Uber vs Lyft: The Ultimate Showdown

Getting around town has never been easier thanks to the ridesharing revolution. This convenient method of transportation offers riders a stress-free way to get around.

As more people catch on, a common question people run into is: Which rideshare company should I use? Uber vs Lyft?

We’ll go into more detail below, but to answer this question, let’s first break down the similarities between the two rideshare giants.

  1. They are both powered by a mobile app and the average price for a ride is about the same.
  2. Their coverage areas overlap, and both operate in major cities across the United States, which is why the two often compete with one another.
  3. Marketing efforts deployed by both rideshare companies involve issuing ride credits. Riders can redeem these in-app credits for free rides.
  4. To encourage new riders to use the app, Lyft offers many credits with some extra stipulations. Uber gives new riders account credits on the house.

Other than these similarities, both rideshare companies are completely different.

Each business handles important tasks using different methods. As a rider, those traits may sway your opinion on which rideshare company you should try first.

Throughout this guide, we will cover the following about each company at length:


Uber vs Lyft: Pricing

To stay relevant in the same space, Uber and Lyft compete to out-price each other. Both companies charge $1.00 to start a ride. As the journey progresses, a per-mile charge of $1.50 and a $0.25 per-minute fee are added to the total.

Depending on how far your driver is able to go in a minute, about $2.00 is added per mile to the original dollar. Compared to using a taxi service, that extra fee is much more cost-effective.

During high-demand times, both invoke a “surge” or “prime time” price. This extra amount serves as a bonus for drivers to ensure that there are enough people available to meet the number of incoming ride requests.

Here is how it works for both companies:

Surge Pricing for Uber

As the demand for drivers increases, Uber adds a surge rate. The fee is a multiplier. Whatever the ride would cost outside of rush hour is multiplied by the surge rate.

This amount is then added to the original standard fare. Depending on how many requests there are and the location, surge rate varies between 1.3x and 2.1x.

Prime Time for Lyft

In contrast, Lyft charges the extra fee via percentages rather than decimals. For example, if the rate is 50 percent during prime time, a ride that would otherwise be $10 is now $15 instead.

As with surge pricing, rates vary by location and demand.

Bear in mind, when these extra fee periods are active, both companies let the rider know ahead of time. This ensures that passengers do not experience any unwanted surprises when it comes time to pay for the ride.

You might also like: The Best Lyft Promo Codes for Passengers

What Does This Mean for Riders?

Multipliers in video games are awesome. Not so much when it comes to payments. Due to this, many riders will prefer to use Lyft, especially in times of high demand.

What Does This Mean for Drivers?

Since Lyft takes a smaller commission from drivers than Uber, most prefer to drive for Lyft. To combat this in the market and attract new drivers, Uber offers a major sign-up bonus. Unfortunately, that bonus is not always enough. Lyft offers similar bonuses for drivers, so this is pretty even.

Another topic drivers pay attention to is Lyft’s designated “Power Zones.” These predetermined areas are not affected by prime time, but drivers earn more than the standard fare if they complete a ride in that area.

Our Take

Since both Uber and Lyft charge roughly the same amount outside of peak hours, we pick whichever ride is closer to our current location.

For the record, we never pick Uber when a surge is happening.

Uber vs Lyft: Who Wins on Pricing?

Due to the factors we covered above in regards to price, we pick Lyft over Uber.

Uber App vs Lyft App

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Both ridesharing services have the same goal in mind: connect drivers and riders together. To do this, both companies use their own methods to ensure customer satisfaction.

This has led to varying opinions on which app is better, so let’s go over the finer points.

While using the Uber app, you may notice that the company makes it easy to figure out exactly how much a ride is going to cost up front. Although this estimate will vary based on environmental factors, most people seem to side with Lyft on this one.

As a matter of fact, Lyft is working on improving their app to be more transparent when it comes to final payments.

Since both apps came out at the same time, it may surprise you that Uber has made more updates to the layout of its app.

Unfortunately, these updates have made the app a bit harder to use. For example, when you want to split a ride with someone, you might have to do a little digging to find that feature.

Both apps make the process of booking a ride quick and easy. Having said that, Uber provides an estimated arrival time before when you book a ride. With Lyft you have to actually request the ride before you get an estimated time of arrival.

To be fair, Lyft allows passengers to add a stop or two along their intended route. This makes it possible to run a quick errand without having to change your plans.

What Does This Mean for Riders?

Since you can store your credit card information within both apps, this does not have a huge impact on riders.

What Does This Mean for Drivers?

Bouncing back and forth between ridesharing apps is common for drivers. Doing so increases their odds of staying busy and reduces downtime between rides.

Normally, driving for Uber and Lyft at the same time leads to a noticeable increase in earnings.

Our Take

To be honest, there are not enough major differences between the apps other than look and feel. Due to this, we will pick whichever service has an immediate request or car available at that moment.

Uber vs Lyft: Who Offers a Better App?

Definitely a tie on this one. Uber and Lyft both provide exceptional app experiences.

Uber vs Lyft: Vehicle Types and Options

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There are huge differences between the two when it comes to the type of vehicle you can ride in. Uber has luxury vehicles and basic cars available that fit the needs of almost everyone.

For example, the higher-end UberBLACK cars cater to business professionals. Lyft does offer a Lyft Lux car service, as well as Lyft Premier (nicer than a typical Lyft ride but cheaper than Lyft Lux). However, it’s less of a focus for the brand than for Uber.

Due to this, Uber is better able to cater to business travelers with high-end rides that are professional and elite. In contrast, Lyft lives up to their slogan “Your Friend With a Car.”

This means that your Lyft driver is more likely to be friendly, open to conversation, and fun to be around. As a matter of fact, Lyft encourages riders to sit in the front seat.

Both companies also offer shared ride options. Uber’s is called UberPOOL and Lyft’s is called Lyft Shared (formerly known as Lyft Line). They work in the same way, offering you a discount on your ride in exchange for sharing it with other passengers who are traveling in the same direction.

What Does This Mean for Riders?

Riders that are looking for a simple, professional ride may prefer to go with Uber. Extroverts that enjoy a good conversation along the way may feel more at home while using Lyft to travel.

What Does This Mean for Drivers?

Uber drivers can expect to earn more money while working if they can drive for higher tiers like UberBLACK, UberXL, or UberSUV. This luxury service is more expensive due to the vehicle type and level of service expected.

UberBLACK drivers must show up dressed to impress while driving a black vehicle with leather seats.

Although drivers that drive at this level make more, it is important to note that Lyft riders tend to tip more often.

Our Take

Being able to run errands like you were in your own car is awesome and Lyft is definitely convenient if the wait time is low.

Even so, it is nice to have a bigger selection of cars to choose from like the way Uber does.

Uber vs Lyft: Who Offers Better Vehicle Options?

For a night on the town, special event, or daily commute, Uber’s vehicle selection is hard to beat.

Uber vs Lyft: Customer Support

You can get in touch with both rideshare companies through four different methods: email, the app, the website, or the critical response line.

It seems that the quality of support for both companies has decreased as they have expanded.

Due to this, we did a bit of research to discover which organization has the upper hand in customer support. It appears that Lyft handles customer support in a much better fashion based on their friendly, helpful responses. Uber was not as impressive when it came to customer service.

What Does This Mean for Riders?

If you need an answer to a general question about either company, check out their FAQ first. Otherwise, you will waste a lot of your precious time.

The only exception to this is emergencies. Users that are in a rideshare-related emergency can contact both companies via their reserved critical response lines.

What Does This Mean for Drivers?

Getting into an accident is lame. Unfortunately, as a rideshare driver, you are likely going to experience at least one throughout your career. Due to this, it is important for us to note which company handles this type of situation better.

Drivers have reported that using the Uber customer service number is the easiest between the two.

Our Take

In general, Lyft’s customer support was more helpful thanks to their friendly representatives. They seem to answer questions with relative ease and do not seem stressed.

In contrast, trying to get an answer from an Uber representative takes a bit more effort.

Uber vs Lyft: Who Provides Better Customer Support?

Hands down, Lyft provides better customer service.

Uber vs Lyft: Coverage Areas

Since Uber is a bigger company, it makes sense that they are available in more places than Lyft. Add to this the fact that Uber has more investors backing them and things start to look a bit bleak for Lyft.

Even so, they are fighting back. To date, Lyft is available in all 50 states and in Canada.

Depending on your area and how active the nightlife is there, you may be able to get a ride at any time. Lyft and Uber run about 24/7 due to when drivers are opting to work.

What Does This Mean for Riders?

If you need a ride, more than likely you will be able to get one. Riders that prefer to use Lyft may not be able to always count on availability.

Uber is available almost everywhere. Due to this subtle difference, there is a higher probability riders will be using Uber. If you live in a large city like New York City or Los Angeles, this won’t affect you, but it’s worth keeping in mind if you live in a medium or small city.

What Does This Mean for Drivers?

Coverage areas matter. Even if you want to drive for Lyft, if they are not available in your area, your next best option is Uber.

Our Take

Becoming known worldwide is an impressive feat and Uber worked hard to meet that status.

Uber vs Lyft: Who Provides Better Coverage Areas?

Uber provides far more coverage areas, and thus gets our vote for this category.

Uber vs Lyft: Innovation

As new technology comes to life, such as self-driving cars, both companies are working hard to leverage this technology.

Due to this passion, both companies are pretty comparable in regards to innovation.

What Does This Mean for Riders?

Over the next few years, Lyft and Uber will most likely figure out a way to lower prices.

What Does This Mean for Drivers?

Although Uber and Lyft have assured drivers that autonomous cars will not put them out of business, these are likely empty promises.

Our Take

Uber is keeping the development of their self-driving cars under wraps, which might make them more reliable in the future.

Uber vs Lyft: Who Is More Innovative?

Uber appears to be more innovative in a lot of areas, such as partnerships and expansions into other industries.

Uber vs. Lyft: Brand Image

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Although Uber has been in the news a lot recently, they seem to be handling the bad press pretty well.

In contrast, you rarely hear anything bad about Lyft and when you do, they always come forward and admit their mistake.

What Does This Mean for Riders?

Being seen in a negative light has caused a bunch of Uber users to deactivate their accounts and switch to Lyft. Due to this, Uber riders can expect to see more marketing efforts everywhere.

Furthermore, Uber may try to lure ex-passengers back by offering incentives.

What Does This Mean for Drivers?

With a lot of people deactivating their Uber accounts, Lyft drivers are seeing a strong flow of riders coming in.

This will cause the demand to go up and inflate prices, which means better pay for Lyft drivers.

Our Take

Lyft has a better grip on how to handle negative situations. In the long run, this ensures the safety and well being of their drivers.

In contrast, Uber has some work to do when it comes to addressing driver and rider issues.

Lyft vs Uber: Who Has a Better Brand Image?


Both companies share many similarities but the differences they do have are evident. Both companies strive to serve both riders and drivers to the best of their ability.

But the end of the day, they’re both experiencing growing pains.

Whichever You Choose, Enjoy the Ride

After breaking down these categories, that’s three wins for Uber, three wins for Lyft, and one tie. Both are great options with different strengths and weaknesses. No matter which company you choose to drive for or ride with, having a thorough understanding of both options is always a good thing.


Brett HellingProfile Photo Brett Helling
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