Uber Rideshare Questions

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Rideshare Preference

Since it's available in more areas and thus more convenient, both drivers and riders tend to use Uber by default. However, Lyft has much higher driver satisfaction rates, higher driver average and median earnings, and greater customer loyalty among those who primarily drive for and ride with that service -- Lyft also has a more positive public brand perception than Uber. In areas where both services are available, those factors can push riders to choose Lyft over Uber. Read on for my full rundown of this information!


While the US rideshare market is more than just Uber and Lyft, the vast majority of the sources I found only deal with head-to-head comparisons of those two companies. These two are the far-and-away leaders of the market, so my comparison of driver and rider preferences is focused on them. Many of the sources I found also dip into market share, and the two issues are somewhat related, but I tried to focus as much as I could on the reasons that both drivers and passengers might choose one service over the other.


Drivers in a survey run by HyreCar reported preferring Lyft to Uber, even though they often got more Uber passengers than Lyft (meaning more earnings from Uber). And while Uber's onboarding process at the time was smoother than Lyft's, some drivers expressed more appreciation of the personalized, involved onboarding for Lyft. Lyft also has a general reputation for being friendlier to drivers, which Uber doesn't necessarily have.

Lyft also (as of July 2017) had higher average and median per-month driver earnings than Uber -- Lyft drivers averaged $377/month with a median of $210, while Uber drivers averaged $364 with a median of just $155. Another survey also put Lyft's driver earnings higher, at over $17 an hour as opposed to roughly $15 with Uber. Part of that discrepancy is likely due to the fact that Lyft drivers could earn tips at the time, while Uber drivers couldn't -- Uber's introduction of tipping may have tipped the scales back in their favor, but I couldn't find a more recent survey to confirm that fact.

Among drivers that primarily drive for one or the other company, Lyft has much higher satisfaction ratings -- in another survey, over 75% of Lyft drivers reported satisfaction with their experience, while only 49.4% of Uber drivers polled were satisfied with their experience. However, 75% of the drivers polled in that survey were primarily Uber drivers, and among all drivers polled, 46% preferred to drive for Uber against 41% who preferred Lyft. Ultimately, drivers tend to use the app that gets them more rides in less time -- Uber has far greater market penetration at this point, so the cycle reinforces itself as more riders sign up and create demand for more drivers.


Like drivers, passengers tend to prefer the app that offers them more convenient rides -- convenience is an even greater determinant of preference than price according to a McKinsey report. In general, that's Uber -- since they have much greater market penetration, rides are more available and thus more convenient in more geographies. Beyond that, though, both rideshare services are generally comparable -- they have similar speediness, pricing, and app functionality -- so in areas where customers have a choice, rider preference comes down to personal reasons and brand perception.

In those areas, Lyft generally wins out. Lyft is perceived as a much friendlier, more approachable brand (and was perceived as such even before Uber's series of scandals throughout 2017). Uber's brand perception has traditionally been more upscale and business-focused, compared to the "image of community and friendliness" associated with Lyft. Uber's brand image has also taken a hit when it comes to rider safety -- Who's Driving You, a website that lists dangerous or fatal incidents with rideshare drivers, lists far more events involving Uber drivers than Lyft drivers.

Lyft also has higher loyalty among customers that use the service -- an Ipsos survey found that 78% of all Lyft passengers would recommend the service to a friend, and 97% of recent (within 6 months) Lyft passengers would recommend it. Lyft also beat Uber in The Brand Keys' customer loyalty study, meaning previous Lyft customers were more likely to be repeat users of the service in the future.


Both drivers and passengers ultimately prefer the app that gets them a ride the quickest -- in most cases, that's Uber. However, drivers who primarily drive for Lyft have higher earning potential and much higher satisfaction rates compared to those who primarily drive for Uber. Passengers also have higher loyalty to and more positive brand perception of Lyft compared to Uber, whose image has been tainted by safety issues and scandals in recent history.
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Uber vs. Other Rideshare Organizations

Uber has lost drastic amounts of market share since rideshare company Lyft entered the market in 2012. While there are other rideshare companies in the market, their shares are minuscule in comparison to Lyft and Uber. Uber's loss of market share is heavily due to public relation issues over the past year. Below you will find a breakdown of how much of the market Uber has lost through different events over the past year, and how much of the market Uber is estimated to currently have.

General Market Share Estimates

Between the beginning of 2014 and August 2017, Uber went from owning 91% of the U.S. rideshare market to owning 74.3%. This decrease in market share is due primarily to a number of public relation and marketing factors between Uber and Lyft. In general, Uber riders take approximately 40 trips per year; Lyft riders take around 50 trips per year. This correlates to an average of $15.75 per trip through Uber and $17.90 per trip through Lyft. Although Lyft is slightly more expensive than Uber, the company is still providing more trips per user over a year than Uber due to their growing popularity. Between 2017 and 2018, the preference for Lyft has grown from 10% to 18%.

Sexual Harassment Claims Against Uber

In February 2017, previous Uber engineer Susan Fowler posted to the public her claims about being sexually harassed by a manager at Uber. This was the first of many public relation scandals that began the decrease in popularity of Uber. Her public address of sexism while working with Uber led to a decrease in market share of Uber, from 78.8% to 75.3% between the time of her posting and June 2017.

Change in CEO

In June 2017, Uber Co-Founder and CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down from his position in the company. This change followed a videotaped "hissy fit" of Kalanick being released to the public, which represented a bad, immoral image of Uber. In the time following the release of the video, Lyft rose in market shares from 21.2% to 34.7%, as users questioned the business practices and workplace cultures of Uber.

#deleteUber Campaign

During the Presidential Campaign in 2017, taxi and rideshare companies across the nation boycotted against Donald Trump's Muslim travel ban, shutting down all services during this time. This boycott even included the NYC Taxi Union, but Uber continued to operate during this time. Because Uber ignored the boycott for revenue purposes, customers used the hashtag #deleteUber to protest the rideshare company. The time during which the boycott and #deleteUber campaign were taking place resulted in a market share loss for Uber from 81% to 76%. Lyft also saw a 60% increase in customer usage during the #deleteUber campaign.

Public Perceptions of Uber

After all of the discrepancies and public relation disasters revolving around Uber, public perceptions of the company changed heavily. Of all of Uber's current users, approximately 80% of them say that they are aware of the previously stated scandals. In acknowledgment of such information, negative opinions of Uber have increased from 9% to 27% since the beginning of 2017. 26% of current Uber customers claim that they are seeking out other options for rideshare programs. However, only around 4% have fully switched to another company.

Lyft: Customer & Driver Satisfaction

Due to the heavy negative connotations associated with Uber over the past year, Lyft has grown tremendously in popularity with the rideshare community. A large portion of this growth is also due to the public perception of the company on its own, as they work to provide a "better" rideshare experience for both drivers and riders. For example, Lyft markets to their riders by saying, "It Matters How You Get There" to promote a better riding experience compared to other rideshare companies. In a survey completed in January 2017 by The Rideshare Guy, 75.8% of participants (1,518 total people) claimed that they are "somewhat" or "strongly" satisfied driving for Lyft, while only 49.4% said the same for Uber. Furthermore, when Uber announced to the public in June 2017 that users could tip drivers through the mobile app, Lyft had a strong comeback, stating that riders have been able to tip through the app for around 5 years already.

Google Waymo Sued Uber

The suspected theft of information about driverless cars from Google Waymo to Uber is still an ongoing process today. It is speculated that Anthony Levandowski, who used to work for Waymo, stole around 14,000 files about driverless cars, suppliers and manufacturing/technical details from Google Waymo. With original intentions to start his own driverless truck business, Uber bought out Levandowski and his stolen information. Approximately 9.7 gigabytes of files were stolen from Waymo, putting the company back significantly in the rideshare market. No specific statistics are currently available on the effects of this case, but if it ends poorly, it could likely have detrimental outcomes for Uber, just like the previously stated scandals did.


Prior to the public relation issues above, only 13% of prospective Uber users said that they were unlikely to use the rideshare company. However, after 2017, this number has risen to 32% unwilling to try Uber. Uber is primarily losing their market share to Lyft, and although Uber is still the main contender in the rideshare market today, the company has seen a rapid decrease in popularity from scandals in the past year.