How driving for Lyft compares to Uber

I had my first experience driving for Lyft yesterday. I’ve tried to drive for the alternative to Uber for a while now, but I’ve never had any requests. I pulled up the app yesterday and in Rider mode – Lyft uses the same app for both rider and driver –  I saw that to get a driver to my location, it would take 16 minutes. This told me there weren’t any Lyft drivers in the Hagerstown area. I switched to Driver mode and almost immediately got a request.

Lyft vs. Uber

One thing I noticed right off the bat was that Lyft doesn’t offer its own navigation system. When choosing to navigate to your rider, Lyft asks if you want to use Google Maps or Waze. I know from driving with Uber, Waze is not an app for me. It routinely displays ads on the screen that take over the navigation window. I’ll have a passenger in the back and I’m driving to their location. Waze will suddenly display an ad for Sheetz and ask me if I want to reroute to a Sheetz located in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania to buy some French fries.

I don’t like French fries.
I don’t like going to Waynesboro or Pennsylvania.

I selected Google Maps to route me to the rider. When I got to the location, I saw a woman standing in front of the address smoking and talking on the phone. As I pulled up, she started smoking faster, as though she wanted to finish her cigarette before getting in the car. I hate when riders do this. They usually always reek of cigarette smoke and the odor tends to stay in the car long after they get out. Not only did she smell like pre-lung cancer, she was wearing a massive amount of perfume. It was like the two obnoxious smells were battling for olfactory domination. As far as I was concerned, they were both winning and I was losing.

I had to exit out of Google Maps to begin the drive. With Uber, I don’t have to do that. Since she was talking on the phone, I didn’t even try to engage in small talk. As soon as she ended the call, it sounded like she got a text. She then got another call. I normally ask passengers where they’re going but since she was busy talking and texting, I didn’t want to intrude. I decided to just allow Google Maps take me to her destination.

Big mistake.

When we were almost at her destination, I had to break my silence and ask her which side of the road she wanted to be dropped off at. The pin marking her destination was smack center in the middle of the road. She responded by telling me she didn’t know, she was new to Hagerstown. I asked her where she was going, something I should have asked at the very beginning. She told me she was going to 7-11.

We were actually heading away from the closest 7-11. I told her this and turned around. She asked if it was far. I told her that it wasn’t. About a minute later, I pulled into the parking lot at 7-11 and my very first Lyft trip was completed.

Febreeze, the rideshare driver’s best friend.

As I expected, the car still smelled of perfume and cigarettes. I opened all the windows and drove around a bit, hoping it would air out. I think that worked. I won’t know for certain until I get in the car today. It might take a heavy dosing of Febreeze to eradicate the smell entirely. It wouldn’t be the first time I had to use Febreeze because of a passenger. I should have just Febreezed the backseat last night when the day was over.

I tried to get another request for Lyft, but I didn’t get any requests. By this time it was after 5:00 PM, within the timeframe Lyft told me in a prior email demand was going to be high in western Maryland.

This morning I got an email from Lyft showing what I did yesterday.

Lyft took 25 percent. How does that compare to Uber? Here’s an Uber trip from last Thursday:

The time was about the same, but the distance was far greater. Uber took $6.10 meaning they also took 25 percent.

Conclusion

Not only was yesterday’s drive my first with Lyft, it will be my last, at least for the foreseeable future. I see no reason to drive for Lyft instead of Uber. Here in the Hagerstown area, people are much more into using Uber. It’s been here for a while now. People in Hagerstown know about Uber. I don’t think they even know that Lyft is now in Hagerstown.

The rider I got yesterday said she was new to Hagerstown. She must have been a Lyft user before coming to Hagerstown.

I don’t even want to know why she wanted to go to a 7-11 across town. There was a 7-11 much closer to where I picked her up. Since she didn’t know where the 7-11 was, I don’t think she had ever been there before.


Also published on Medium.

Author: Rick Rottman

This is my personal blog. It's where I write about things when I feel like it.

6 thoughts on “How driving for Lyft compares to Uber”

  1. The area is new to the lyft platform and as in other markets you can market for lyft and they will pay you that is the way to get new passengers.

  2. both have their own issues. One thing they have in common is that they have lousy customer service and really don’t care about the drivers.

  3. I disagree with the statement above about poor customer service. I have had multiple interactions with Lyft’s customer service as a driver for them – I always get a response within 24 hours and it is an actual response – unlike Uber who copies and pastes a response that doesn’t answer the question. Uber customer support seems to support only the rider. Lyft seems to support rider and driver – in my opinion. Lyft even implemented a couple of my suggestions for the app – I feel they’re very helpful.

    I prefer Lyfts app, their customer base seems better, all the people I talk to say they prefer Lyft, don’t mind having my GPS of choice, and who wants two separate apps for the same company on their phone.

    Lyft recently expanded to my home area and beyond so I am able to drive more without venturing off to far. (One of my suggestions, along with showing the airport que without being at the airport)

    Sounds like the person above just had a bad experience driving – and BTW – you’re in Hagerstown… not exactly a smoke free area. Also – she picked the location on the app to go – not the app. Just cause it brought her to a 7-11 further away – could have been because she picked it – or whatever Google Map search she did brought her to it.

    But overall of that – I guess it is a matter of past experiences and preferences.

    1. I disagree with the statement above about poor customer service.

      I totally agree. I’ve had to contact Lyft customer service twice now. Once to change my area from Washington DC to western Maryland and then again to change my profile pic. Both times it was effortless. I never got the impression I was conversing with a bot like I do every time I interact with Uber.

      I think the passenger entered the wrong address for the destination. I don’t think she choose to go to the closest 7-11. I think maybe someone gave her the address to 7-11 and either they or she inverted a number or two.

      I’ll have to try driving for Lyft some more. One ride is too small of a sample size to make a judgement.

  4. When it comes to passenger stains, Lucy is horrible. Twice they have denied my request to charge the driver for the stains they left behind. As lyft put it…. there is insufficient damage to change the driver. I even got sticky notes and drew an arrow pointing at the stains. They left me high and dry! The stains are clearly visible against the back drop of tan cloth.

  5. Lyft definately has great customer service. And they definately treat Drivers with respect. I stopped Driving for Uber because of their lack of such. They invited me back after unfairly suspending my account a year later. It (Uber) has definately improved. Though I think the rating system creates more problems than it helps. Actually think of it as a socialist experiment in Judging others. My ratings bounce around for no reason whatsoever. When others moods or preconceived notions determine your ability to drive/work I would say that is about as unfair as it can get. A means of social control. Considering changing to non customer related transport as this will challenge even the kindest southerner who treats everyone the same. My ratings falling for no reason only proves to me that it is the customer who doesn’t appreciate the opportunity to save. With expenses rising and rates falling, it’s not in a drivers interest to be taken advantage of. You can’t please everyone I know, but Feeling as though I need to entertain passengers on top of being respectful, safe & getting them to their destination on time, is asking a bit much! I entertained millions over my life & enjoyed every moment of it, but I won’t perform like a trained clown for anyone. Most of my passengers I will likely never see again. It’s my vehicle, I pay for the maintenance & the payment. Keep your emotional ratings to a minimum if you want a good driver! Stressing us is not an option. You’ll end up with NO GOOD DRIVERS with bad attitudes and I hear this complaint a lot! I know my worth, I’m better than nobody! I enjoy driving & most of my riders. But those who smile to my face & rate me poorly for whatever their reason is wearing thin on my patience!

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