Uber and Lyft currently made clear that they are inside the ride-hailing commercial enterprise for the long haul. Shortly after Lyft went public with lots of fanfare closing month, Uber shared its plans for its personal initial public supplying.
So now feels just like the proper time to invite: Is one of the apps definitively advanced for hitching rides?
While each offerings look same, there are important differences. Uber is richer in capabilities and available in more cities. Yet Lyft is greater obvious in its receipts approximately the details of a ride, which could assist customers recognize when expenses boom; Uber’s opaque receipts ought to depart human beings perplexed.
I have used Uber and Lyft to join loads of rides over the last seven years. To take a more in-depth look, I made them my only mode of transportation for the remaining week, the usage of the apps to get round town while comparing their features, rewards programs, pricing structures, reputations and availability.
In the give up, I concluded that Uber had an facet, though the excellent app for you may depend largely on wherein you live and the way regularly you need rides. Here’s a rundown of how the apps examine.
Those different functions
Uber and Lyft are, for the maximum component, neck and neck in terms in their middle features.
To summon a automobile, you faucet the app to your cellphone and input a destination and pickup region. Then you pick the sort of car you need: economy, luxurious or larger motors with more seats like S.U.V.S. To streamline requests, each apps will let you keep regularly used locations, like your property or office.
They both also assist you to upload multiple drop-off factors if you are sharing a vehicle with more than one pals. And to lower prices, each apps assist you to hail a vehicle to percentage with a stranger who’s going someplace along your direction: Uber calls its feature UberPool, and Lyft calls it a Shared experience.
When a trip is entire, payment occurs via the app, and also you get an emailed receipt documenting the course.
But that’s wherein the similarities cease. Here are the excellent differences:
Uber consists of a button to let you split the value of the fare with a couple of riders, that is available while you’re out with a collection. Lyft discontinued its fare-splitting feature remaining 12 months and said it planned to launch an stepped forward version this 12 months.
In addition to UberPool, Uber consists of a vehicle-sharing feature known as Express Pool, wherein you agree to walk a quick distance out of your actual region, want to a street corner, and be dropped off somewhere near your destination. In other phrases, you save money by means of walking a piece to make the direction extra efficient for the driver. Lyft is presently trying out a comparable characteristic in three cities. (This isn’t a recreation-converting function: In my tests, Uber’s Express Pool alternative became now not available in many places.)
Most critical, Uber we could human beings request wheelchair-accessible vehicles in approximately 15 of its top cities. In my checks in San Francisco, wheelchair-available automobiles had been to be had in many areas. Lyft, which declined to remark for this column, has an entirely restrained wheelchair-accessibility application; I wasn’t capable of summoning one here.
The verdict: In terms of ride-summoning features, Uber wins arms down. Its broader wheelchair-accessibility characteristic is just like the choice presented by way of traditional taxicabs. And Lyft’s loss of fare splitting makes Uber the app of preference for institution outings.
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How dynamic pricing works
Fundamentally, Uber and Lyft rate kind of the same fees: Riders pay a fare based on the length and distance of an experience. It’s when the corporations improve expenses that things get extra complicated.
When not enough motors are available in an area with excessive demand, both agencies use a gadget known as dynamic pricing, which scales up costs according with supply and call for. So if you’re outdoor a famous museum and dozens of others are looking to summon motors, Uber and Lyft will boost costs to nudge extra drivers to come back to the location. Uber calls its practice surge pricing, and Lyft’s version is labeled Prime Time.
In the past, when Uber fares “surged,” the app showed a multiplier — as an example, 3X, meaning the ticket was triple the everyday cost. When costs surge now, Uber does now not show a multiplier and instead quotes handiest the better price up front. Lyft marks up its Prime Time pricing with a percentage: If the price is 50 percentage, a fare that would commonly be $10 charges $15.
The verdict: Lyft wins, in component for more transparency. Its receipts break out details just like the duration of the trip and the gap traveled, which helps riders higher apprehend overall costs. In its revenues, Uber does now not show the length and period of the journey; it shows a fair rate. The vagueness could make things extra confusing, in particular when prices are higher because of unexpected circumstances like substantial visitors.
Besides, due to the fact, Uber usually is more famous in maximum towns, in my enjoy its surge markup is regularly appreciably better than Lyft’s, that means riders are generally higher off summoning a Lyft while cars are in high call for.
Uber declined to remark, bringing up a quiet period before its I.P.O.
Rewards and loyalty programs
Like airways that praise loyal clients, Uber and Lyft provide some goodies to many riders.
Uber provides a tiered rewards machine. For maximum rides, you earn factors for each dollar spent, and the factors assist you climb in the direction of better statuses with special perks. At 2,500 points, as an example, you attain platinum status, which gives you precedence get right of entry to to drivers at airports, among different matters.
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Uber additionally gives Uber Cash, a program that offers discounts to those who purchase credit that may be implemented closer to rides. So if you are buying $100 of credit, Uber will provide you with $one zero five in Uber Cash, efficaciously a five percent cut price.
Lyft’s rewards application is limited. Last yr, it started out a software for folks that installation business profiles, a tool that made it easier for riders to price Lyft rides to their agencies. For every five commercial enterprise rides that humans took, they were given $five in non-public trip credit score.
Late ultimate 12 months, Lyft stated it would expand its rewards application so that everyone rides gathered factors that could earn perks, like financial savings on future trips or upgrades to fancier automobiles. But up to now, the feature is to be had in just a few towns, and Lyft customers can be part of the program only when they acquire an invite thru email or the app.
The verdict: Frequent riders will benefit greater from Uber’s rewards software, that’s more comprehensive and compelling.
What approximately recognition?
If you are the conscientious type of client, test the corporations’ histories.
In 2017, Uber turned into mired in scandal after scandal. Among them: A former employee precise a rampant way of life of sexual harassment; the organization was found out to have used a mystery program to perceive law enforcement officials and keep away from sting operations; and it disclosed that hackers had stolen records from 57 million driver and person debts and kept the breach mystery for more than a year. Uber’s former leader govt, Travis Kalanick, changed into compelled to renounce.
Lyft has a cleanser tune document. Last year, The Information suggested that a few Lyft employees had improperly received get right of entry to user statistics, including rides taken via their romantic companions and excessive-profile executives like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. The employer investigated the allegations and brought regulations to worker get entry to data.
The verdict: Though neither enterprise is harmless, Lyft wins by using a protracted shot.
Where Uber and Lyft are available
Uber has an advantage because of its abundant availability global. The agency, which has operations in 63 nations, is a behemoth as compared with Lyft, that is to be had in only the US and Canada.
The backside line: In terms of features, praise packages, and availability, Uber has an aspect over Lyft.
Even if you select Lyft on your place of origin for ethical motives, it could be practical to preserve the Uber app for your smartphone if you tour somewhere like London, Paris or Tokyo.
Or you can attempt to hail an antique-school taxicab anywhere you journey, assuming you can locate one.
Correction: April 17, 2019
An in advance version of this article misstated how the Uber app displays the organization’s so-called surge fares. When costs surge now, the app truly charges only the higher fee. It does not show a multiplier — for instance, 3X, that means the fare turned into triple the normal price — because it did inside the past.