The saying “Uber everywhere” definitely resonates with everyone nowadays. Getting to places and being on time has gotten a lot easier. Since 2009, Uber launched and has become the number one alternative to traditional taxi cabs. Anyone who has a smartphone can download the app. Uber is intended to be easier and cheaper than using a taxi. The experience Uber designed is supposed to be very simple and convenient. Indeed, what attracts people to Uber is how generally it is 25% to 50% cheaper than taxi cabs and how quickly they can get to you. With that, there is now another app that is dominating the scene, Lyft. Lyft launched in 2012 and ever since has been a competition for Uber. Both of these companies allow a person to hail a car from their phone.
When Lyft introduces a new driver promotion, Uber does the same. When Lyft offers new users huge amounts of free ride credit? Uber also gives their riders account credit on the house. You can tell that the companies probably keep a really good eye on each other and how their prices fluctuate. When comparing Uber to Lyft, Uber is definitely the bigger company meaning that their service is available in many more places. Yet, Lyft seems to promote more of a mission and vision of “community and friendliness,” which corrolates with how the drivers are expected to interact with the passengers. Uber’s mission and values seem to be more business and professional and therefore Uber drivers communicate less with their passenger.
According to Ridester, Uber 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 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.” For riders, choosing Lyft seems to be the better route when cars are in high demand since Lyft typically doesn’t hit those high surges that Uber riders have come to dread.
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. While going through different comments on the topic, 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.” 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 responses.
According to Investopedia, Lyft originally identified its vehicles with furry pink mustaches on the front (“carstaches”), however, now it uses a more subtle system called the Amp on some vehicles in some cities (rollout began in December 2016). The Amp sits on the driver’s dashboard and lights up in a particular color. Waiting passengers see the color in the Lyft app on their phone so they know what to look for, which is especially helpful when getting a ride after dark. “All Lyft vehicles have stickers displaying the Lyft logo in the front and rear windshields. Retiring its mustaches may have been a move toward adopting a more professional look to compete with Uber. Uber uses a beacon similar to Lyft’s Amp to help passengers identify the cars they’re waiting for. Drivers also display placards with the Uber logo in their front and back windshields. The apps themselves help drivers and riders identify each other as well.”
Uber is a much larger company than Lyft and has received a lot of negative press for everything from a sexual harassment lawsuit to its cutthroat workplace culture to the low wages some workers earn. “The company was also accused of trying to profit from a New York protest against Trump’s travel ban, which led to the #deleteuber social media campaign.” Lyft has so far managed to avoid many of the controversies Uber has faced, perhaps in part because of its smaller size, though a New York labor group recently accused Lyft of wage theft. Most recently, it was reported that the FBI had opened a probe into Uber’s use of software to track Lyft’s drivers.
The Bottom Line
Uber and Lyft both offer innovative and often superior alternatives to taxis and long-established private transportation services, and both give passengers a convenient and innovative way to request and pay for rides through their smartphones. However, the companies have some differences in their service areas, offerings, and culture. And because each company’s drivers are “independent contractors with varying vehicle types and personalities, even if you consistently use the same service in the same city, each trip will be different.” If you’re trying to get the best bang for your buck – check both apps and compare next time you plan on using one of the services.