Rideshare Dashboard Compares Driving for Uber, Lyft and Sidecar

Rideshare Dashboard is a site about everything Uber and Lyft and includes some of the best information available about Uber and Lyft from a driver’s perspective.

You can follow him on twitter @ridesharedash.

His extensive collection of ride-sharing posts is exceptional.

His post below is a comparison of Uber, Lyft and Sidecar from the perspective of a driver. He illustrates how each of the three services has pros and cons. He details why each system is different enough to co-exist, including Sidecar if there is enough demand.

Note: the information included was accurate as of May 29, 2014. The three services change their policies rapidly.

Comparison of Driving for Uber, Lyft and Sidecar

May 29, 2014

This blog post is broken out into two sections. The first section is a comparison of a few key topics between the three rideshare services. The second section highlights differences in each of the three services.

Here are some general comparisons across all three services (UberX, Lyft, Sidecar).

  • App and requesting a ride: You use their native app to request a ride. Payment is done by a credit card for all three services.
  • Fares: All three services calculate fares based on distance and time. The way they calculate is different. In my experience, fares are very similar where both Lyft and Uber operate, even though both are calculated differently. Currently for the summer of 2014, Lyft is not taking any commission on any rides and have lowered fares to match, giving all Lyft passengers 20% off their ride so in some cities, Lyft passengers can see a discount of up to 20%.
  • Fare Notification
    • Sidecar: The driver is told of the fare before the driver accepts the ride request
    • Uber: The driver is shown the fare after the ride ends.
    • Lyft: The driver is shown the fare on this daily summary the day after.
  • You can estimate your fare pretty accurately by using Google Maps to tell you distance and time and using the fare numbers to calculate it. Round this number down.
  • Cars
    • Uber: 4 doors, 2004 and newer. If you have a vehicle that can handle 6 passengers (7 including the driver), you can sign up for UberXL and make ~1.75x what a normal UberX driver makes. Only make more if you get an UberXL request.
    • Lyft: 4 doors, 2000 and newer. No feature to distinguish a regular sedan or larger vehicle that can seat 6.
    • Sidecar: 2 or 4 doors. Passenger can choose which car they get. If it is a nicer car, you may still get requests and charge more.
  • Driver Availability and ETA: Uber has many more drivers than Lyft in most cities except San Francisco so expected time of arrival (ETA) of a driver to any passenger is usually lower with Uber than it is with Lyft. It can be difficult to get a Lyft during daytime hours due to lack of drivers driving in non-busy times.
  • Driver Age: Minimum age for Uber is reportedly 23 while it is only 21 for Lyft and Sidecar.
  • Insurance: Uber and Lyft has insurance policy to protect the driver and passenger whenever the Driver is in “driver mode.” Sidecar only covers for when you accept a passenger request. See more information on this link: Uber and Lyft Insurance Policy

Here are some specific breakouts of the three different rideshare services that distinguishes them from the other from a driver’s perspective.

Lyft (Friend with a car)
There isn’t as much opportunity to make money driving, but there are many other ways to make money. If you are a good enough driver, you will be invited to be a mentor which can boost your weekly income. The driver community is amazing and drivers tend to help one another and watch out for each other. It is also great to see the transition from new driver to seasoned driver to mentor.

The passengers also tend to be nicer, friendlier and more talkative than Uber passengers. Many Lyft passengers say the same about the drivers. Also, passengers have the ability to tip but they can’t on Uber (except on UberTaxi).

  • Drivers and cars are evaluated by mentors
    • New Mentor Summaries have driven mentors to keep a watchful eye on their mentees and form a help system for some new drivers.
  • Leverages Facebook to build a driver “community”
  • Pink mustache
  • $1M insurance policy on drivers, covers drivers when they have app on
  • Prime Time Tips (PTT) during busy times.
  • Drivers do not know destination and cost of ride before the trip.
  • Drivers do not see the amount of PTT of the request.
  • Good driver referral and signup bonuses.
  • Currently in 60 US cities (As of April 2014)
  • Drivers in some markets may need to reserve hours ahead of time to prevent from getting locked out of the system.
  • Payments are via registered credit card and called “donations”
    • Riders who don’t pay enough get culled.
    • Some markets, like Boston and LA have minimum fares to ensure driver payment
    • Allows for passengers to tip.

UberX (Your Personal Driver)

You have the biggest potential to earn money on UberX but beware of stiff competition as there are many other drivers out there in almost any market. At times there can be high surge pricing which may be very lucrative. However, most of the time, there are just too many drivers. Also beware of the $10 weekly Uber Phone fee, which had many drivers quit Uber and join Lyft. Uber local support generally replies faster than Lyft support in SF, but the Uber representative helpfulness leaves something to be desired. At times, it can be difficult to get your hourly guarantee.

  • The UberX driver application is easy, submit documents, pick up phone at local Uber office and drive. No Uber personnel checked out my car.
  • Publishes standard rates for four different levels of driver (UberX, Uber XL, UberBlack, UberSUV, UberTaxi).
  • Minimum $5 + variable based on miles and speed and city. Rates for limos are 50-70% higher than taxis.
  • Surge pricing during busy times.
  • Drivers do not know destination and cost of ride before the trip.
  • Drivers can see the amount of surge pricing of the request.
  • There can be weekend promotions guaranteeing weekly minimum salaries (up to $40/hr for existing drivers)
  • Most generous signup bonus if you are a Lyft Driver.
    • Referral bonus is the most generous, but Lyft has recently matched the Uber’s Referral program.
  • In 59 US cities, 117 cities worldwide, 36 countries (as of May 2014)
  • $1M insurance policy on drivers, covers drivers when they have app on
  • UberTaxi adds a 20% tip automatically. Cannot tip on any other service
  • Recruits drivers, accepts applications anywhere, but doesn’t launch immediately.

Sidecar is best for when you don’t want to drive too much and want to earn a bit of money. If you are driving around town anyway, you can earn a bit of money driving people around. In most markets, Sidecar isn’t used often so you’re requests will be far and few in between. However, if this is your only app, don’t expect to be really busy unless you are in a more Sidecar popular market like SF or LA. It is also good to run this app beside Lyft and Uber and set your minimum fare high so you can earn a bit extra compared to just doing Lyft and/or Uber.

The biggest draw for some is that the minimum driver age for Sidecar is 21 (need to have a license for a year before signup), versus Lyft and Uber at 23.

  • Short phone interview and approved.
  • Riders who don’t pay enough get culled.
    • There is a way for passengers not to pay for the ride. However, after two weeks, drivers get reimbursed for the ride for the full amount directly from Sidecar.
  • Drivers know where the passenger is going and the amount they will get for the ride.
  • Can use a 2 door car for Sidecar (Lyft and Uber require 4 doors).
  • Can only get requested if ride is above a certain minimum fare and fare multiplier you set.
  • Sidecar Insurance only covers drivers for when they are in the middle of a ride request.
  • Currently in 8 US cities (as of May 2014)
  • Yelper: “drivers are leaving Lyft for Sidecar or Uber so that they don’t have to set their schedules in advance.”

(Part of the above list was taken from http://www.quora.com/Ride-Sharing-Company-Comparisons/Which-is-better-and-why-Lyft-or-SideCar written by Jim Morris, Professor of Computer Science at CMU in Pittsburgh)

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