In this article we will present a few fun facts about each of the ridesharing companies, not concentrating on in-depth details but mainly on macro facts. It's time to compare these two giants side by side and see which is better for drivers and which for passengers.
Before we begin, we just want to set some facts straight. Uber did not start ridesharing driving; it was started by Sidecar all the way back in 2002. The founder of Sidecar was clever enough to patent the concept but too dumb to follow it through. He waited nine long years before he opened up the service, but by then it was too late since Uber was already on the scene and Sidecar closed down in 2015. Which just goes to prove, it's not how clever you are or how amazing an idea you have, it how you apply it and operate it in real life and how you market it to increase your client base.
Both Uber and Lyft have their corporate headquarters in San Francisco, and it is in the State of California termed the concept TNC which stands for Transportation Network. The State termed it in 2013 to start creating rules and regulations that would apply to this specific kind of service.
Uber started in 2009 and was launched as an app in 2011, Lyft was originally known as Zimride before it reincorporated itself as Lyft in 2012.
Uber has a plain square in a broken circle in black and white, while Lyft has a pink mustache.
Uber raised so far $11 billion in Private equity since 2009.
Lyft raised so far $4 billion, $1 billion as Zimride and $3 billion as Lyft.
Uber is Global, Lyft is only found in North America.
In North America, Uber operates in 570 cities, Lyft in 475.
Uber controls 56% of the market in these cities, Lyft has 11%.
It is hard to evaluate their actual percentage of dominance since most drivers work for both companies, there are more double drivers than loyal to one company drivers.
Both companies lose money, they are not profitable, and all their income is hidden behind layers of secrecy.
Both companies are under attack with emerging competitors such as "See Jane Go" in Southern California and "Safer" in Boston. We will continue to see much more ridesharing app companies emerge, since ridesharing is basically glorified taxi and limo services, and it's only a matter of time till the saturation of local companies eats up the global and national markets on a micro level.
Uber has expanded its services to include:
- UberEspañol: This is a Spanish speaking UberX driver.
- Uber Taxi, For Hire, T, Cab: Uber lets customers use their app to hail a standard taxi service. It is available in NYC, Chicago, Seattle, and Portland
- UberWAV, user access, user assist: This is the Uber wheelchair accessible service and must be chosen when requesting a ride for a customer in a wheelchair. If you have a service dog, you do not need this category.
- UberPedal, UberBike: This is an UberX or XL car that has a bike rack. You pay an extra $5 fee.
- UberRush: This is Ubers courier service for customers, you can order a delivery of items via the app.
- UberHOP: This is similar to UberPool but is predefined by set stopping locations. You must be at the pickup area on time, and the drop-off is preset too. (A full bus service option)
- Uber Car Seat: This car comes with a baby car seat, make sure you order this option when driving with a very young child.
- UberLUX: This service is UberBlack but in LA only and provides Mercedes S Class, Tesla Model S, BMW 7-Series, etc.
- Uber for** Teens**: Uber now allows teens to ride without adult accompaniment.
Both companies vie for the market share through four identical services:
- Lyft = UberX : Standard service for up to 4 passengers
- Lyft Plus = UberXL : Extra Large Van services for up to 6 passengers
- Lyft Line = Uber Pool : The ridesharing multi-stop service
- Lyft Premier = Uber Select : The base premium luxury car service
- Lyft Lux = Uber Black : The executive and supercar service
Income differences between both companies are not so far apart, both have some differences in pay structure, but the overall income is similar.
Bonuses and incentives are similar too, and whenever one company comes out with a new service, the other one is soon to follow.
Uber and Lyft both provide car rental and leasing schemes with third-party companies.
Uber and Lyft's commercial insurance is basic and requires drivers to take out another one to make up for the missing policy coverage for period 1.
Both companies allow for app tipping, something that changed recently in Uber, ever since they introduced the 180 days of change and added in-app tipping to drivers.
Drivers can offer backseat advertising which goes away for boosting income.
Passengers can now schedule rides, while in Lyft that means actual scheduling, in Uber it just means placing a request in line and when the time comes they place the request. Lyft's scheduling wins hands down because you get a driver who accepts the ride.
While Uber's status is on shaky grounds and it needs the latest investment deal with SoftBank to succeed, they are still the larger company with larger market share. Having stated this, it does not mean that they are the stronger company. If the Softbank deal falls through, the chances that Uber will chapter 11 are high, and their race for a 2019 IPO is still too far away to help them succeed. Lyft, on the other hand, is a smaller and stronger company with a much more solid future.
Both companies are constantly in a price war, and they both try to raise prices during bad weather seasons.
Both companies have fast pay methods, Uber drivers can withdraw up to five times a day with their quick pay system, so drivers can now access their earnings immediately and without having to go through a third-party loan system.
Both companies are hidden behind closed doors since they are private companies they are not bound by stock exchange rules. So, they are less transparent. In fact, Uber is the largest privately held company in the US. Only due to Kalanick's antics and all the bad publicity Uber received during the past few years have added to the continual growing urban legends surrounding Uber.
Travis Kalanick might have passed public opinion a few times, but after five years of continuous upsets, lawsuits, sexual harassment charges, tax evasion issues, government tampering claims and hundreds of lawsuits being filed, it was obvious that these were not Uber mistakes, but a well-defined and oiled machinery of possible deceit and confusion aimed at acquiring a fast-global position and providing good looking operational numbers for private investors. At the end of the day, when a company loses $3 billion a year, people should start to ask questions.
It's always fun to compare the two companies, but Uber provides more entertainment than Lyft only due to its previous CEO's antics. Uber is the bigger of both and will continue to be bigger if it raises the $10 billion this year. Lyft will continue to progress steadily, and the chances of Lyft becoming truly profitable is closer than Uber's chances. If Lyft will provide a profit, their IPO, if they go for one would be a better investment since they would leverage the money from the IPO to go Global and put a real dent in Uber's sides.