Like Uber more than Lyft? You’re not the only one! This week, we’ve challenged senior RSG contributors Christian Perea and Jay Cradeur to explain why they like Uber (Christian) and Lyft (Jay) more than the other service. Don’t agree with Christian today? Check out Monday’s article, where Jay explained why he likes Lyft more.
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Related article: Essential gear for rideshare drivers
Uber or Lyft?
I have a pretty long history of being critical of Uber and in my 3.5 years of driving, I’ve done 10 times as many trips with Lyft compared to Uber. I favored Lyft a lot not so much because I liked them better, but because I hold a bit of contempt towards Uber for always lowering prices first, deploying upfront pricing first, and overall becoming the epitome of an evil dystopian tech company.
Uber vs Lyft? I Choose Uber
However, with Uber you always know exactly what you’re getting: cold, efficient, corporate sociopathy.
Plus, Lyft will do whatever Uber does anyways. They just wait a week. Uber gets blasted in the media (or on this blog). The news cycle shifts. Lyft sends an email to drivers announcing that they’re gonna do it too! This has often been said best by one of our readers/commentators:
“Uber is the devil you know. Lyft is the Devil in Disguise” – Thomash
So here are nine ways Uber actually treats its drivers better than Lyft:
1.) Uber Has A “No Thanks” Button For Bad Requests
Uber obviously wants us to accept rides, but they would rather us decide right away that we aren’t going to take a ride than have the driver/passenger play a game of “who cancels first” or some other shenanigans.
Ironically, this probably makes the Uber vs Lyft dispatch system faster and more reliable since it can rapidly assign another driver to a request that the original driver otherwise would have spent the next 3-4 minutes trying to dodge via shady text messages, parking a block away to cancel, or just flat out driving in the opposite direction until the passenger cancels the ride.
2.) Uber Promos Have Lower Acceptance Rates
Right now, the acceptance rate requirement in San Francisco to qualify for your Uber Quest Bonus or Consecutive Earnings Boost or Boost is 0%.
Lyft requires you to have a 90% acceptance rate for most of their bonuses, and I think that’s pretty ridiculous because it basically shifts the problems with their sloppy-as-hell dispatch system onto their hard-working drivers. When you drive Lyft they expect that you ACCEPT 90% of the requests you receive in order to be eligible for the bonus. You also cannot cancel more than 10% of rides, so there’s no way around it.
You see, Uber has the common sense to realize that most drivers who “cherry pick” high surge rides, or ignore POOL requests, or whatever will probably never get bonuses simply by the fact that they don’t’ do enough rides in the first place!
Granted, you will eventually get deactivated if your cancellation rate is really high on Uber. However, they’ll send plenty of emails beforehand to warn you. There’s also no reason to have a high cancellation rate because you can just say “no thanks” to the requests that suck.
3.) No “Peak” Rides on Uber
Uber wants you to do a certain number of rides. They don’t care when you do them as long as they take place within the time window. They don’t attach any strings that say “but you have to give a bunch of these rides when it’s most busy and there’s the most traffic”. All the terms for the bonuses are clearly displayed in the app.
Peak Rides on Lyft have always acted as another “gotcha!” moment and provided a lot of stress to drivers who put in the effort to drive full time on their platform. I know someone EVERY WEEK who gets burned on their bonus by not having enough “Peak” rides because every other Lyft driver logs on during those hours and saturates the market. Another reason for Uber vs lyft.
Even worse, the people who seem to get burned the most are new drivers and people who are trying to get back on their feet while using something like Express Drive (which requires Peak rides to waive the rental fee). Many don’t even know what a Peak ride is or how to get it.
I actually met a driver who was living in a homeless shelter because she couldn’t hit her peak ride requirement (she couldn’t find where they were in the app). She was still paying $200 a week for her rental though. I showed her where to find them and her response was “How the f**k was I supposed to find this on my own??!”
With Uber, you just do the rides and get the bonus. It’s much more fair and far less stressful. It treats real people better.
4.) Uber’s Surge Map Actually Works
Uber’s surge maps work. They’re not always perfect and we can say all we want about them being used on us like a skinner box where the rats are Toyota Priuses/Prii and the nicotine is money, but the fact is that they work really well.
For a long time the difference between Uber vs Lyft’s surge maps was that it was only Uber’s surge map that told you whether a request was on surge. They had longer refresh rates, and a clear and distinct way of displaying what surge pricing was in effect for each little hex on the map. Uber is also more likely to surge above 3x.
Meanwhile, Lyft only recently began to tell drivers that an incoming request was on Prime Time. Further, when you look at a Lyft Prime Time map, you still have to determine between light pink, slightly darker pink, and SUPER DARK PINK for anything above 2x surge (100% Prime Time) and it’s often STILL wrong!
Uber’s maps provide much more certainty for drivers. This probably leads to better market efficiency. It definitely leads to happier drivers.
5.) No Passive Aggressive Thinly Veiled Cult Threats
Uber is fairly straightforward when they send you a message. They tell you what someone claims you did wrong and what the consequences are (or are not). Here’s an example from our trusty contributor Jay:
In comparison, Lyft sends their messages in a way that is almost creepy, like you are drowning kittens every time someone in their community vaguely says something bad about you:
6.) Uber Won’t Deactivate You For Having A Stun Gun
Although both companies prohibit firearms, Uber won’t deactivate you for carrying a stun gun or pepper spray to protect yourself from violent passengers.
Driving at night is dangerous at times because you end up dealing with a lot of people who have problems that they’re trying to fix with alcohol or other substances. Over the course of my rides, I’ve had several passengers threaten me, refuse to leave me car, and one particular guy who tried to leave my car while it was going 70 mph because he had a bad date and also got kicked out of Stingaree bar. With Uber, I don’t have to choose between my life and a job!
Meanwhile, Lyft will deactivate you for pulling out a stun-gun to protect yourself from passengers who drunkenly threaten or intimidate you.
Uber previously didn’t take a stance on drivers carrying firearms, but that policy backfired on them a few years ago when a driver went rogue and started killing random people for sport between his ride requests. There was also an Uber driver who stopped a mass shooting by shooting the shooter.
Have fun with that in the comments section!
///Intense gun debating intensifies////
7.) Uber’s Almost Meaningless Ratings System!
Uber is less willing to deactivate poorly rated drivers because drivers are expensive and they realize that the “5-star rating” system is really just a marketing gimmick for suckers.
Beyond that, Uber also pioneered Ratings Protection during their “180 Days of We’re Sorry” campaign to prevent drivers from being rated unfairly by asking passengers “why” they were rating us less than 5 stars and then voiding ratings for things like “UberPOOL route was bad” or “UberPOOL had a 2nd passenger” or “I don’t like women drivers even though I am also a woman.”
Plus, there are some rumors that Uber is looking to provide a monetary reward for having a higher rating in the future.
8.) Uber has More Extensive Driver Support
Uber has Greenlight Hubs EVERYWHERE, they have 24/7 phone support, they once had IM (instant message) support, and they even now have mall support, which is one of the main reasons I prefer uber vs lyft.
Lyft has some Hub support and a Twitter handle… (the Twitter handle is surprisingly functional though).
They both also have ticket support on their sites and in their apps.
From my experience though, in-person support has always been the quickest and most surefire way to get a big problem resolved on the same day, especially when you get deactivated for something stupid or if there is a glitch in your bonus.
The Hubs that Lyft have are actually great (and they do a great job of hiring DRIVERS to help run them) but they are far fewer than Uber’s extensive global Greenlight Hub system (which is like a DMV that actually works).
9.) Retroactive Signup Bonuses With Uber
If you sign your friend up to drive with Uber but then your friend was too stupid to click on the.exact.right.link OR they once started an Uber application a long time ago but then you convinced them to sign up for Uber, you can STILL get the bonus for referring them (although it kinda makes you a terrible friend).
Uber will honor that bonus because 1. They want you to refer more people to them and 2. It’s obvious that you got this person to take the plunge!
Lyft has found a magic way to burn me on drivers I’ve referred because they started an application one time 2 years ago or accidentally clicked on the wrong signup link. Even when I’ve walked them through the process of signing them up and (back in the day) finding them a mentor.
Editor’s Note: We’ve seen some reports from drivers that they were able to do retroactive referrals so give it a shot, but there’s no guarantee like there is with Uber.
Uber or Lyft?
None Of These Companies Really Treat Drivers Better
Both of these companies treat drivers relatively the same (like a commodity). There are some minor differences between the two, but for the most part it’s really just a difference in branding, marketing, and little whistles in the app.
None of them have done much to raise rates of pay for drivers. They’re both still trying to find ways to skim via upfront pricing, raising their service fees, and switching up Surge/Primetime so they get a bigger upside.
Until that changes for the better, the best thing you can do is to drive for whichever company is paying you the most on any given week. That’s the company that is better for drivers. For now.
Drivers, what do you think of Christian’s analysis of Uber vs. Jay’s? Let us know in the comments!
-Christian @ RSG
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PS If you haven’t already, click here to sign up to drive for Uber, Lyft, as well as Uber Eats, Postmates, and Doordash!
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