The Uber and Lyft apps
Uber's much less transparent pricing system makes it difficult to determine the cost of certain trips compared to Lyft. And so much about the final price depends on where you're at a certain date on a given date and how many Uber or Lyft riders are traveling nearby. This type of calculation does not make it easier to understand which service will save you more money.
However, there are some good rules of thumb that can help you achieve the best possible rate, especially if you drive frequently. It is also helpful to know how the services work so that you are well informed when choosing to drive. Here you will find everything you need to know about the possibilities of Lyft and Uber to save money. (For the final breakdown, go to the end.)
How the Uber and Lyft Prices Work
Lyft and Uber split the travel fees based on the base price, distance, duration of the journey and a fixed service or booking fee. Prices may change depending on demand and traffic for both services, making it difficult to determine the cheapest prices. For example, if there are fewer drivers in a busy time, one of the two apps may be more expensive and even charge 1.5 times the normal price during peak hours.
Best tip : Download both the Uber and the Lyft apps on your phone and compare the price at the desired time. It only takes a few seconds to save money. The further you drive, the more you can save if you compare them at the same time.
As an example, Uber estimates an 8-minute trip on a Thursday in Louisville, Kentucky (where I live) at 2:00 pm would cost at least $ 7.20. It is important to know that the minimum cost of each Uber trip is a flat fee that is added to each trip.
One and a half hours later I took a Uber for lunch and a Lyft to the office for a field test of prices. The traffic was the same as the duration of my journey. This is in no way a comparison between apples, but I wanted to see if there is a big price difference:
Uber vs. Lyft: Field Test Drive
|Base Price||1.00 USD||$ 1.00|
|distance||$ 2.97||$ 2.92|
|Time||$ 1.08||$ 1.30|
|booking fee||$ 2.75||$ 2.75|
|Total||$ 7.80||$ 7.97|
For my trip, the basic rates of Lyft and Uber were $ 1 each. Uber's cost per minute was 22 cents higher than Lyft's, but Lyft's cost per mile was five cents lower than Uber's. I also gave both drivers a $ 2 tip. On another day, these prices could be slightly reversed at a specific time at a particular intersection, depending on driver demand and driver availability.
The only thing you can really say about it is that the moment you greet a Uber or Lyft, you can get in for $ 7.50 to $ 10, even if you only drive three blocks.
Split rides save money, but there's a catch
Both Uber and Lyft offer shared rides that connect you to another passenger with similar pickup locations and destinations. You can set up a carpool of up to two people, and basically you're sharing travel expenses, but again you're based on complicated algorithms that include the time of day and all of that.
In some cases a shared trip costs half the price of a private car; at other times there is little difference.
Tip: Savvy drivers welcome a ride together when they're not in a hurry. If the driver does not pick up an extra passenger, you have just completed a single ride for the price of a carpool.
Split trips can take longer, and time can add up when the driver picks up a passenger. They are on the road, especially on long trips. You also have no control over your delivery priority. So take a lot of time, for example, to drive to the airport.
UberPool was unavailable for my field test when I took a second for lunch time to test these services specifically for me. Google Maps charged a ride from Union Square in California to San Francisco International Airport for a Wednesday at 2:30 pm, 20km long and 21 minutes long.
While it's theoretically a bit cheaper or less complicated to travel together with Uber, you should still compare both services at the same time to find out which ones will cost you less on that day and at that time.
Tipping: Over Profits on Flexibility
Uber and Lyft both recommend driver tips with suggestions for a monetary amount (eg, 1 USD, 3 USD) or a percentage (eg, 15%, 18%), depending on the final price of the journey.
But Uber gives you much more flexibility in terms of the extra cost you pay. While Lyft adds tips only in dollar increments in our many trips, you can use Uber to pay any amount you want, from a penny tip (but do not) to a specific target like $ 5.15 or more likely $ 5.50 ,
With Uber you can also share tips with another driver. These concessions give you more control over your total spend, which means you do not have to feel like giving too much if the right amount for you is anywhere in between the dollar increment (especially on short trips). Lyft used to approve this, but removed the option in 2018.
Both companies give drivers 100% of the tip and allow them to add extra money up to 72 hours after the ride is over.
If you want more control over tipping, Uber will save you the most money if you want to thank your driver on your own terms.
Subscriptions save you money when driving a lot.
Uber and Lyft both have subscriptions for frequent travelers, and trust us, it's worth reading the fine print.
Uber's Dull Ride Pass Saves 15% on Travel
The Uber Ride Pass subscription service for UberX and Uber Pool promises to "consistently" save you money on every journey, regardless of traffic, weather or time of day. Uber said you could save up to 15%, but that number could vary, and it's not clear if you're mostly hovering around 10% or closer to 15%. This is unpleasantly vague to our liking, especially since the Ride Pass costs $ 25 per month.
One advantage, however, is that prices may not rise due to, for example, a traffic jam or an unusual snowstorm. If the trip costs $ 20 at the time of booking, you pay regardless of how much you pay.
Price protection, as Uber calls this benefit, is already available to Uber Rewards members with platinum status, but covers only two routes, such as your morning commute and home travel. The ticket price protects every ride for subscribers.
The Pass allows you to use Jump E-Bikes and Scooters for free in your city for 30 minutes. This is a nice bonus if you cover a short distance and do not want to bother praising a ride, but Uber says it's a time-limited offer without telling the limit (the offer is still running) at the time of writing ).
Lyft's Subscription Plans Demonstrate Savings
Lyft has more subscription plans than Uber, giving drivers more options if they do not call every day. The following graphic shows Lyft's plan from head to head. Full details under the table.
Monthly Lyft Plans
|Lyft Smart Savings||Lyft All Access (Beginner)||Lyft All Access (Premium)|
|Costs||$ 15 a month||$ 189||$ 299 per month|
|What you get||10% discount on every ride, unlimited||30 trips, up to 8 USD each way||30 trips, up to $ 15 per trip|
|How much you spend or drive to break even||$ 150 per month||Average $ 6.30 per trip per month||An average of $ 10 per trip per month|
Lyft Smart Savings Plan ($ 15 per month)
- This is the cheapest Lyft subscription plan if you make fewer than 34 trips over a 30-day period.
- Unlimited rides.
Lyft All Access Plan (189 USD)
- 189 USD for 30 monthly trips.
- Up to $ 8 off per ride.
- If your trip costs more than $ 8, you only pay the excess.
- If you consume your 30 trips before the end of the month, Lyft deducts 5% on all subsequent trips this month.
- Better for short trips.
Lyft All Access Plan (299 USD))
- $ 299 for 30 monthly trips
- Up to $ 15 per trip.
- If your trip costs more than $ 15, you only pay more.
- If you book your 30 rides before the end of the month, Lyft will grant a 5% discount on all additional rides you make this month.
- Best for longer trips.
More Plans by Lyft
Lyft also offers a shuttle schedule and a personal plan that differ from the Smart Savings and All Access plans. The shuttle plan applies to the addresses that you have saved as a place of residence and work. The personal plan applies to the specified pickup and return points selected at the time of your ride.
According to Lyft, each plan can cost between $ 2 and $ 10, depending on the route. The plans are also available by invitation only. We did not know what qualified a driver for this plan or who sent the invitations.
You can save money in points with the Uber Cash Rewards program.
The free Uber Membership Program gives you points for rides and Uber Eats orders that add up to Uber Cash. You do not save money on your bill, as with these other programs, but you can collect part of your expenses in other ways. With Uber Cash, you also get a 5% discount on the money you add to your balance, and the credit never expires.
With various Uber rates, you earn several points:
- UberPool, Express Pool, Uber Eats: 1 point per dollar
- UberX, UberXL and selected journeys: 2 points per dollar
- Over Black and Black SUV : 3 Points Per Dollar
For every 500 points, you receive $ 5 in Uber Cash and can use two of these rewards at once. Other rewards include price protection, free upgrades, free delivery for three Uber Eats orders, and more.
No points will be credited for the following:
- Tipping for driver or deliveries
- Payment of cancellation fees
- Partial journeys paid by another driver under a partial tariff  Damage or cleaning fees
- Uber Buy Cash, Credits, or Ride Passes Directly
- Taxi, Bike, and Scooter Rides
Gift Cards and Referrals
Lyft offers digital gift cards that you can e-mail to friends and relatives for $ 10, $ 25 , $ 50, $ 100 or a custom amount. The Carpool offers special offers that allow you to lower your fare by a certain percentage, fixed discounts and ways to pay a flat rate for your trip. You can enable text notifications in your notification settings to be notified of these discounts and promotions. If you have added your email address, Lyft should also send the promos there. The company also offers a free coupon code for new users.
In addition, Lyft collaborated with World Elite Mastercard. If you're a registered cardholder, you can earn $ 10 a month for five trips a month. The credits are valid for 30 days.
Frequent drivers can make the most of subscriptions, while savvy drivers can drop a few dollars here and there by strategically using referrals.
Lyft : If a If a friend signs up with your special referral code, you will receive a $ 10 credit. If you recommend a driver and they sign up with your referral code, you will receive $ 250 in credit after doing 165 trips in the first 60 days.
About : When a friend signs up for Uber with their Referral Code, they will receive $ 5 off a ride. If you sign up and use a friend's invitation code, you'll receive $ 2 for your first three trips.
What saves you the most money overall?
Uber and Lyft are likely to be on a par with each other on a ride-to-ride basis for most urban locations, and the actual savings are often made on a case-by-case basis due to factors beyond your control. In some areas you may have the choice between one or none. Our best bet, to save money on occasional single trips and shared trips, is to compare the price for both apps a few minutes before the start of the journey.
If you're a frequent driver, you can save more money with Lyft's subscriptions, as there are more and more flexible options.
If you only drive with Uber, the daily subscription subscription service is still a breeze. We also like the ability to share fares with another driver, and with Uber Cash, who puts savings back in his pocket as long as you spend them on Uber. However, without further information on how much you actually save, it is difficult to make a recommendation for people who are open to both services.
Originally published on June 9, 2019. Update, June 10, June 23, 09:00, PT .