UBER vs. LYFT – Game them or do they game us? Is one better or worse?

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lyft vs uber delta points blogMy what a crazy new game ride sharing is. My fellow BA blogger Jennifer, who is an Uber driver on the side, is trying to become a Lyft driver. I find her real life experiences so fascinating to read about and comparing the two companies from her viewpoint.

On my last trip to Dallas I wanted to, at long last, try Lyft as Uber has been getting harder to use for airport pickups. Lyft still allows the app to request an airport pickup vs. Uber. You can still do it with Uber, you just have to “move” the pointer to just outside the airport to get an UBERx to activate (normally you only see UBERblack at airports). When I do this I have to text or call the driver to let them know I really am at the airport for pickup. Some drivers say yes and some no (most say yes btw).

Anyway, after being a long time Uber user I at last wanted to test Lyft and use my Lyft $50 credit I got a long, long time ago for signing up (right now both Uber and Lyft offer $20 credits for 1st use). But then…

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I land in DFW and fire up my Lyft app and I get the not so amazing gift pushed to my phone of up to 5x$20 free rides on Lyft. Sounds great, and normally I would be thrilled over such a bonus, but this time I knew under Uber rates it would cost me just over $20 to get to my hotel, that is, the Sheraton Galleria in Dallas. So, unlike my $50 credit pending, I would have to pay a little to get to my hotel even with the credit. But then it got worse.

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Oh crud. I get the Lyft version of Uber’s “surge” pricing. Not good. I did wait a few minutes, but the surge did not go away. Plus, I had my $50 credit. Maybe it would be pulled 1st? Yeah, well, not so much. Like Uber they pull smaller credits first and bill your card the difference.

But I really wanted to, as a blogger, test out Lyft vs Uber so I sucked it up and clicked on the accept higher fare and then called my driver to let him know I was at departures NOT arrivals (I always do this as there is less risk of drivers getting yelled at by those who dislike ride share services).

I had an interesting conversation with the driver on the way to the hotel. You see, drivers can work for both services and many do. I was told they work the two against each other and try to accept as many surge rides from one service or the other like in my case where Lyft was surging but Uber was not. Normally I would have gone with Uber as we, as riders, are trying to avoid the surges whereas they are trying to score them.

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For my return to the airport I fired up Uber and this morning they were surging. Great. Over to my Lyft app again. The nearest driver was a long way off but I had time. I requested a driver and one accepted.

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I waited, and I waited. 5 minutes and nothing moved on my app (you can follow the driver as they drive along). After almost 10 minutes I called the driver. Voice mail. I texted no answer and the driver still had not moved from where he was. I canceled my pickup request with Mr. Robert!

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Back to Uber and now the surge was gone and a driver was only a few minutes out. Perfect! Plus, this gave me a chance to earn extra SPG points due to the new promo they have linking your Uber rides with your SPG stays!

So bottom line, is one service better than the other? Not to me and as we have seen the same drivers work for both services so what is the difference really. As a rider I will compare both apps for the best price, see if either are offering me bonus deals in whatever city I am in, and take the ride that works best for me. What has been your Uber vs. Lyft experience? – René
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11 comments

  1. Do you still have to fist bump the Lyft drivers? I’m strictly Uber but could consider Lyft as long as the pink mustache and fist bump shenanigans stop. I recently considered becoming an Uber driver in my home town. Uber is new here and the City Commissioners are idiots (oops I mean are considering the implications of Uber) and none of them have ever used it. In the end not worth the hassle but mostly because my real business does not allow me much free time and I see no need to drive my new SUV for $12-$18 per hour or whatever Uber black can earn.

  2. @Graydon – Bump them? Not sure what that is so I would say no. You can tip them inside the app after ride unlike Uber. I just tip Uber drivers a few bucks in cash if there are tolls they do not get paid for like at airports.

  3. We have no trouble here in DC getting Uber at the airport. There have been a lot of surges lately and I just found out about a new surge protector app that shows where there’s a surge and where there isn’t. Sometimes you’ll be in a surge area, but one block away won’t be one.

  4. Rene-fist-bumping was/is Lyft’s signature greeting between driver and passenger.

  5. I’m in Seattle and there seems to be a stark difference in Lyft vs Uber. Not necessarily in pricing, but in terms of driver personality. I’ve been using the two services for the past 1.5 years and every Lyft driver I have had has been friendly and talkative-most of the time I use the service it’s because I am not sober enough to drive, so I enjoy chatting with them. Uber drivers seem like the city cabbies, very cut and dry and do not like to make conversation or even seem friendly. I will always go out of my way to use Lyft if given the opportunity.

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