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Published on February 5th, 2017 | by Cynthia Shahan


Uber vs Lyft — What Are The Differences For Drivers? (Part 1: Introductory Process)

February 5th, 2017 by  

As some of you know, I’ve been driving a Nissan LEAF for Uber part time. I was recently encouraged to look into Lyft. Below are my initial impressions.

Editor’s Note: The writer has just begun driving for Lyft (and has been driving for Uber for several months). She will write future articles about the difference — with links to all of them at the bottom of each article. None of the articles will be comprehensive, but hopefully the overall comparison from the series will be one of the most comprehensive comparisons out there. The next article in the series will focus on $$.

Uber vs Lyft: What are the Similarities & the Differences?

Some things Uber and Lyft support quite equally are greater availability of easy, convenient, and safe travel. Both companies are saving lives by taking drivers off the road after they have been drinking or are not well enough to drive. Uber and Lyft both offer people excellent service to and from doctor appointments.

Uber and Lyft both offer professionals a means to travel with the ability to do work on route — a supplement to mass transit, which is great in some regions and inadequate in others. Phones can be answered, texts read and sent, email checked, articles written — someone else is driving.

Uber & Lyft Keep Workers Afloat, Providing Full-Time & Part-Time Jobs — Conveniently

I think Uber treats me fine — it is simply not a high-paying job. I do not have any complaints as a driver. It is the most adaptable part-time job anyone will ever have. No conflicts with other work — ever. The clientele is nice, kind, and modern/smart. I didn’t initially consider trying to drive for Lyft as well.

My daughter and I recently took Lyfts and a few Ubers in Miami. All of our experiences were good. Most Miami drivers said they drive for Uber and Lyft — or had driven for both. Most preferred to drive for Lyft.

So, I applied for a Lyft job to see the difference. This is where the differences first show up. The screening process of drivers for Uber and Lyft is similar initially, but then the experiences sharply diverge.

Initial Screening Similarities & Differences

Initially, Lyft and Uber do a good background check. Uber and Lyft check your driving record and grill you with questions regarding that — online. Uber requires several written references as well.

Uber and Lyft ask for proof of driver’s license, insurance, registration. Uber takes it online. Lyft, on the other hand, reads it in person and takes photos of all paperwork through a representative, personally.

They both contact you through a text and online once you are approved.

The Car You Drive & Big Differences with Lyft

Uber approves your car online — registration, insurance, year, make, color.

With this screening process, before you become a driver (as a potential driver), you meet person to person with a Lyft representative. The person interviews you face to face and takes your photo.

You drive the Lyft rep on a Lyft ride so he or she can evaluate your skills and safety as a driver. Your action at every light and every turn signal is tested.

The interviewer conducts a thorough inspection of your car. The Lyft rep looks over the car inside and out — approving (or not) the cleanliness and safety of the car. The Lyft rep also checks every turn signal, brake lights, and front lights to make sure each is working perfectly.

The rep explains the app as well.

Driving for Uber vs Lyft

Once you are driving, both Uber and Lyft continue to evaluate your poise, driving skills, and customer service skills. In fact, once you are driving, you are constantly being evaluated.

Uber and Lyft will then continue to encourage you to do a good job or discuss termination if there is a problem. This is all done online.

The follow-through with Lyft again seems more holistic from a human perspective, though. Lyft offers a link to driver forums in which you can interact with the Lyft driver community — as soon as you start driving and beyond. Real humans. Online, but there’s actual potential for discussion and community. Uber offers standard guidance online about all topics. I have not seen the same opportunity for interaction with the Uber driving community.

Features are similar on the dashboards of each of the apps, but with some slight differences. Uber encourages smooth acceleration and braking (which means greater efficiency and less pollution). I haven’t yet seen that with Lyft, but I’ve only done two drives, so maybe it’ll come later.

As far as the rider community, I have found 99% of riders are pleasant, safe, and professional in this short bubble of time travel together. Regardless of differences of lifestyle, each rider is intelligently choosing a new option through modern technology. They appreciate the ride and the driver.


Overall, the main difference between Uber & Lyft so far seems to be about the human touch — human interaction in the screening process, introduction period, and potentially with the driving community later on. An anthropology course could probably be written about these differences, but we’ll leave it there for now.

Related Stories:

Lyft vs Uber — What Are The Differences For Drivers? (Part 2: $$$ + Electric Range Issues & Support)

EV Advocacy & More Efficient Driving Via Uber & Lyft — A Cultural Intersection (Part 3)

Lyft Drivers To Be Some Of The First To Get Chevy Bolts

Lyft Self-Driving Cars To Handle Majority Of Lyft Rides Within 5 Years

The Convergence Of Zero-Emissions Zones, EVs, Self-Driving Tech, & On-Demand Taxi Services

Uber Launches UberOne Luxury Service In Madrid Using Tesla Model S Sedans

Uber Archives on Gas2

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About the Author

Cynthia Shahan started writing by doing research as a social cultural and sometimes medical anthropology thinker. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education. Eventually becoming an organic farmer, licensed AP, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)

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