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Driving for Uber and Lyft: What's the Difference?

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The author has experience driving for both Uber and Lyft and is here to share her thoughts about the pros and cons of each.

Explore the pros and cons of Lyft and Uber

Explore the pros and cons of Lyft and Uber

Getting Paid to Drive

I started driving for Uber a couple of years ago in between jobs. It was interesting. I met different people and learned different areas of the city I live in that I'd never been to before. After starting a new job, I would drive occasionally for extra money. There is a workweek for payment, the cutoff being early Monday mornings. Money earned would be deposited in my bank account later in the week. Pretty cool.

Life, in general, interrupted my driving until a few weeks ago when I found myself out of a job again. I had purchased a newer car and had yet to make the change on Uber. Well, I got that done pretty quickly and found that the payment could now be instantaneous! I had heard from drivers of Uber and Lyft that Lyft came out of the gate doing that, and Uber changed their policy to match. You can still wait for Monday morning and have the money deposited later in the week, or you can pay a small fee (50 cents) to have it deposited immediately.

Regarding the other drivers I had spoken to, they were all driving for both services. Then someone close to me started doing the same, so I signed up for Lyft as well. That's when I started noticing differences.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Google Maps on your phones. I know I use mine all the time. Uber uses the same Google Maps app to navigate you around, including audible directions. Lyft, however, does not.

My first Lyft ride didn't go so well. First of all, you have to tap the screen an extra time: when you arrive, when the rider enters the vehicle, and when the ride is over. With Uber, it tells you you have arrived and the rider has been notified. Once they enter the vehicle, you tap that you have picked up the rider and again when you drop them off.

So after going through the extra step, we were off. The only problem was I had no idea where we were going! The navigation screen was so far out I couldn't figure out which way to go. Now I am definitely not one to text and drive. Glancing at a small screen to see which way to turn is about all I can handle. Trying to figure out an app while driving and not letting the rider know I don't know what I'm doing is quite difficult.

I finally asked the young man where we were headed. It was somewhere I was familiar with, so I was able to get him there expediently. I maintained a professional demeanor while he was in the car, but once he was out and I had pulled away, I let my frustration out! It would have helped if it had the audible navigation as well, which it does, I just didn't know how to turn it on!

Another distracting element on the Lyft navigation is it continues to show you where you've been. There are too many lines and an arrow. A quick glance while navigating at night is not adequate.

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Overall, I don't like the Lyft navigation system. I feel I have to take my eyes off the road too much to feel safe.

Running Both Uber and Lyft Simultaneously

When I finally was approved for Lyft, I planned a day to try them both at once. I got in the car and got everything situated—phone mounted, charger plugged in, purse on the floor, a/c cranked (it was a hot day). I opened the Lyft app and went online, opened the Uber app and went online, and finally turned on music through the Uber app. I was ready to rock and roll (well, classical when riders are in the car). I backed out of the driveway and started driving towards the center of town.

After a few minutes of driving around, I got an Uber ride. I headed to the pickup destination and picked up my rider. It was a short trip—less than 10 minutes. After I dropped the rider off, I switched over to the Lyft app and saw that I had missed a ride and had received a warning. Really? Okay, I'll leave the Lyft app open.

I then received a Lyft ride, and after completion, I switched over to the Uber app and saw I had missed a ride there. How was I missing the ride notifications?

A few days later, I was talking to another driver and asked how he got his rides if one app was present while the other was in the background. At first, he wasn't sure, but after talking about for a few minutes, we figured out that after you open and go online with both apps, you have to return your phone to the black screen.

I went out and tried that. It worked! I would open the app, accept the ride, open the other app, and go offline (I figured that out on my own).

There is a difference here as well. Uber will pop up on your screen with a message and a sound. The Lyft app only makes the sound.

In Conclusion

I prefer driving for Uber. The navigation system is easier to use, it links up to my Pandora account, and it's more user-friendly. I've heard from riders that Lyft is less expensive. Based on the percentage of Uber vs. Lyft rides that I've done, there are move Lyft riders. From a driving standpoint, I feel safer with Uber.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Zia Uddin from UK on October 21, 2018:

Very interesting indeed. We don't have Lyft unfortunately in UK, but Uber is good enough. Only problem is the fares are too low, too much driving to the rider's destination and wasting fuel driving from one area to another.

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