Uber vs. Lyft: Pros and Cons of Each Rideshare Service

Young 20 somethings riding together in a car.
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In this age of the booming side hustle, ride-sharing has become commonplace. Anyone with a car, a driver’s license and a cleared background check can potentially offer people rides and earn extra cash for doing so — but which service is best and what is the experience like?

Uber and Lyft prices can fluctuate based on various factors. Comparing prices for your specific trip using both apps can help determine which one is cheaper at any given time.

About Uber

Uber is a technology company based in San Francisco. It’s best known for being a ride-sharing service, but since its start in 2009, the company has been expanding its mission. Uber Eats, for example, offers food delivery. And Uber is actively working on initiatives that move people forward, like self-driving technology, urban air transport, more seamless professional travel experiences and easier access to healthcare.

Uber has made a bold sustainability pledge to become a fully electric, zero-emission platform by 2040. Its goal is for all rides to happen in zero-emission vehicles or, alternatively, to happen on public transit or with micromobility.

What’s It Like To Drive for Uber?

Many Uber drivers have shared their experiences, and their thoughts vary. On one hand, it’s possible to set your own schedule, start driving quickly and meet interesting people while earning extra income. On the other hand, it can be difficult to earn as much as Uber suggests, and there are costs associated, like gas, insurance and maintenance.

How Much Does Uber Pay Drivers?

According to Uber’s website, a full-time driver working 50 hours per week in Washington, D.C., is likely to earn about $1,440 per week, including tips. The estimate was based on D.C. drivers who’d driven during the previous four weeks.

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Here are the various types of pay rates:

  • Standard trip fare, or time-based pricing, offers a base fare plus additional compensation based on the time and distance that you drive.
  • Uber also identifies opportunities for peak pricing. Surge pricing allows you to go by a heat map to find out when and where there’s a lot of rider demand, enabling you to earn more beyond the standard fare.
  • Drivers earn more pay for additional rider pickups on Pool rides, waiting for riders and minimum fares for short trips.

About Lyft

Lyft is a ride-hailing company based in San Francisco. It began in 2007 as a company called Zimride, which offered ride-sharing between college campuses. By 2012, Lyft became a ride-sharing service. It offers vehicle-based rides, as well as scooter and bike sharing.

What’s It Like To Drive for Lyft?

Driver reviews on Indeed echo the sentiments of Uber drivers — there are benefits, such as independence, flexibility and socialization, and drawbacks, like auto maintenance needs, to being a Lyft driver.

How Much Does Lyft Pay Drivers?

Pay rates can vary depending on the driver’s city, region and time of day. Lyft doesn’t currently disclose driver pay on its website, but it previously reported that drivers in Washington, D.C., earned up to $35 per hour. Several factors influence a Lyft driver’s pay:

  • Distance rate is the dollar amount earned per mile.
  • Time rate refers to time-based pricing, or the amount earned per minute.
  • Drivers can also receive tips and bonuses.
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Using Lyft’s app, drivers can access forecasts and demand maps that update in real time.

Uber vs. Lyft: Which Is Better for Drivers?

Over 5,100 driver reviews on Indeed give Lyft a cumulative rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. Uber’s profile on Indeed reflects 16,900 driver reviews, with a cumulative average rating of 3.6 stars out of 5.

Research firm Statista notes that Uber has significantly higher market share, which means you might have more driving opportunities than with Lyft.

Both companies provide discounts on auto-related expenses and offer perks for drivers.

Uber and Lyft also have similar payment policies. Both companies pay weekly via direct deposit but allow you to be paid instantly following each ride via a debit card. Alternatively, you can pay Lyft 85 cents to have earnings direct-deposited into your bank account sooner than the regular weekly payout. Uber allows you to cash out up to five times per day.

Which Is Better for Customers: Lyft or Uber?

Although Uber and Lyft are similar, Uber has the larger share of brand recognition and market share. Cost seems to be a significant factor in usage, and some customers use a third-party app to compare ride-sharing costs before deciding which service to use.

Good To Know

For both drivers and customers, safety tends to be a top concern with ride-sharing. In late 2019, Uber reported that nearly 6,000 incidents of sexual assault had been reported by both drivers and riders in the U.S. throughout 2017 and 2018. Lyft disclosed 4,000 total from 2017 to 2019 in a report released in October 2021. How those figures compare to sexual assault during taxi rides is unknown, as major cities don’t collect that data, according to The Atlantic.

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Is Uber or Lyft Cheaper?

There’s not a blanket answer to the question of whether Uber or Lyft is cheaper. The prices of both services can vary according to factors like location and surge pricing. The best way to determine which ride service would be cheaper for you would be to check both apps for their current prices when you need a ride. You can also use the Lyft fare estimate tool and the Uber price estimate tool to get an idea of which service would be cheaper.

Uber vs. Lyft: The Bottom Line

Drivers can rest assured, for the most part, that the ride-sharing services offer similar benefits. Drivers are likely to benefit from Uber’s mindshare among consumers, and both drivers and consumers stand to benefit from Uber’s willingness to release safety statistics.

With inflation at a record high, more people are now applying to drive for Uber or Lyft. The result is that the companies are cutting back on recruitment incentives that were popular when drivers were in short supply during the pandemic, which is a disappointment to many drivers.

FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Uber versus Lyft.
  • Is Lyft usually cheaper than Uber?
    • It's hard to say whether Lyft usually is cheaper than Uber due to factors like the rider's location and the time of day the ride is requested, which both can affect fares. The best thing to do to find out which service is cheaper is to compare the fares each service charges when you're in need of a ride.
  • Which is safer, Uber or Lyft?
    • It's difficult to pinpoint which ride-sharing service is safer overall. However, in the interest of safety, riders should use the following practices:
    • Know the make, model and license plate number of the Uber or Lyft vehicle that's picking them up, and review the driver's name and photo.
    • When the driver arrives, the rider should confirm it's the correct vehicle and driver and also ask the driver, "What's my name?" before getting in.
    • Other safety tips are to ride in the back seat if you're alone, share your ride status with friends and family through the app and review the safety features of the app ahead of time, such as how to contact help in an emergency.
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Daria Uhlig and Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.

Information is accurate as of April 25, 2023.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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