Following up on yesterday’s post UBER is SUPER! I’ll now cover Lyft, which is a similar driving service, which I have also occasionally used. Although I’d heard of Uber as far back as 2013, I’d never heard of Lyft until this past January when I was planning to start trying Uber. My brother, who had used Uber before, suggested Lyft too. He hadn’t used it at that point, but said it’s supposed to be like Uber, so I downloaded both apps. I started using Uber and for the first 5 months I just stuck with it, since it was working so well for me. Then after 5 weeks I got an email from Lyft saying they were giving me a $50 discount, which would be applied as $5 off the fare of my first qo rides So I went ahead and used Lyft for one week (Mon-Fri, twice a day, that’s 10 rides).
It is essentially the same basic service as Uber. You open the app and request a car, they contact the nearest driver, they pick you up and take you where you want to go. And there’s two services, regular Lyft where, like Uber X, you just get whatever nearest car, and then there’s Lyft Plus, to specifically request a larger car if you’re a tall or big person or have multiple people. There are some slight, but key, differences. The most significant is that right now it’s a little more expensive than Uber, like $2-3 dollars higher fares. Not a huge difference, but when you’re on a budget that’s important. So the same 15 minute 4-mile distance that I travel twice a day which costs $6 or $7-something on Uber costs me $8 or $9-something on Lyft. So that right there is the main reason I stick with Uber, most of the time.
Of course, with that $5 discount I was getting for that first week, it came up to being cheaper than using Uber for that time. Other differences are that you can’t look up your fare as easily. You can’t look it up on the app, like you can with Uber. You can go onto the Lyft website and enter your location and destination and it will give you an estimate (for my regular route it says $9, the last time I used Lyft I was charged $9.38). In fact, with Uber you enter your location and destination before requesting a car, with Lyft you just enter you location and request a car. Then when the car is on it’s way, it tells you to enter your destination. You get a picture of your driver and his or her car, with the license plate #, and it shows you where the car is, and how long it should take to reach you. When Uber’s driver arrives, it just shows it in their app, when Lyft’s driver arrives you get a text saying your driver has arrived. Another small difference is that with both services a driver will sometimes cancel for whatever reason, but when an Uber driver cancels, the app automatically searches for a new driver to send to you. When a Lyft driver cancels, you get a text saying that your driver has canceled and telling you to go back to the app and request a new driver. Also, at the end of your ride Uber automatically charges your card the fare, with Lyft it’s not automatic. At the end of your ride the app shows you the fare and gives you the option of adding a tip, you can click on from $1-5, or you can click to skip the tip and then just pay the regular fare. If you don’t click to pay within 24 hours then your card gets charged automatically.
For the record, even with a higher fare than Uber, Lyft is still much cheaper than your average Taxi (which is usually around $20 for my daily route).
So, overall, I prefer Uber, but Lyft is a viable alternative. After that first week when my discount ran out, I went back to using Uber, but have also used Lyft from time to time for various reasons. One morning, about 7:30am on a Wednesday, I opened the Uber app and it said there were no drivers in the area, which had never happened to me before. So I opened Lyft and got a driver to take me. There was another time that I opened Uber in the morning and there was a 1.2% surge charge, so I used Lyft instead. And then there was another time where I had worked late that day and was tired and wanted to just get home as quickly as possible. When I tried Uber that evening the nearest driver was 17 minutes away so I then checked Lyft and their nearest driver was 10 minutes away, so I canceled Uber and went with Lyft.
The interesting thing is that quite a few drivers work for both companies. The very first Lyft driver I ever got, was someone who had picked me up twice before for Uber, and I’ve had a few others since then. Since I’m doing the same routes usually around the same time everyday, I get many repeat drivers. Talking to a lot of these drivers who work for these companies is enlightening. There is a lot of convenience, it’s not like a cab driver. Technically they don’t work for the companies, they’re independent contractors. So you can set your own hours and work as little or as much as you want. I’ve met different extremes. I had one Lyft driver who said she worked 14 hours a day, from 4pm to 6am, seven days a week. She said she was making several thousand a month. And I had one Uber driver who just worked 2 hours a day, from 6pm to 8pm, Monday through Friday, right after he gets off his regular job. He said he averaged around $600 a month doing that, he just did it for some extra cash. And all in between, part time drivers and full time drivers. One woman was a retired bus driver, so she was getting a pension from that, so working for Lyft was just something to keep herself busy, she said. She was used to driving, so she might as well do this. She said she worked Mon-Fri, she had one regular customer whom she picked up and drove to work at 7am and then the rest of the day she would stay on the road until she’d calculated that she’d made $100 in fares that day, which was her minimum goal, and then she’d usually stop.
Also, I’ve had a couple of drivers who were college students. This is perfect for them because they can work around their class schedules. I’ve also had a few aspiring actors and one rapper. This job is also perfect for them, because they need to be free to take off to go to auditions and performances and stuff like that, which wouldn’t be as easy with a standard 9-5 job. So there’s benefits for the drivers as well as the customers.
So, while I’m not quite as enthusiastic about it as Uber, I definitely can recommend using Lyft, when you need to get somewhere. In fact, if you’re a new user, feel free to use my referral code to get $20 off your first ride! JR087665