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uber or lyft?

If you are serious about maximizing your earnings, then the question should really be more about which one to start first?  Drive for both Uber & Lyft to optimize your earnings.  Start with one for your first 30 days, though, and then add the second platform to your business.  This way you can complete all your required rides to get your full sign-up bonus on each platform.    In the end, it is always good to have both driver apps available to find rides back toward your home at the end of your shift.  




Both Uber and Lyft pay drivers about the same per ride in the end.  There are subtle differences.    From our experiences, Uber pays drivers a little less per ride (depending on the geographic area) than Lyft.  

Weekly Bonuses:

Weekly bonuses, though, are much easier to get from Uber than Lyft.   Uber gives bonuses based on the number of rides given bi-weekly.   Uber's first Weekly Bonus Schedule runs from 4am of Monday through 4am on Friday.   This gives drivers 96 hours (4 days) to complete rides toward that Weekday Bonus.  Uber's second Weekly Bonus Schedule runs from 4am on Friday through 4am on Monday.  This gives drivers 72 hours (3 days) to complete rides toward that Weekend Bonus.

Example:  Complete 40 rides to get an extra $130.  Complete 70 rides to get an extra $230.


Lyft has additional requirements to receive weekly bonuses.  First, a driver must maintain a 90% Acceptance Rating to be eligible for a weekly bonus.   This means that 9 out of 10 of the total number of ride requests per week must be accepted.   So, if Lyft requires 40 rides to be completed to get a $65 bonus, then you can only reject a maximum of 4 ride requests for 40 rides given.   If you gave 50 rides that weeek out of 55 requests, then you'd still be at a 91% Acceptance Rating, and you would get your bonus.


Lyft also requires that a given number of the 40 rides (usually 25) be completed during Peak Driving Hours.  The Peak Driving Hours Schedule varies based on location and changes from time to time based on special eventsc.  It can be viewed in the Lyft Driver app or via Peak hours are usually:


6-9am  &  5-7pm  (Mon-Fri)

10pm-1am   (Fri-Sat)

9am -12noon  (Sun)

Passenger Pricing:

Also, from what we hear from riders, Uber prices are better for longer trips than Lyft.  This may also change from time to time.  We've also heard from riders that pricing for riders can vary based on their frequency of use.  So two riders from and to the same location can be charged different amounts based on their use frequency and loyalty to each platform.   This is not uncommon as Loyalty Programs and pricing discounts, therein, have been around for decades in most industries.   Most passengers nowadays usually price their destination on both apps, Uber and Lyft, and then decide. This is another reason to have both driver apps activated for your ride-share driving business.

Surge Pricing, Power Zones, and Prime Time:

When demand is high and the supply of drivers in a given area is low, Uber and Lyft both compensate for this by incentivizing drivers to head toward that area.  Surge Pricing will show up as a Heat Map in the driver apps, the darker the color indicates higher pricing.   As drivers head toward these areas the heat map will dissipate and pricing begins to normalize.   It's not a good idea to chase these heat map surges, because you'll end up becoming dissappointed.  If you happen to be inside a surge pricing area,  though, you'll be pleasantly surprised when you accept a ride with a 2.2x surge factor.  


Example: Instead of a $10 ride, you'll make $22 for that ride.


For Uber, the ride request needs to come from inside the surge area.  For Lyft, if either the ride request or driver is in the surge area, then surge pricing will be applied.

Lyft breaks down their surge pricing into Power Zones and Prime Time but basically uses the same principle.  You can discuss these more in depth with your sponsor.



In our opinion, Uber has 2 distinct advantages over Lyft with regards to the functionality of their driver app:


  1. Uber provides real metric analysis of driver's history.  Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly driver earnings and stats are available at-a-glance for drivers to review.  Ratings, rider comments, and other feedback can be viewed in the app, also.

  2. Uber has a navigation option for using a proprietary version of Google Maps.  This is the Uber/Google Maps hybrid.  This navigation has some advantages in that the background turns black at night and the movement and scrolling of the map is much more user-friendly than Lyft's Google Maps hybrid.    It can be very helpful to be able to easily move around and zoom into the map during a ride to anticipate what lane to be in for upcoming turns.  The black background is really easy on the eyes (less glare and lower blue-light absorption) and really helps with eye strain for those of us that spend a lot of time on the computer and/or watching TV.

Both Uber and Lyft offer the option of using Waze for navigation, which has some distinguishing differences from Google Maps.   The main difference is in regards to the social media sharing of real-time road and highway alerts from its users as they pass them.  If you want to watch out for accidents, road hazards, CHP or police sitings, etc. then Waze is a good pick.   (Note:  Google recently acquired Waze, so Google Maps may add more of these  features soon).   ​ The exact pinpointing of rider locations and their whereabouts seems to be better once you reach the destination area with Google Maps.   


It's all a matter of preference.  Just like with any product there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to each navigation app.   When using Waze or Google Maps (standalone) during a ride,  the nav app will need to be opened separately  from the Uber driver or Lyft Driver app.  Whereas the "Lyft w/ Google Maps" or "Uber w/ Google Maps" setting is a more seamless integration and does not require the nav app to be opened separately.  The advantage here is that you can navigate and also designate when you arrive or compete a ride right on the same user interface (UI) or screen.


Uber and Lyft both put time and resources into slightly different market demographics.  This  is differentiated by their marketing plans and campaigns.  Lyft seems to do a better job utilizing social media marketing.  Uber, though, is a multi-national corporation with reach all over the world and has saturated its brand into ethnic cultures way beyond the United States of America.  You'll find younger passengers that are avid users of social media to be prevalent using Lyft.  Middle aged, professional passengers (airport business class) seem to prefer Uber.   There is a good mix of both nowadays, though, so honing in on which app is better for a particular area is up to you to decide over time.




As far as which one to start with, either Uber or Lyft, it's really just a matter of preference. Uber does require that a driver have at least 3 years of driving experience.  Lyft only requires 1 year of driving experience.  Lyft tends to have younger drivers.  


Shoot for both platforms eventually.  If you really want to maximize your earnings, we suggest our drivers to sign up for one at a time.  Only start with one during your first 30 days or so,  so you can get comfortable learning to use that driver app and concentrate on completing your ride requirements to get your New Driver Sign Up Bonus.  Then after 30 or 60 days,  add the next driver app, either Uber or Lyft, by applying to drive and then downloading the app.  The same process applies to both platforms.  You'll need to upload your documents into each of the driver apps. Then you can put your time and energy into completing the ride requirements for that second platform so you will get a full New Driver Sign Up Bonus again.

Remember to drive safe and slow and to use your own discretion.  Relax.  Make it a limo service, not a taxi.

What are you waiting for?  ........... Go for it!

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