Uber vs. Lyft: Pros and Cons of Each Rideshare Service
In this age of the booming side hustle, ridesharing 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 is a technology company based in San Francisco, Calif. 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 the results range. 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 in Washington, D.C., is likely to earn about $1,154 per week, including tips. 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.
Lyft is a ride-hailing company based in San Francisco, Calif. It began in 2007 as a company called Zimride, which offered ridesharing between college campuses. By 2012, Lyft became a ridesharing service. It offers vehicle-based rides as well as scooter and bike sharing. Lyft also delivers food as well as prescriptions, auto parts and other essentials.
What’s It Like To Drive for Lyft?
Driver reviews on Indeed.com echo the sentiments of Uber drivers — there are benefits, such as independence, flexibility, socialization, and drawbacks, like auto maintenance needs, to being a Lyft driver.
How Much Does Lyft Pay Drivers?
According to Lyft’s website, pay rates can vary depending on the driver’s city, region and time of day, but the Lyft website says drivers in Washington, D.C., earn up to $35 per hour. Three factors influence a 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
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 2,500 driver reviews on Indeed.com give Lyft a cumulative rating of 3.5 out of five stars. Uber’s profile on Indeed.com reflects approximately 1,600 reviews, with a cumulative average rating of 3.8 stars out of five from drivers.
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 50 cents to have earnings direct-deposited into your bank account sooner than the regularly weekly payout. Uber allows you to cash out up to five times per day.
Is Uber or Lyft Better for Customers?
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 ridesharing costs before deciding which service to use.
Good To Know
For both drivers and customers, safety tends to be a top concern with ridesharing. 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.
Uber vs. Lyft: The Bottom Line
Drivers can rest assured, for the most part, that the ridesharing 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.
However, both companies are struggling to recruit and retain workers as the U.S. attempts to re-emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. For drivers, business has been down and the chances of getting sick have been high, but both companies offer drivers the opportunity to make deliveries instead of, or in addition to, carrying passengers. However, a shortage of rideshare drivers means fewer available rides as people get moving again, and higher prices for consumers who can hail one.
Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.
Information is accurate as of Jan. 2, 2022.
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- Uber. "How much can drivers make with Uber?"
- Lyft. "The Driver’s Guide to Pay."
- Statista. 2021. "Market share of the leading ride-hailing companies in the United States from September 2017 to July 2021."
- The Guardian. 2021. "Lyft admits it recorded 4,000 sexual assault claims in long-awaited report."
- The Associated Press. 2021. "Lyft report cites higher numbers of sexual assaults."