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Lyft vs. Uber: Which Is Better?

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author photo by Eric Brandt September 2018

Ride-hailing apps have exploded in popularity in recent years as an alternative to a traditional taxi. It's not hard to see why a convenient smartphone app is more attractive to a lot of people than calling a number to ask for a cab or getting out on the street and try to wave one down. The two most popular ride-hailing apps are Uber and Lyft. They both serve the same purpose of giving people rides, but what is the difference between the two services, and which is better?

Availability

One of the biggest differences is the size of the companies and their service networks. Uber is bigger than Lyft and is available in cities all over the world. Lyft is quite a bit smaller and only serves cities in 46 states and the District of Columbia. If you live in a big city, you can use either pretty easily, but if you live outside of a big city, Lyft might not even be an option.

Uber and Lyft both have a few different services. They both offer a basic service while allowing you to specify what kind of vehicle, such as a luxury car or an SUV, you want a ride in. They both also give you the option of sharing a ride with someone else on the same or similar route to save a few bucks.

Pricing

As for pricing, it's almost identical. For an average ride, it's going to cost about the same no matter which service you choose. One isn't definitively more affordable than the other. Where the differences come in is during a really busy time and place when there is higher demand. When it's particularly busy in a certain area, Uber calls it "surge" and Lyft calls it "prime time." When those times are in effect, the fare that you pay just depends on which service is experiencing more demand. The only way to know for sure which is more affordable at any given time is to check your route on both apps to see which price wins.

UX

When it comes to user experience, it's really hard to say which is better since it all depends on the driver. Uber and Lyft both have some requirements for who is allowed to drive for them, such as having a car that's in good, safe, working order, having a clean driving record, etc. But there's no guarantee that your driver with either service will be pleasant or have a driving style that you like.

Another thing that should come into play in picking a preference is the user interface of the apps. We recommend trying both and seeing which app you find easier to use. They both make it pretty easy to find a ride and pay for it through the app, but there's a good chance you'll have a preference in which app you like to use more.

Which is Better?

It's hard to say which is better since Uber and Lyft are similar services with nearly identical pricing, and they're both great alternatives to a traditional taxi. The best way to know which one is better for you is to first ensure that they're both available where you live and then to give both a shot and pick a favorite from there.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Lyft vs. Uber: Which Is Better? - Autotrader