One of the most common questions passengers ask — right after “How long have you been driving for Lyft?” — is whether I drive only for Lyft, or both Uber and Lyft. (I only do the latter.)
However, being an inquisitive ex-journalist, it gives me the chance to turn the question around. Do they use both Uber and Lyft? And since they have a choice, why did they choose Lyft today?
After informally polling a few dozen riders on the topic, here are their top 5 reasons. It’s all subjective and unscientific, of course, but perception is reality.
- Lyft is now cheaper than Uber. It wasn’t in the past, but people who compare both apps before making a ride request tell me it is.
- Lyft drivers are nicer/more respectful and their cars are nicer. Totally subjective, of course, but I hear this one over and over. Do nicer drivers with better cars self-select themselves to drive for Lyft? Possibly … Hey, I certainly did!
- Promotions get Uber users to download the Lyft app and give it a try, and then they stick with it out of habit. After having some good experiences with Lyft, getting familiar with the app and Lyft’s quick pick-up times, they keep coming back.
- Once they come over to the Pink Side, Lyft frequently sends out discounts to its regular riders to build loyalty. By the way, if you use one of these promos it doesn’t affect the driver’s pay. Lyft absorbs any discount (thankfully).
- Finally, Uber has been in the news A LOT in the past two years — and not for the right reasons. Their founder was ousted as CEO after questionable behaviors … the #DeleteUber campaign related to airport protests during Trump’s first Muslim ban was effective … accusations of a culture of sexual harassment at the company … accusations that Uber stole some of its self-driving car technology from Google-owned Waymo … and finally, a self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. (When I drive past the exact spot with a Lyft passenger, which happens, I always like to drop that into the conversation. Call me morbid.)
You can read a nice roundup of Uber’s troubles here. The reputation thing got to the point where Uber recently launched a major public relations effort aimed at changing the negative perception, including this video.
Meanwhile, Lyft keeps quietly plugging away, working to steal market share. Don’t let the pink motif fool you. Like any good UFC fighter, Lyft knows when its competition is on the canvas. And it’s not afraid to engage in a little ground-and-pound.
If you’re inspired to give Lyft driving a try, make sure to use a driver referral bonus when you first fill out the application. Use code MIKE17396 and we will both enjoy a bonus for rides you give during your first month. You don’t need to drive in Phoenix for the code to work.