Uber vs Lyft – Ridesharing company driver reviews

I'm a driver for both Uber and Lyft — here are 7 reasons Uber is the clear winner for me

“Which is better Uber or Lyft” is an extremely common internet search… lots of people want to know.

The answer, or at least my answer as a driver, is very simple… the “best” Ridesharing company is the FIRST one delivering my next passenger trip request. 

I don’t consider the debate about “Uber driver vs Lyft driver” relevant to making money.

Rideshare drivers earn from accepting and completing passenger trips… more trips is almost always better than less… the idea is to earn, right?

Interestingly, passengers have a similar answer to the “which is best” question; the FIRST one that offers the lowest price and a driver who picks them up quickly.

To be fair, for drivers the answer is a little more complicated than my simple “…first platform delivering my next trip…” response.

Uber and Lyft driver incentives like surge pricing zones; or a cash bonus for ‘x’ rides in given timeframe… earnings offers that are worth at least considering.

Drivers must calculate cash incentive offers against their driving plan (working when & where, etc.) and make a business decision how they might choose to tweak their ridesharing driving plan against the potential for ‘x’ additional income.

The article referenced for this blog doesn’t list my one and only answer (first to deliver next trip request) however the article does attempt to dig deeply into the question of which company is “best”, Lyft or Uber Technologies Inc.

The author of the referenced article has a strong opinion… he thinks Uber is hands down better for drivers.

From the article:

“Most people think there's not much difference between the two. You pick people up, you drive them, and then you drop them off. What more to it could there be? Surprisingly, a lot. Both platforms have their pros, and both platforms have their cons, but one platform is clearly superior to the other.”

To understand more about the author’s experience as an Uber driver and Lyft driver note the states he’s been driving for about a year and

“given hundreds of rides around the streets of South Florida.”

Let’s walk through his reasons for preferring to be an Uber driver over a Lyft driver. Afterwards, I’ll give a second opinion inline with my role as a Ridesharing company coach.



#1 – The New Rideshare Driver Sign Up Process

Article’s winner Uber; My winner neither Uber nor Lyft

“Signing up with Lyft was easier than Uber, which gave me concerns about other drivers.  When it came time to physically sign up for each platform, Lyft was easier. Much easier — to the point of being almost too easy.”

It appears he bases this opinion that Uber does a better job of vetting new drivers based on the amount of time it took for the companies to approve him as a driver.

“Lyft approved my account for driving within a few days, almost a full week before Uber did.”

In my case the Lyft and Uber approval process took the same amount of time… about a day.  Frankly I’m surprised it took Lyft a few days to approve him as a driver?

I’ve read thousands of driver’s reports online and in my experience the Lyft and Uber approval process takes longer only when there is good reason.

My driving record has been clean for decades, zero tickets… a driver with something on their Department of Motor Vehicles record or something on their criminal record will probably take longer to approve because the records will have to be viewed by multiple people during the Lyft and Uber application process.

I don’t agree with giving the Uber the nod on this point because they took longer to approve him as a driver… there could be any number of reasons why this was true?

Certainly was a good choice for the first point in his article… “gave me concerns about other drivers” sounds like he cares about all of us?


#2 – Lyft vs Uber Market Share

Article’s winner Uber; My winner Uber

“Uber is more popular than Lyft, which means more money for Uber drivers”

I agree.

Currently in the United States Uber has approximately 60% of rideshare passenger business and Lyft has about 40%.  There are other players in the Ridesharing company market with small shares and the exact numbers for market share are hard to pinpoint.

Since Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft have only recently entered the public stock market (IPO) market share has been hard to measure but still clear Uber has more.  Now that both have publicly-traded stocks we’ll have better Lyft vs Uber market share metrics in the future.

When I’m driving with both the Lyft and Uber driver applications on it’s more likely I will get an Uber request before a Lyft request… but I’ve definitely seen Lyft requests increasing in the past couple of years.

I’m giving the nod to Uber on this one but doesn’t change my take that the “best” platform is: “the FIRST platform delivering my next passenger trip request.”



#3 – Back-To-Back Lyft or Uber Trip Requests

Article’s winner Uber; My winner neither Uber nor Lyft

“Uber also likes to give me back-to-back rides…”

It’s always interesting to me that rideshare driver resources with relatively slim credentials write about their anecdotal experiences as if they would be true for everyone.

I have over 11,000 lifetime Uber trips and more than 2,000 on Lyft.  In my experience it’s just as likely I’ll get back-to-back trip requests on either platform.

The article’s author mentioned the Lyft driver application automatically assigning a next trip without (like Uber) presenting it a trip request… I’m not a fan of this Lyft feature either.

During the “true” rideshare trips, UberPool and Lyft Shared, both driver applications automatically add passengers to the drivers “queue.”  It’s conceivable a driver could have passengers in and out of their vehicles for hours without every accepting a next trip.

So I’m not willing to give the nod on this point to Uber just because I don’t like Lyft’s auto-assignment feature… I accept 99% of all trip requests so my preference for being asked to accept is irrelevant… in fact it can be kind of nice, when I get multiple Lyft trips in a row I don’t have to look down at the Lyft driver application while I’m driving.


#4 – Rideshare Driver App Info Before Accepting Trip

Article’s winner Uber; My winner Lyft

From the article:

“… the [Uber] app may pop up and say, ‘Samantha, 4.96 rating, UberX, 22-minute trip northwest’ and I just have to tap it to accept.”

Uber only gives general information about the direction and distance of a trip request to members of the Uber Pro Program (Uber Pro levels: Partner, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond) which requires that drivers accept most trip requests; and not cancel most trips after they accept them.

The Uber Pro Pointts Program is fairly complicated. Uber drivers earn points calculated on a three-month basis and the points unlock Uber Pro levels.

Details on the Uber Pro program:

Trip Duration and Trip Direction

Who is Eligible: Driver Partners in the Gold, Platinum or Diamond tier who maintain a trip acceptance rate of 85% or higher (calculated on a rolling thirty (30) day basis). Driver Partners in the Partner Tier are not eligible for this Reward.

Lyft delivers the same direction/duration information in the trip request to any driver who has a trip request acceptance rate of 90% or higher… no additional requirements… no muss, no fuss.

So, on this point it’s easy to give the nod to Lyft.



#5 – Info an Uber Lyft Passenger Receives

Article’s winner Uber; My winner neither Uber nor Lyft

From the referenced article:

“The biggest gripe here is that Lyft doesn't tell the next passenger that you are currently on a ride and dropping someone off. The next passenger is often annoyed by the time you get to them because they didn't know you were still on a ride dropping off another person. They were watching your car's location on the app and you weren't driving towards them, so now they either think you were wasting their time, or that you can't follow a map correctly, neither of which is true.”

If this were true, I would give the nod to Uber as well; however, the article’s author does not offer any reason why he thinks this is true?

My guess is a passenger, maybe even a couple, said something about watching him on the Lyft application and not understanding why his car was doing [whatever.]

Both Uber and Lyft passenger applications communicate what is going on to passengers… the question is: “Did the passenger pay attention the communication?”

Unfortunately, drivers also have to ask themselves: “Is this passenger telling me the truth… or maybe just part of the truth… or even just telling a lie?”

Experienced drivers, drivers with thousands of lifetime trips ask themselves these questions. 

Less experienced drivers, drivers with hundreds of lifetime trips tend to think they understand something “is always [this way] because it happens to them once or twice

Publishing an article saying Lyft never tells a passenger the driver that accepted their trip request is completing another trip is simply irresponsible reporting unless you know for a fact that what you are writing is true AND can prove it.

It’s not even logical to think a company that’s been around for over 10 years and facilitated tens of millions (hundreds of millions?) of passenger trips would not have figured out the passenger application should at least try to tell passengers that their driver is completing another trip before they navigate to the pickup point?

Again, I’m giving the nod on this point to neither Uber nor Lyft.


#6 – Rideshare Driver Safety

Article’s winner Uber; My winner neither Uber nor Lyft

From the referenced article:

“Uber takes safety very seriously — but Lyft seems to treat it as an afterthought”

Let’s all remember this is one person’s opinion… a part-time hours rideshare driver with “hundreds of trips” who has been driving for about a year.

To suggest there are significant differences on this point is again (IMO) irresponsible.

Here are the links if you want to check it out for yourself.

Lyft Driver Safety

Uber Driver Safety

Now the article’s author does highlight one safety-related feature in the Uber application which is not available with Lyft… Uber driver calls it “Follow My Ride” which allows a driver to give a loved one the ability to know where the driver is located while out on the road.

This feature might appeal to a handful of people, but I doubt many drivers (or their loved ones) use it? 

It’s not like your significant other is going to be tracking you all night long (assuming the driver would want them to) but how does the feature really support driver safety? 

Your loved one might feel better but after a few nights of driving I can’t imagine many people ever bothering to look at a driver’s turn-by-turn location?

And if something happened to the driver while they are out on the road how does this feature do anything to improve a driver’s safety?

On the driver safety point I’m giving the nod to neither Lyft nor Uber Technologies Inc.



#7 – Rideshare Driver Application (Interface & Stability)

Article’s winner Uber; My winner Uber (by a nose)

From the article:

"The Uber user interface is fantastic and the app works flawlessly. Lyft's seems to get in its own way.  The Uber app just works better than the Lyft app. Plain and simple."

No doubt about his opinion on this one?  He certainly spent a lot of time discussing the topic.

I agree that the Uber driver application has more functionality compared to the Lyft driver application, but I do not at all agree that the Lyft application is less stable.

It’s only because I have a background in technology that I quickly noticed both rideshare driver applications aren’t really applications at all… more like dedicated web browsers.  Almost nothing is stored on a driver’s phone instead information is pulled in real time from the Uber and Lyft servers.

This represents a problem with both rideshare driver apps when the driver’s phone does not have a strong signal from their cell phone providers' local tower.

Related to my “dedicated web browser” point what Lyft calls their driver application appears to be dedicated mostly to the business of completing trips and all other features and information are accessed by clicking on the driver profile and choosing from a list… the choice opens a web page using the driver’s phone’s default web browser.

As far as the stability question both platforms have been stable on my phone for the past couple of years except at times when I have poor cell phone coverage (a driver gets to know those areas of their city fairly quickly.)

In the over three years I’ve been driving full-time hours both rideshare driver applications have had their “glitches” at times; issues that show up intermittently (possibly when servers are overwhelmed with lots of passenger trip request and other traffic); issues that are eventually fixed.

Again a part-time hours driver with “hundreds of trips” and about a year of experience really doesn’t have enough time on the road to make a strong case for which rideshare driver application is more stable… it would be more accurate to write: “In my limited experience and time on the road…”

The article’s author has a clear preference on this point… Uber.  I’m giving the nod to Uber as well but only “by a nose.” 

Uber is far larger than Lyft and has always had by far more venture capital investment to use for application development… if their driver application wasn’t a bit more polished compared to Lyft’s I’d be surprised.

At this point in the article the author (IMO) gets whiney:

“If you reject a ride on Uber, that's it, nothing to it, and the app starts finding you another ride. Rejecting a ride on Lyft is an entirely different story. You get a big notification urging you to sign off, saying, ‘If you're not available for rides, simply go offline.’”

Really, you’re calling Lyft out because their rideshare driver application has a pop-up reminding drivers if they don’t want rides go offline?  I think the pop-up is a little much too but it’s a fair message?

He really doesn’t like the way Lyft responds to missing a trip request or rejecting a trip request because then he starts exaggerating:

“You then get a text message saying the same thing. Then, another in-app notification alert. Finally, you'll also get a lengthy string of emails in the following days. Its notifications really make it seem like the company's trying to guilt-force you into accepting more rides.”

Unless we’re willing to accept the idea that the Lyft driver application and follow up texts and emails vary from driver to driver… none of this is true.



#8 – Lyft - Uber Surge Pricing Drivers - Busy Areas/Times

Article’s winner Uber; My winner neither Uber nor Lyft

From the article:

“If an area is busy, like if a concert or sporting event ends, the demand for rides may be greater than the current supply of nearby drivers.  Uber offers 'surge' pricing to drivers in particularly high demand areas. Lyft doesn’t share the wealth as easily.”

The article goes on to say:

“Lyft took away Prime Time which was its version of surge pricing, and replaced it with Personal Power Zones. To date, I have never seen a Personal Power Zone, meaning I have never seen a higher bonus on Lyft for a busy area. All the app shows is a heat map of busier areas.”

With due respect, the author’s bias favoring Uber Technologies Inc is very clear… do you think it’s possible at times when there are always a lot of passenger trip requests he’s focused in on the Uber driver application and doesn’t even have the Lyft driver application turned on?

After all, when it’s busy it’s also likely that I won’t have time to turn on the other rideshare driver application because I will be receiving back-to-back trips from the application I’m using at the time.

At least the author writes: “I have never seen a Personal Power Zone” rather than suggesting they don’t exist at all?

Maybe he could have read up on Lyft’s version of surge pricing before writing about it?

Lyft Personal Power Zones

At the risk of laboring my point… the idea that a part-time driver with “a few hundred trips” and about a year on the road could write an article that gave a good accounting of which rideshare company is better for drivers…

Well, I guess the editorial staff at Business Insider thought the article was worthy of publishing…

I certainly thought the article warranted a second opinion from a full-time driver with13,000+ lifetime trips and over three years of experience rideshare driving for both Lyft and Uber Technologies Inc.

Another article quote related to Lyft’s version of “Surge Pricing:”

“This doesn't mean surge pricing went away. Lyft will still charge the passenger a higher rate because an area is busy, but share none of that extra profit with the driver who is doing all of the actual work.”

This is simply not true and again irresponsible to write and publish with nothing to back up the idea that when there are a lot of Lyft passenger trip requests Lyft is charging passengers more but not paying drivers more.

It is simply illogical to believe this is true!  The competition between Uber and Lyft for drivers and passengers is fierce and it is inconceivable Lyft would do something so obviously easy for drivers to figure out?

If this were remotely true I would have seen drivers complaining about it online because as a self-defined Ridesharing industry analyst I spent time every day scanning the internet for rideshare driving news.


Lyft vs Uber Which Ridesharing company is better?

In this blog and my other writing, I would never say something which could be extremely damaging to Lyft (driver confidence on being paid fairly) unless I had very strong evidence to back up what I said.

The article ends with a clever-sounding summary and an unconvincing thank you to Lyft:

“If it were a horse race, Uber would already be in the winner's circle while Lyft would still be in turn one playing in the mud.  While I am very appreciative of both companies giving me the opportunity to make money with them, Uber is clearly the better company — and it's not even close.”

Oh geepers… “…not even close?”  I guess if you’re going to voice an opinion it’s good to be very clear which way you are leaning?

Anyway, writing this blog has been fun although a bit time consuming. 

If you made it all the way to the end thanks for staying with me.

In my opinion resolving the “Uber vs Lyft Driver” debate isn’t important, what matters is maximizing my income as a rideshare driver.

To know which Ridesharing company is better, Lyft or Uber, you could have stopped after this blog’s second sentence:

The answer, or at least my answer as a driver, is very simple… the ‘best’ company is the FIRST one delivering my next passenger trip"

"I'm a driver for both Uber and Lyft — here are 7 reasons Uber is the clear winner for me"


Uber vs Lyft – Ridesharing company driver reviews