By Jessica Lawson
Over the past five years, rideshare services have become available almost anywhere in the United States. Ridesharing services allow people to request a one-time ride within a short amount of time. Many services have popped up, but none as prominent as Uber and Lyft. Uber began in 2009, and Lyft followed shortly after in 2012. Both companies have exploded in the rideshare scene and are accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a credit card. Uber and Lyft each have their own respective app that allows for users to hail a car and choose the size of the car they want to take.
Private rides are available as well as pool options. Pooling is the same idea as a carpool, where multiple parties going towards a similar location are in the same car for a cheaper rate. In Uber, this feature is called UberPool and in Lyft, Lyft Line. Users tend to prefer Lyft Line as it is more organized in ensuring passengers are going along related routes in the shortest amount of time possible. There have been complaints regarding UberPool taking passengers all over the city to make drop-offs, significantly increasing the trip times for users. However, the price is prefixed for users and does not change, no matter how long the trip might actually take compared to the approximated time.
Uber and Lyft are extremely competitive with one another, especially with price. Both companies charge similarly for their service. The price is decided based on an initial fee of one dollar for the ride, plus one dollar and fifty cents per mile and an additional twenty-five cents per minute. For Uber, tips are not a feature on the app, while Lyft hopes users will tip the drivers in addition to the cost of the ride. Both Uber and Lyft utilize surges, which are price increases in areas with high-demand for ridesharing services. In addition to surges for high-demand, prices also increase in heavily populated areas. A ride in New York City or Los Angeles is going to cost more than a ride in Columbia, Maryland.
It is also important to know that while both of the companies are available in the big cities, there are areas not covered. For example, Lyft is not available in the Glenelg area, while Uber is. As a whole, Uber is a larger company with ridesharing available in cities worldwide, while Lyft is still only in relatively large cities in the United States.
Each company is respected and used daily nationwide. Uber and Lyft maintain competitive prices and deals, but when it comes to availability, sometimes one is not always accessible. In the Howard County area, Uber is the best choice based simply on availability. However, in major cities, either company is a viable option for users looking for a ride in a clean vehicle.