What’s It Like To Give Up Uber For A Week And Drive For Lyft?

Harry here.  There’s been a lot of talk lately about Uber’s treatment of its drivers, yet a lot of it leaves out one of the simplest solutions: if you’re an unhappy Uber driver, you can always go drive for Lyft.  

Now, you may not think that this is an option in your city, but as today’s guest poster found out, you could be wrong.  Today, RSG reader Tim Reinhart found out just what it’s like to give up Uber for a week and stick it out with Lyft.  The results may surprise you..

What's It Like To Give Up Uber For A Week And Drive For Lyft?
What’s It Like To Give Up Uber For A Week And Drive For Lyft?

Like most of you, I run the Uber app on top to avoid having to say “yes I want to stay online” every 15 minutes. Meanwhile, Lyft runs silently and patiently in the background like a well trained pet sleeping at my feet, ready to jump to attention at a moment’s notice.

On a typical day, Uber pings first. So I turn Lyft off. Deliver Uber pax. Turn Lyft on, Uber pings again, turn Lyft off, deliver pax, lather, rinse and repeat.

At the end of the day, Uber has been “on” for the entire time, and Lyft has only been on between pings. When I got a Lyft ping, I was clumsy with the app, since I wasn’t used to it, and I kept mixing up the balloon with the arrow and wasn’t sure which way to turn between ping and the map launching.

Lyft was starting to be regarded by me as Uber’s ugly little duckling with a great personality. But one day I wanted to see if that duckling could become a swan. It was a Sunday and I had been noticing the difference between the typical Uber pax and the typical Lyft pax. I was slowly realizing that I liked the latter a lot better.

Lyfting For A Whole Week?

Could I afford to spend a week giving Lyft that chance? Considering the hundreds per week I got from Uber, and the dozens per week I got from Lyft, I was apprehensive. But I decided that I could always abandon this little game and go back to Uber at anytime.

I have a regular pickup at 7am weekdays on my Uber schedule, so I took ‘Mike’ to work Monday morning and then turned the Uber app off. Lyft was my platform for at least a half a day, and I had to give her a decent chance to show me what she had. Lyft is female in my head (must be the pink thing despite the mustache). It was 7:30am.

No pings, just as I expected. This was costing me money, this was a stupid idea, this is going to last approximately two more… PING … We (my phone, my car, and I) are off to pickup the rare and elusive Lyft pax. There’s a decent picture of him, he’s somewhere north of me. As Waze takes over my phone screen, I see he’s 11 minutes away. Sigh. “Figures,” says my cynical side. *eye roll*

Pax is a white male in his 20’s in town for his brother’s wedding. He knows the area, he grew up here in Indianapolis and now lives in Honolulu. We have a lot to talk about, as both of us are living far from where we grew up. He’s a nice guy, visiting friends here and there. As we approach his parent’s home where he grew up, I tell him, “nice neighborhood.” He agrees, and tells me he had a blessed childhood and his father’s wealth afforded him many things. He gave it all up to be a landscaper in Hawaii. I thought that showed character, as did the $5 bill he took out of his pocket and handed me as he said, “Take it easy, dude.”

I Forgot About Tips!

Oh, right… Lyft passengers tip! Nice bonus. I end his ride, and I’m a little surprised at the fare price. It’s higher than I expected. Lyft charges more? Another bonus. I’ve got a hundred passenger stories to tell, but first I have to compare a Lyft Monday to an Uber Monday.

At the end of the day, figuratively and literally, it’s about the money. Early in the week is usually pretty soft running Uber – $60 is typical for me, on more or less 10 Uber rides. This is a Lyft Monday, and I’m just a hair over $100 on 7 rides.

This trend continued all week: while I don’t get pinged as often on Lyft, when I do, it’s worth more. I also have to drive further to pick up Lyft passengers. I really like that I’m averaging closer to $15 a ride vs. $6 a ride. This means I have to spend my idle time better.  The usual temptation is to spend that idle time spending money at Starbucks, free wifi and my favorite sober adult beverages. What to do with this idle time?

By Tuesday I’m asking myself: Would you rather give 10 six dollar rides, or 6 ten dollar rides? Uber kept me busier, but Lyft might be more profitable. I look at the Monday report Lyft sent and saw that 3 of yesterday’s passengers left me tips. Throw in the two cash tips, and I got tips from 70% of my Monday passengers. Tuesday is a little lighter than Monday, but still better than any Uber Tuesday, and I’m still in the mid-teens for an average ride fare.

By Wednesday, I’m paying attention to Lyft’s “peak hours” and, out of the 20 hours they’ve identified as being busy, I can get a 10% bonus by having the app on for half of them. Hmmm. Let’s see, if I take a nap after dinner on Friday, and work midnight to 4 am, I can have those ten hours by noon on Saturday.

Wednesday turns out to be a very, very good day for me. I get an early airport run that was worth $52, and got an in-app tip for $5. I’ve already made my Wednesday earnings, and it’s only 8am. I stay on line all day and get another $100+. I’ve met some really good people who have nothing good to say about their Uber experience. A common theme emerges: Uber is inadvertently creating a lot of Lyft customers.

Thursday has me closing in on a plan to get ten peak hours, and 50 hours online with a 98% acceptance rate that will give me a 20% bonus. Lyft is going to pay me 100% of the fares I’ve driven.

I take Thursday off after the morning rush, as I’m going to have a busy weekend.

Without boring you with too many stories of the very cool passengers I talked with, I ended the week on Sunday morning at 10am. I got my 50 hours while taking a very pretty “walk of shame” passenger home from a house she didn’t know the color of, and I saw that I had jumped all the Lyft hurdles on the way. 20% bonus for the week.

How did my week with Lyft compare to a typical Uber week?

  1. I drove more miles with fewer passengers but for more money per ride.
  2. Adding in cash tips and a 20% bonus that I NEVER get from Uber, I made 1.5 times my usual weekly income and spent less time working.
  3. I had to drive that dreaded midnight to 4am shift. With Uber, it was always a hassle. Lyft passengers, on the other hand, were “tipsy” but not “puke imminent” or passed out or in any way troublesome.
  4. I had a LOT more pings followed by a cancel followed by a ping and a cancel from the same pax.
  5. More than half of my pickups were pax with their “toes on the curb”. Hallelujah and big props for Lyft.

Since I had more idle time with Lyft, more of my 50 hours were spent sipping cappuccino and playing phone games. It’s not like I worked a full 50 hours that week. Even with a passenger, I was having a great time telling stories and jokes and promoting the superiority of Lyft. I had most of Thursday and most of Sunday to myself, my dog, and my wife. Not in that order, though.

Next time I turn on Uber, it will be because I’m stuck far into the ‘burbs and need a few cheapskates to take me on several $6 rides without tips in the general direction of home.

It looks like for now, I’m a Lyft driver.

Want to know more about the Lyft vs. Uber experience, read all of our articles comparing and contrasting the two.  And make sure you head over to Youtube to check out one of our most popular videos: What’s The Difference Between Uber and Lyft?

If you’re ready to sign up for Lyft, click here to use our referral link.  Lyft is still offering bonuses up to $750 depending on your city.

Bio: Tim Reinhart is an Uber AND Lyft driver based out of Indianapolis, Indiana.  He’s been driving for six months and when he’s not driving, he likes to pull fish out of lakes, detail his car, and take his dog to the park.