Driving for Uber vs. Lyft

Driving for Uber vs. Lyft

The debates with regard to a better service to drive for have been here for a couple of years now. However, the issue still remains more than topical which gives us an incentive to make a quick observation of the main aspects of driving for Uber and Lyft.

Onboarding process

The onboarding process for both Uber and Lyft includes checking of a person’s criminal and driving background, as well as necessary documentation, like driving license, vehicle registration and insurance. The major differences are, basically, that Uber does a background check online, while Lyft sends its representative to meet a driver in person, make sure if he/she possesses decent driving skills, carefully check the state of a vehicle, and explain how the app functions.

Vehicle requirements

As far as vehicle requirements go, a four-door vehicle has to be manufactured not earlier than the year 2000 to qualify for Uber and not earlier than the year 2003 to be accepted by Lyft. It is notable that vehicle age requirements differ from city to city. But overall Lyft cars tend to be a bit newer than that of Uber.

Vehicle ranges

One has to bear in mind that there are different ranges of vehicles available at Uber and Lyft. For instance, Uber has UberSELECT (luxury sedan for four passengers), UberBLACK (high-end luxury sedan for four passengers), UberSUV (high-end SUV for six passengers) options, while Lyft has only a Lyft Premier option (higher quality sedan compared to other Lyft sedans for four passengers). As far as you see, Uber provides more high-end options that result in higher driver’s pay and more sophisticated passenger experience.

App functionality & driver support

What concerns app functionality and driver support, drivers usually point out that the apps are very similar and both companies boast support hubs throughout the United States which one may visit if he/she encounters any problems that cannot be addressed online. All other differences seem to account for user interface that reflects corporate identity. Aesthetics, however, cannot be fairly estimated based on subjective judgement. In this regard the two companies are considered almost identical. However, drivers often note that Lyft Driver App is more driver-oriented meaning it has links to Lyft driver communities. They also frequently mention that Lyft’s policy is to treat their drivers and riders in a bit friendlier way compared to Uber, while Uber is perceived as a more high-end and luxurious option compared to Lyft.

Drivers’ pay

Price per ride with regard to both Uber and Lyft depends on the following:

  • The city;
  • The number of miles and minutes;
  • The time of the day/traffic situation/Surge for Uber and Prime Time for Lyft.

Uber and Lyft charge around $1.00 to start a ride, $1.50 per mile, and around 25 cents per minute. As far as Surge goes, it represents a multiplier that increases the cost of a ride a couple of times in the rush hour and gets insane on holidays. This surely means significantly higher drivers’ pay. Prime Time represents a percent by which a Lyft fare grows. It is notable that Prime Time doesn’t grow to the extent that Surge does.

However, the cost of a ride and a driver’s pay represent two different figures. Uber is known to take roughly 25 % from each fare, while Lyft takes around 20 %. And the shorter the ride, the more significant the companies’ share becomes since they also take a booking fee.

According to Rydester, an UberX driver earns $13.70 before tip and $14.73 after tip per hour. As far as Lyft driver pay is concerned, it is about $17.50. Sounds good for Lyft. However, if we take the whole range of options that Uber provides, then the figures will be much different. It should be also noted that Lyft takes around 30 % of the US market share, while Uber’s share is almost 70 %. So, there are at least two times more Uber customers than that of Lyft, which means that profit gained from Uber is much steadier just for the reason that there are more orders coming from Uber. It is also worth mentioning that Uber has an enormous coverage area compared to Lyft, which makes the service available to more drivers and riders.

Our take

It would be reasonable to drive for both companies and simply accept incoming orders that look more promising and convenient. Moreover, both companies have various programs and initiatives in store for their drivers, e.g. Uber Pro, Lyft driver enhancements, Uber’s generous sign up bonus, etc. Both companies allow their drivers to cash out when there is $5 earned by a driver and provide their passengers with a tipping option.

Now there is a growing tendency for drivers to prefer Lyft over Uber for several reasons, corporate image being one of them. However, Dara Khosrowshahi has already succeeded to influence drivers’ point of view. New CEO has been trying hard to establish Uber’s image as a safe state-of-the-art service, which makes drivers see the company’s future in a more positive light, especially considering the upcoming IPO.

What ridesharing service do you prefer to drive for? Let us know in the comments. Your opinion is of great importance to us!

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