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. 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 in Washington, D.C., is likely to earn about $1,652 per week, including tips. The estimate was based on D.C. drivers who’d driven during the previous four weeks.
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.
Lyft is a ride-hailing company based in San Francisco. 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 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 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 4,700 driver reviews on Indeed.com give Lyft a cumulative rating of 3.5 out of five stars. Uber’s profile on Indeed.com reflects 10,108 driver reviews, with a cumulative average rating of 3.6 stars out of five.
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 $0.50 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 in the current economic environment. While business for drivers was down as cities reopened from pandemic shutdowns, rideshare drivers are currently in short supply. That means fewer available rides — and higher prices for consumers who can request one. That, of course, could be good news for drivers regardless of which service they work for.
Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.
Information is accurate as of June 10, 2022.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Uber or Lyft. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Uber or Lyft.