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Uber and Lyft comparison in Houston

HOUSTON – Lyft has returned to Houston and that means another choices for Houston’s ride-sharing crowd.

So how does Lyft stack up to its biggest competitor, Uber? Booking, price, and user experience are just some of the things to consider. With information from Digital Trends and Ridester.com, check out a comparison:

Booking

  • Both Uber and Lyft rely on location-based data
  • Both Uber and Lyft work like Google Maps with street addresses or points of interest.
  • When you have a destination, the apps will estimate your ride cost based on the service you choose, the time of day, and how far you’re going.
  • Both Uber and Lyft will also give you an estimate of how long it will take for your driver to arrive at the designated pickup spot.
  • Lyft offers a dropoff/pickup option and also to schedule for a later pickup
  • Uber’s differentiator is an estimate of your arrival time before you ever hit “go.” Lyft won’t give you an ETA until you request your ride.
  • After you request a pickup, both Uber and Lyft show a real-time visual of your driver’s progress to your location.

Price

  • Both Uber and Lyft offer discounts: Lyft: Earn $5 credits for each friend you refer, up to $500, with your personal invite code. Uber: Friends get $5 off each of your next four rides when they start riding and use your personalized code.
  • Both have fare estimate functions: Uber Fare EstimateLyft Fare Estimate
  • Both companies have higher prices at certain times. Uber calls it "surge" and Lyft calls it "Prime Time."

Here’s the standard pricing structure for each app:

Uber has a broader range of services (vehicle types). Here’s how they work:

  • UberPool Share your ride with someone heading in the same direction and split the cost (cheapest option).
  • UberX Book an everyday car with seating for four.
  • UberXL Book an everyday vehicle with seating for six.
  • UberSelect Book a more premium vehicle with seating for four (cheaper  than UberBlack).
  • UberBlack Uber’s original service composed of black livery vehicles that seat four.
  • UberSUV Book a premium SUV with seating for six.

Lyft has a growing set of choices:

  • Lyft Line Share your ride with someone heading in the same direction and split the cost (cheapest option).
  • Lyft Lyft Book an everyday car with seating for four.
  • Lyft Plus Book an everyday vehicle with seating for six.
  • Lyft Premier Book a more premium vehicle with seating for four.
  • Lux is a luxurious ride experience - a four-seat black car.
  • Lux SUV is a luxurious ride experience in a black SUV with six seats.

KPRC2 tried out the services in a very limited test -- Here's what we found for a ride from our headquarters at 8181 Southwest Freeway to NRG Stadium:

  • Lyft Plus - Seats 6, Minimum $6.00, Base fare $2.00, Per mile $1.75, Per minute $0.25, $2.30 service fee added to all rides -- Ride requested from 8181 Southwest Freeway to NRG at 3:39 p.m. -- Vehicle not available
  • Uber XL - Seats 6, Base Fare $2, Booking Fee $2.30, Minimum fare $8.30, Per minute $0.25, Per mile $1.75 -- Ride requested from 8181 Southwest Freeway to NRG at 3:39 p.m. $30.12

User Experience

  • If you don’t show up for your ride, Uber and Lyft drivers will wait five minutes before they’re allowed to cancel the ride.
  • Uber begins billing the passenger (per minute) after just two minutes of wait time. Lyft will wait until either the driver cancels or the passenger has buckled up to “start the meter.”
  • Lyft has encouraged passengers to ride shotgun if the seat is available. Most Uber passengers file into the rear seats. Also, Uber drivers tend not to start talking unless the passenger initiates a conversation.
  • Both Uber and Lyft require credit card information to be stored in the app. Once you reach the destination, you’re free to leave.
  • Lyft and Uber app users are asked to rate your driver on a scale of 1 to 5 and offer feedback.
  • Lyft, unlike Uber allows in-app tipping. If you use Uber, you should give a cash tip before exiting the car.
  • Uber and Lyft drivers also have an opportunity to rate their passengers. Both driver and rider ratings are visible from the moment a ride is requested.
  • If you have questions or concerns about a trip, both Uber and Lyft will direct you to a FAQ section and an email for further assistance.
  • Neither app provides a phone number or chat service for customer inquiries.