Lyft vs. Uber: Which Rideshare App Wins?
Lyft and Uber are the two most prominent rideshare applications on the market, constantly battling each other to be number one. While we’ve compared the apps in the past, Lyft has launched a new version of their app which is sure to change the game. Find out which company’s app wins in the latest round of Lyft vs. Uber.
Lyft vs. Uber: How Each App Measures Up
To determine the winner in the Uber vs. Lyft battle, compare the two applications side-by-side to identify the pros and cons of each. Some of the main points you need to consider before choosing your go-to rideshare service include:
- Ride choices
Every person will value these categories differently, but a close comparison is necessary to find the right one for your needs. Here are how the two apps measure up:
Before you can decide between the two services, you need to determine if they’re both actually available in your area. Currently, Uber operates in more than 600 cities around the world, and this number is rapidly expanding. Lyft, on the other hand, is now available in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Outside of the U.S., the rideshare service has recently expanded to Canada, and is eyeing Europe.
Even if both brands operate in your area, the size of the city or town you reside in can also affect the availability of vehicles. Many drivers aren’t going to work overnight in locations with fewer residents because it’s not a cost-effective choice. Instead, they’ll focus their energy on peak hours of the day when demand is higher. Unfortunately, the only way to determine if a ride is available is by requesting it through one of the apps.
Winner: When it comes to worldwide availability, Uber is still top dog. However, in the U.S., both Uber and Lyft are available almost everywhere. Both companies are still expanding, and they’re also targeting smaller locations simultaneously with metropolitan areas.
Safety is a top concern for most rideshare passengers, and in the battle of Uber vs. Lyft, security is a close race. Even though rideshare drivers operate as independent contractors, both companies utilize a detailed vetting process. Applicants are required to provide proof of licensing and insurance as well as access to their driving records. Drivers also undergo a background check. On top of these requirements, in many states, every vehicle has to undergo an inspection to ensure it meets the standards set by each company.
Along with the initial security steps, both Lyft and Uber have made updates to their apps to improve safety features of the app itself. Once you request a ride and it’s accepted, you’ll instantly have access to the driver’s name, photo, license plate number, and make and model of their vehicle. You’ll also have access to their real-time location, which means you don’t have to step outside until after they arrive.
Another valuable in-app quality is the ability to share your estimated arrival time (ETA), but each app approaches this feature differently. In the Lyft app, you can instantly share your ETA and route with anyone within your contact list. The Uber app offers both of these options as well, but you can also designate up to five emergency contacts to make the process simpler. Plus, the Uber allows you to contact emergency services directly through the application, and soon, the company will offer a collaboration with RapidSOS that will automatically send your exact location to the authorities.
While Lyft doesn’t offer the ability to contact emergency services from within the app, its newest update is built with the safety of both driver and passenger in mind. In highly congested areas, the app designates pickup and drop off sites on surrounding side streets when available. This feature is designed to reduce the risk of pedestrians and Lyft vehicles being hit by passing traffic. If an incident occurs, both companies have teams designated for urgent issues, and each one is available 24 hours a day.
Winner: It’s a tie! While Uber does have the upper hand with their built-in emergency service response, both companies have made a solid effort to keep their passengers safe.
Requesting a ride shouldn’t be a pain, which brings us to our next round in the Uber vs. Lyft battle—usability. Both rideshare companies make it fairly easy to secure transportation, requiring only a few taps on your screen.
For Uber, when you open the app, you’ll see a map that highlights your current location and the drivers currently working in the area. In the menu at the top, you’ll enter your desired location in the field that reads, “Where to?”. At this point, you’ll choose your Uber service, verify your payment information, apply a promo code (if you have one), and request your ride.
The color scheme of the Uber application mostly involves tones, with gray, black, and white being prominent in every area. While this selection is chosen for its readability, the lack of actual colors prevents key features from popping out. However, the Uber app’s saving grace is its compatibility with voice-activated services, like VoiceOver and TalkBack, which increase its usability among visually impaired riders. Uber services are also accessible with wireless braille display options.
Requesting a Lyft is now incredibly simple. After opening the app, you’ll first select the type of Lyft you want, confirm your current location on the in-app map, choose your destination, and click “Request Lyft.” If you have a promo code, you’ll need to enter it in the “Promos” section on the main menu before selecting a ride.
One of the best qualities of the Lyft app is its simple, clean design. The well-chosen pops of pink beautifully contrast with the white, black, and gray of the rest of the app. As a result, it achieves the aesthetic appeal that Uber reached for but missed. Unfortunately, Lyft’s current usability for visually impaired passengers is limited to those that are Aira customers.
The newest Lyft app update incorporates public transit routes and schedules to help you design your trip across multiple transportation options in combination with Lyft. While Uber allows you to request extra stops during your journey, it doesn’t currently offer features that make planning travel accommodation across numerous ride styles easier.
Winner: The winner in this round of the Lyft vs. Uber competition is…Lyft! While the app hasn’t caught up to Uber in its compatibility with accessibility applications, its clean, crisp design results in a more user-friendly application.
Both rideshare options also offer a variety of ride styles. Here’s a quick overview of each.
- Lyft Line: Shared rides with multiple passengers pickups and dropoffs along the route.
- Lyft: Affordable, regular vehicles that accommodate up to four people.
- Lyft Plus: Larger vehicles for when you have more than four people.
- Lyft Premier: Higher end vehicle that fits up to four passengers.
- Lyft Lux: The epitome of luxury with a top-ranked, high-end vehicle and driver.
- Lyft Lux SUV: The SUV variation of Lux.
- UberPool: Shared rides. Operates essentially as a carpool service with multiple passengers being picked up and dropped off along the same route.
- UberX: The standard Uber service can accommodate up to four passengers.
- UberXL: Larger vehicles that accommodate more than four people.
- UberSELECT: Slightly higher end and newer vehicles. The middle ground between UberX and UberBLACK.
- UberBLACK: Choose drivers with super high-end vehicles for up to four people.
- UberSUV: UberBLACK with more seating.
- UberLUX: Top-of-the-line vehicles with top-rated, professional drivers.
The biggest difference between the two apps, at least in terms of ride choices, is their offerings for individuals with disabilities. Uber offers two important options that are available directly from the app—UberWav and UberAssist. UberWav is designed for individuals who have non-foldable riding or walking apparatuses, like electric scooters, but this option has an additional $2 fee. UberAssist, on the other hand, specializes in passengers with folding wheelchairs and walkers, as the driver will assist with folding down and storing the device at pick-up. Unfortunately, neither of these variations are available in all locations as of yet, but they are quickly expanding their coverage areas.
The Lyft app currently falls short as far as accessibility options. To find a vehicle that offers wheelchair capability, you have to go into “Settings”, click “Services”, and enable the “Access” button. When you request a ride, the app will look for available drivers in your area. However, the majority of locations don’t offer this feature, so instead of finding you a driver, you’ll receive a text message directing you to local vendors or organizations that offer wheelchair accessible rides. Many of those dispatch services require a full day’s notice as well as a post-registration waiting period.
Winner: Uber takes the win in this round! The company’s desire to extend their ride availability options is unmatched by Lyft.
Uber vs. Lyft: Which App Wins the Great Rideshare Debate?
It was a hard-fought battle, but in the Uber vs. Lyft competition, the result is…basically a tie.
While the new Lyft app takes the cake on usability, Uber’s special features evened the score.
But don’t worry: the debate is far from over! Both brands are constantly announcing new collaborations and improvements, so only time will tell which one is seen as the true winner. Until then, download both to be on the safe side. You can get discounted rides on either by clicking one of the buttons below.