Is Uber or Lyft Cheaper & How to Save $$$ on Both

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When it comes to the rideshare industry, there are so many players nowadays.  It’s more difficult to figure out which is the best deal.

While there are now many smaller companies offering rides, Uber and Lyft remain the heavy hitters.

These original industry disrupters each have different offerings, so there are some comparisons to be made.

You may ask…

Is Lyft cheaper than Uber?  Or vice versa.  Don’t worry, we’re here to break it down for you.


We’ve got some tips & tricks to help you save some dough no matter which way you decide to go.

Is Lyft Cheaper Than Uber?

Overall, yes, Lyft does tend to be cheaper than Uber.

This can vary, however, depending on the city, whether or not higher-demand pricing is in effect (Surge Pricing or Prime Time), and whether or not you have a membership or some type of promotion at the time, among other factors.

No matter what, you’re probably looking for the best deal when choosing your rideshare app.

Of course.  You want the biggest bang for your buck.

Is Lyft Cheaper Than Uber?

There are many smaller apps out there besides these ones, of course.  Uber and Lyft offer comparable prices with multiple options depending on your needs.

Uber/Lyft Pricing Structures

When it comes to Lyft vs. Uber cost, you have two factors to look at:  cost per minute and cost per mile. Each of these ridesharing services have different base rates, so your final cost comparison could also depend on how long your ride is.

Let’s take a look at standard base rates for each rideshare service to see how they measure up to one another.

Pricing Per Minute & Pricing Per Mile

When it comes to price per minute, Lyft is cheaper.  They charge a base rate of $0.09 per minute compared to Uber’s $0.13.

These comparisons show the difference between their economy offerings, the standard Lyft and UberX, respectively.  These base rates increase with their bigger, more luxurious service options.  For example, the starting amount will be greater for an Uber Black town car than a different type of car service.

For prices per mile, Lyft edges out Uber as well.  Their $0.90 per mile charge weighs in just slightly below Uber’s $1.00 rate.

These costs are also comparisons between the standard Lyft and UberX.  Base prices will increase from these initial rates, such as with a Lyft XL or Premier.

Overall Pricing

So, if Lyft is cheaper per minute and per mile, does that mean that Lyft is cheaper than Uber?

Not necessarily.

In many cases, yes.  However, this will actually depend on the length of your ride.  Uber’s initial base rates are actually less than those of Lyft, with beginning charges of $0.40 and $0.90, respectively.

This means if you’re taking a shorter ride, most likely Uber will be cheaper.  As the ride length increases, you’re more likely to pay more with Uber thanks to their higher per mile and per minute fees.

This, of course, does depend on the type of ride you’ve chosen and whether or not you’re riding during busier times (higher base prices).

Is Lyft Line Cheaper Than Uber Pool?

What about when you’re looking for a shared ride?

Each of these rideshare titans has a popular carpooling option for their most economical ride offering.  Lyft offers Lyft Shared (previously known as Lyft Line), whereas Uber offers Uber Pool.

Then what’s the deal?

Both are similar in the sense that you share a ride with other passengers to share the cost.  Lyft also offers and even lower-cost option called Lyft Shared Saver. [1]

This alternative allows the rider to walk (up to 5 minutes) to be in the driver’s direct route for an even lower fare.  Uber offers a nearly identical feature for riders called Uber Express Pool.

So, which fares are cheaper?

Both services are comparable in price (specifically with their base fares), so it really comes down to preference.

Lyft and Uber Surge Pricing

When ride demand increases, availability decreases.

Time frames with higher demand can cause higher ride costs for most ride options.  This is true for both ride-hailing giants and each company establishes higher costs during these times.

Uber Surge pricing and Lyft Prime Time are in essence the same, with some key differences.  To start with, we’ll look at their price differences.

For a customer, the scales tip in the favor of Lyft in this case.  Uber Surge prices are known to increase your fare up to 7x or 8x, especially around larger cities.

And Lyft?

Their customers experience an increase on average of only 2x higher than usual.  These increases are based on the disparity between the number of rides being requested and the number of Uber or Lyft drivers available at the time.

Uber vs. Lyft Pricing in Specific Locations

With a good customer base within each platform, are their specific differences in price from city to city?

Yes and no.  Different cities will have different demands, different availability, and different specific rush hour times. [2]

So if you’re in a big city such as New York City (or other cities around New York), Los Angeles, San Francisco (or other Silicon Valley cities), Washington, D.C., San Diego, Las Vegas, Chicago, Boston, etc., you may end up facing higher overall costs.

Smaller cities just simply don’t face the same supply/demand and logistical (traffic) challenges.

That being said, we have a ton of pointers for how to make your rides cheaper no matter where you live or which type of ride you like to take!

Even a prime time ride into downtown San Francisco can be cheaper (or even free!) if you employ the right methods offered to you.

How to Make Uber or Lyft Cheaper

So…you’ve been told that prices can vary based on time & availability, but are generally comparable.  Which rideshare app should you use then?

How to Make Uber or Lyft Cheaper

During excessively busy times, Lyft is a less expensive option to take when available.

Are you wondering how to make the fee cheaper no matter which ride you decide to take?

New User Promotions

Of course, if you’re a new user to either of these two companies, you can save the most.

Both the Uber app and the Lyft app let you use promo codes.  This way, you can get to know the service and gain access to their variety of features to see if you like it.

It’s a great business model for any city, allowing potential customers to see what it’s all about.  Lyft and Uber also offer refer-a-friend programs that find price savings for their customers.

Existing User Options

What if you’re already a current user of both Uber and Lyft?  Well, you won’t be able to take advantage of a new user promo code; that one is for your first trip only.

That being said, there are still options for you to earn discounts.  Take a peek at our full guides for both Lyft existing users and Uber existing users for a full breakdown of options.

Freebird Rides App

Whether you’re a new or existing Uber and/or Lyft user, you can utilize a new app on the market.  These guys have been shaking things up since their arrival in June of 2017.

Existing User Options: Freebird Rides App

What does it do?  Basically, Freebird serves as a point of connection between you and your rideshare destination. [3]

Whether you’re using Lyft or Uber, you can order a ride directly through their app.

The best part?

They have constant promotions that allow existing users to benefit from price savings.

For a deeper dive into their service, check out our featured guide to Freebird Rides to see how they’re driving change in the rideshare industry to offer cash back, lower prices, saved time comparing services, and more.

Membership & Rewards Program Options

Both Lyft and Uber offer rewards programs, which can significantly affect your rideshare costs as well as the user experience, especially if you utilize their service options regularly.  They each offer perks in regards to pricing, extra offers, customer service, decreased fees and more.

Uber Rewards

Uber’s rewards program can be quite a great deal.  Members enjoy the ability to earn points on rides as well as Uber Eats, and unlock new benefits at each level of membership.

As you go up from Blue, Gold, Platinum and Diamond levels, your benefits increase.  Rewards include priority customer support, flexible cancellations, price protection on UberX, priority pickups at airports, premium support, highly rated drivers, complimentary upgrades, and free delivery on some Eats orders. [4]

Lyft Pink & Ride Pass

Lyft Pink is their version of a rewards program and offers some sweet deals to members to save money and earn perks as well.  Membership perks include earning 15% savings on every ride, free bike or scooter rides every month, lost & found fee protection, priority dispatch at airports, cancellation fee protection, and special member offers such as special partnerships, seasonal discounts, access to highly rated Lyft drivers, and premium mode discounts. [5]

Lyft also sometimes offers something called a Ride Pass.  These passes provide a discount for a set number of rides taken during a specific amount of time.  For example, you may purchase a ride pass for $5 off of 10 rides.

Ride pass offers are available only in limited areas during limited times, so keep your eyes peeled for an offer of which you may want to take advantage.

Are Uber and Lyft Cheaper Than Taxis?

Overwhelming data suggests that yes, using a rideshare service means a better experience as well as a better price. [6]

Are Uber and Lyft Cheaper Than Taxis?

Riders and drivers seem to agree that this industry isn’t just slightly better; it’s a wholly better experience, from pricing to customer service and more.  In the United States and beyond, these companies offer a ride option that people are taking as the new normal.

Also worth noting…

As the rideshare industry continues to boom, prices become even lower.  As the supply of drivers increases to meet higher demand, you’ll see an overall lower trend in pricing.

Which is Cheaper Uber or Lyft? – FAQ Section

Since the pricing ends up to be pretty similar for Uber and Lyft, does that make a difference for drivers as far as to pay?

In terms of how much you can make as a driver of either of these services, there is a difference.  While their prices for passengers are pretty equal, Uber does take a larger percentage of your wages than Lyft does for their fee.  Uber, however, charges far more during busy periods (Surge Pricing) than Lyft does (Prime Time), so there is that to consider as well if most of your driving takes place during those high-demand time frames.

Is there a way to get a discount on all of my rides instead of just the first one?

Yep, you’re in luck!  Do yourself a favor and download the Freebird rides app, which acts as a middleman between you and your rideshare apps.  You simply request your rides through their app and earn cash back for every ride as well as other perks and promotions.  This is always offered, regardless of whether you’re a new user to either platform or have existing accounts.

Uber vs. Lyft Resources

  1. Pricing for Lyft Shared and Lyft Shared Saver [Lyft Help Center]
  2. Lyft vs. Uber pricing comparison by city [Make Use Of]
  3. How the Freebird rides app works to earn cash back on your rides [Freebird Help Center]
  4. Uber Rewards program details []
  5. Lyft Pink rewards [Lyft Help Page]
  6. Are Uber and Lyft cheaper than taxis? [Consumer Reports]