Lyft vs Uber: A Complete Analysis
There are two sides to every company: its workforce and its customers. These two sides don’t exist in a vacuum; how one side is treated has an impact on the other. That’s why we are going to take a comprehensive approach and examine both sides when it comes to the two mega ride sharing businesses: Lyft and Uber. Which company is better to drive for? Which company offers the best ride?
We will examine some similarities, but will spend a lot of time discussing where these companies differ in the driving requirements, Lyft vs Uber price comparison, driver pay, the apps, and market share.
Ride sharing has become extremely popular lately, so obviously there are benefits to be had on both sides. But which company is the best overall for drivers, and for passengers? Make the wrong decision and you could be losing out on money or a good experience. Here are some considerations to make an educated decision.
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1. Cost of Uber vs. Lyft
Some companies rely on personalized, specialized, or luxury products and don’t even try to compete on cost. Uber and Lyft do offer some special services, but their basic products are roughly the same price. They also compete fiercely in terms of any special offers. The unanimity is a result of the competition.
For instance, if Uber offers a discounted price on Groupon, Lyft will be swift on its heels to follow. Despite their attempts to undercut on another, overall, the price to hail a ride from your phone is largely the same.
However, both companies engage in price adjustments based on demand and location, and that can change things up a bit. That’s because when things get busy, both Lyft and Uber increase their prices by a certain percentage. Keep this in mind when you are comparing Lyft prices vs Uber prices.
Both the Lyft and Uber apps allow you to estimate your fare in advance. That’s a good thing, because there can be lots of variables.
For Lyft, your cost will depend upon the following: the minimum fare + location variable + vehicle type variable + miles traveled + total minutes + service fee + variable prime-time charge (time of day), if applicable. To account for all of these variables and get an accurate price for any given trip at any given time, you can enter your current location and destination addresses in here for an estimate.
Uber has similar variables for calculating price: base fare + time + distance rate + city variable + vehicle type + surge pricing. Variables aside, here are some rough averages of what you can expect from both companies. You can pay through each company’s smartphone app. To initiate the ride, you can expect to pay about a dollar.
For each minute you ride, it will be roughly another 25 cents and for each mile, another $1.50.
Shared rides are the cheapest option for both companies; followed by the UberX and Lyft options, with the most expensive being Black SUV for Uber and Lux Black XL for Lyft. At the time of writing, a ride from New York City’s Central Park to the One World Trade Center will set you back $32-36 if you use the basic Lyft service, whereas UberX costs $29.67.
Any deviations from the original route would still impact the price, but Uber wins in this particular Uber vs. Lyft fare comparison.
2. Lyft Pay vs Uber Pay
Now that we’ve compared Lyft vs Uber’s costs, let’s see if there’s an advantage to becoming an Uber driver vs Lyft, at least where earnings are concerned. Luckily, a loan company called Earnest did all the hard work for us and conducted a survey regarding this very subject. The verdict? It was very close, but Lyft drivers make a little more on average than Uber drivers according to the study.
That’s mainly because Lyft requires a smaller cut from its drivers. But also, Lyft tends to offer more opportunities for its drivers to make money during busy times. However, the same study from Earnest revealed a different outcome for those that drive for both Lyft and Uber. If you double-dip as a driver, you tend to make slightly more on Uber.
There are a few explanations for this: the most likely is that perhaps the people who drive for both companies tend to put in more hours for Uber. It is not explained by Uber’s commission fees, though, and the above study did not take into account how much each driver makes per hour—just total average monthly income.
If you are a high-end driver with a black vehicle, you definitely benefit by participating in Uber Black or Lux Black XL, as these fares are usually at least twice the price of basic services. To make the most of surge and prime-time bonus pay, it’s optimal to drive between 5-7 pm Friday and Saturday night and from 7-9 am Monday through Friday.
Roles have reversed when it comes to sign-up bonuses—Lyft now offers more money up-front. Both companies will send you promotional bonus offers via email once you sign up to drive. Neither company is likely to make the average driver rich though. One MIT study reflected earnings as low as $3.37 per hour, and while this is likely to be inaccurate and on the very low side, it does go to show how difficult it can be to really know what you and other drivers are going to earn ahead of time for either company. It’s not straightforward, nor is it forthcoming to determine how much you can make using Lyft vs. Uber as a driver.
3. Lyft vs Uber Market Share
Uber and Lyft are at the top of ridesharing companies when it comes to market share, but between the two, which does better? Uber is the original ridesharing service, and still commands the lead. But Lyft has made huge inroads on that success, thanks to Uber’s previous scandal-packed year.According to the research firm eMarketer, there is still a wide gap, but Lyft has narrowed this considerably.
While Uber has been forced to mitigate workplace sexual harassment scandals, and to change its arbitration terms for employees and riders who wish to file sexual misconduct claims, Lyft has been sitting back reaping the benefits of being a widely known alternative. There were also other reputation-damaging revelations about Uber’s culture this last year, including the company using a fraudulent app to mislead regulators.
It’s rare to hear of ethical lapses of this magnitude when it comes to Lyft. And even when Lyft makes mistakes, the company seems to own them and handle them well.
4. Uber Driver Vs. Lyft Driver Requirements
When it comes to the onboarding process, a poll by hyrecar.com suggests that Uber makes things easier for drivers. Some drivers cite enrollment problems with Lyft. Other questions about other factors were included in the survey, and requirements seem to be where drivers’ preference towards Uber ends. Both Lyft and Uber do offer the opportunity to rent or buy vehicles to drive if you don’t already own a car.
5. Uber Vs. Lyft Driver Benefits
While Uber is no longer offering its new driver sign-up bonus, it did replace that with a perk called guaranteed earnings. This program guarantees that you will earn a certain amount of money once you provide a certain number of rides: in my locale, it’s a $1,000 for the first 150 rides.
Earlier when I was using a VPN to research this topic, a Lyft ad was offering me $800 to sign up. Now than it is registering a different location, that bonus is only $500.
Uber offers MyHealth for health insurance; but it’s unclear as to how much this cuts drivers’ premiums, if any, on average. Lyft classifies drivers as contract workers, and as such, doesn’t offer company-funded health benefits. It does offer access to the eHealth marketplace.
Either way, if you are looking for traditional employer-funded healthcare, you’ll probably be disappointed in both Uber and Lyft.
When it comes to how each company encourages tips from customers, Lyft has always promoted gratuity for drivers. Uber recently added an option to tip drivers through its app, but the emphasis is not nearly as strong or long-lived as Lyft when it comes to tipping. Tips can really make a difference when we compare Lyft vs Uber driver income, but they are also hard to estimate for everyone.
6. Uber vs. Lyft Apps
The purpose of both the Uber and Lyft apps is to help riders book rides and obtain fare estimates. If you are a driver, it helps you connect with your customers and to collect tips. Regardless of which app you use, you’ll want to ensure the app pinpoints your starting location accurately. You’ll need a way to access the Internet on your device.
That will help whichever you choose to estimate how long it will take your driver to get there, and your fare, but Uber is better about calculating the fare up-front. Lyft won’t give you an ETA until you are ready to go, but Uber does immediately.
Still, it could be said that the Lyft app is a little more user-friendly because it isn’t so feature-packed and bent on cross-selling. Lyft also asks you if you need to add any stops along the route early in the booking process.
Who’s the Winner?
Lyft often wins as the most favorable app and service both when it comes to drivers and passengers. But location matters. Uber is still the top dog when it comes to availability, as it has a presence in more cities, states and countries. The Lyft experience is oftentimes viewed as more friendly, while Uber is more formal and sometimes better-preferred by businesses.