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Last week in Part I, I wrote about the difference between Uber and Lyft’s pay structure when it comes to Uber’s Penny Surge (Flat Rate Surge) and Lyft’s PPZ (Personal Power Zones). Our scoreboard is Uber=2 and Lyft=0! As far as I am concerned, in 2019 what Uber offers is superior to what Lyft does when it comes to surge as well as pay structure, especially in major cities where requests are plentiful and driver utilization rates are very high.
Uber and Lyft compete heavily for market share, since their inception their motto has been growth at any cost. With billions of dollars supplied by VC (Venture Capital) subsidizing driver bonuses as well as passenger fares in the form of discounts. So it makes sense that drivers earn about the same on both platforms. In a lot of nationwide surveys of drivers to measure both satisfaction and earnings, it was declared that the average Uber/Lyft driver was making about $13.70 gross per hour. If we factor tips into the equation, the median income rose only slightly to $14.73 gross per hour. When the two companies compete on price, passengers come out ahead. Thankfully, drivers that provide poor service will eventually be weeded out by the rating systems that the two companies have put in place, maintaining a reasonably high quality driver pool. The attrition rate for the drivers is horrible with both companies as per a CNBC survey, 96% quit in less than a year. I wish drivers made more money for the effort they put into driving. Most passengers don’t realize that the drivers are using their own car, paying for their own expenses, and sacrifice a lot of personal time to drive as well as their health.
Uber developed its driver and passenger apps first in 2010 then Lyft showed up as a competitor offering only ride-sharing (Carpools) around 2012 and while they may have initially differed in their user interface, they have morphed into copies of each other and how they go about presenting their features. After revamping the driver app Uber driver has less buttons to press to accept a ride and specifically to start a ride than Lyft. I think both apps are fairly driver friendly, ultimately the goal of both driver apps is the same, to connect a passenger with a driver.
As most rideshare passengers use both services and bounce back and forth to find the closer driver, most rideshare drivers use both apps to maximize their earnings with as little down time as possible. As a result, many rideshare drivers will drive for both Uber and Lyft at the same time, and take whichever ride comes up first. I really don’t see a significant difference between the two driver apps but in 2019 Uber has emerged as the more driver friendly app for me. When requesting a ride, I choose the service that has a faster ETA. When driving, I operate both apps and take whichever platform offers the ride that is beneficial to my pocketbook.
When taking a look at the battle between Uber and Lyft, one of the biggest factors that set the two services apart is the vehicle options available to passengers.
Uber caters to more business people and has a broad range of vehicles to choose from.
This is the cheapest ride option available. Riders share rides going the same route
Another budget option, an everyday car with room for up to 4 people will come and pick you up
An SUV with seating for up to 6 people will come and pick you up
This is a 4 door luxury sedan with seating for up to 4 passengers
Uber’s original car service, these rides feature high-end luxury vehicles with seating for up to 4 passengers
The most expensive service Uber offers, a high-end SUV with seating for up to 6 passengers will pick you up
Lyft, on the other hand, offers fewer vehicle options than Uber.
Riders share rides going the same route. The cheapest option available to riders
The budget option of the group, an everyday car with room for 4 passengers comes to get you
This is also a regular vehicle to get you, but with room for up to 6 passengers
These are rides in higher quality vehicles than the other Lyft options. Seating up to 4 passengers
Aside from the vehicle options, there is a noticeable difference between the passenger experience surveys. Since Uber leans towards business people, the drivers are deemed more professional, concise, and do the best to simply get you from point A to point B. Lyft drivers, on the other hand, live up to the company slogan “Your Friend With a Car”. Lyft drivers tend to be friendly, open to conversation, and more fun than Uber drivers. Lyft passengers are encouraged to sit in the front seat and interact with the driver. I have experienced in many occasions Lyft drivers dressing their cars up in creative ways, wherein the rides are spruced up based on themes like sports or karaoke. The whole experience is intended to inspire engagement and be fun and memorable. Both companies hire drivers who have undergone thorough background checks. Drivers can expect a higher earning potential by becoming an Uber partner since there are more ride options available. I use Lyft a lot, especially in times of high demand or when there is a driver closeby and I need a ride in a hurry. However, I like the selection of vehicles that Uber offers. If I need a cheap ride, UberPOOL has my back. I have to go with Uber on this one because there are way more types of rides available and it seems like due to their sheer size, they have more drivers to service requests.
Riders and drivers can get in touch with Uber or Lyft Customer Support through:
The quality of support of both companies has declined in recent years as the companies have grown. After digging around forums and comment sections of various websites, it appears that Lyft is more helpful in solving problems than Uber. Uber CSR is infamous with their canned responses. Every time I had a problem with Uber as a driver, it took me multiple emails to solve it and sometimes I just gave up chasing my tail. Lyft on the other hand actually takes time to answer questions. From my experience, Lyft reps seem to care and go out of their way to try to solve driver’s problems. For important matters or emergency situations, both companies have a critical response line that provides near-instant support to resolve issues like accidents, bad behavior from drivers or passengers, etc. I like working with Lyft’s customer support much more than with Uber’s.
Uber was on the rideshare scene first, hence they had a solid foothold of the industry before Lyft showed up. They also differ in business strategy, Uber decided to go global while Lyft stayed at home, strictly in the US. Uber has more drivers, passengers, and is available in more cities than Lyft by a wide margin. Uber is in 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide. Lyft, although aggressively expanding, is only available in roughly 46 states in the United States and in Canada. Both companies offer rides 24/7 but passengers might have trouble requesting one at night if they live in a small town with not many drivers available. I think Uber has a much more reliable coverage area than Lyft. Lyft has done a great job of expanding in the United States to close this gap, but the divide is still very evident.
Uber has been involved in countless scandals, harassment claims, lawsuits and bad PR almost since their inception. It seems like we can expect daily negative articles, the board of directors tried to change the narrative a couple of years ago by firing the CEO and shuffling the C-Suite but I don't think much has changed for the driver. On the contrary, we rarely hear bad PR about Lyft, and when we do, they own their mistakes and move forward. However, since their IPO a few months ago, were seeing a lot more negative articles on Lyft as far as passenger safety and driver pay cuts. As Uber scandals piled on, many riders deleted their accounts and switched to Lyft. Lyft trumps Uber in this one, as they’ve been able to fly under the radar and for the most part stay out of the negative spotlight. Uber clearly has a brand image problem which they need to work through.
Lyft is the clear winner regarding this subject. They had the tipping option in their app from the start and I clearly receive more tips from Lyft passengers than Uber. For seven years, the Uber management told their riders that tips were not necessary, in fact they went as far as telling the riders that tips were included. What a travesty, I am clearly in the Lyft corner. Tips can be given either in cash or through the app. On both platforms drivers receive 100% of the tips received.