for the most part stay out of the negative spotlight. Uber clearly has a brand problem, and over the next few years they have their work cut out for them to repair not only their culture, but also their image as a whole. This one goes to Lyft, easily.

Winner: Lyft

Bonus: The rapid growth and rise of the rideshare industry (Infographic)

Conclusion: Our Take

In conclusion, most of this debate really comes down to the question, “which ridesharing option is best for you?” Where you are located plays a big part in which service is bigger and what options are offered. The second question might be that of what sort of ride do you need – average, semi-luxury, or luxury? Thirdly, do you want to be able to tip the driver or not? Fourth, is the use of the app important to you?

These and several other questions will guide your decision in deciding which is the best rideshare option for you. At times, your need might dictate that you use Uber because of the location of where you are. Other times, your scenario might be more advantageous to use Lyft. For example, you have a group of people celebrating someone’s birthday, then you might choose Lyft for your experience in that they are going to be socially interactive and may even carry a fun theme for the day or the week!

At the end of the day, the battle boils down to who you are, what features you’re looking for, and your value system. I use Uber for some things, but Lyft for others. Overall, both pair me with a reliable ride, and that’s all I’m looking for.


What service do you prefer? Which do you drive for, and which is more profitable? Start a discussion by letting us know in the comment section below!

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