Who do you call for a ride when you don’t want to drive?
Uber vs. Lyft vs. Taxi
FACT has done some research on alternative transportation, to help you choose your best option.
SAFETY REPORTS/FEATURES: During the first week of December, Uber presented its first safety report. 5,981 sexual abuse incidents were reported out of 2.3 billion trips in the US, during 2017 and 2018. Uber has made some improvements by ramping up their background checks and rolling out some new features intended to keep riders safe.
One of those features is an emergency button that allows users to call 911 through the app. The report says that more than a million prospective drivers failed to make it through Uber’s screening process during 2017 & 2018, and also notes that Uber banned more than 40,000 U.S. drivers in the last two years as a result of ongoing criminal and motor vehicle screenings.
Lyft has, of yet, not made a public safety report.
HOW DO THESE PROVIDERS COMPARE IN THEIR SAFETY FEATURES?
Taxis provide higher rider insurance coverage than Uber and Lyft and only taxis provide a dispatcher. However, only Uber has the following:
- Phone app that stays connected to loved ones, Uber, and emergency authorities
- An app emergency button to call authorities and show location
- Rides tracked with GPS
- Real time driver verification by Uber
- Technology notification for driver committed offenses
- Driver photo provided to rider prior to pick up
- Lyft and Uber both have 24/7 incident response
- An app to protect contact information like phone numbers
- Vehicle decals on windshield.
DRIVER REQUIREMENTS FOR REGULATED TAXI DRIVERS:
- Must pass a drug test
- Have a medical examination
- Have a working knowledge of English
- Have a taxi license
- Complete training in defensive driving, safety certification, non-discrimination, driving routes, and landmarks.
UBER DRIVER REQUIREMENTS:
- One year of licensed driving in the US
- Working vehicle doors, windows, air conditioning, and seatbelts.
LYFT AND UBER DRIVER REQUIREMENTS:
- Vehicles that are 4 door and have model year restrictions
- Proof of city and state residency
- Driver profile photos.
LYFT AND TAXI DRIVER REQUIREMENTS:
- Social security cards.
ALL THREE DRIVER REQUIREMENTS:
- Must all meet the minimum driving age
- Have a valid US driver license
- Have passed driving and criminal history screening
- Vehicles are certified for mechanical safety according to individual state regulations.
FARES & FLEXIBILITY: Fares generally are less with Uber and Lyft. In most cities your fare is calculated upfront on a base rate, before you confirm your ride. Factors such as wait time, additional miles, and driver availability, will affect fares.
Whereas Taxi fares may have locally regulated rates (like from airports), but most taxi rates are based on distance (and on time spent in heavily trafficked areas). Uber allows you flexibility such as adding up to 2 extra stops while in route, provides info about the driver and his/her ratings, and how close the driver is to you. And of course, Lyft and Uber have many other vehicle and driver options from basic sedan service to luxury cars, wheelchair and scooter accessibility, including specially trained drivers, etc.
Perhaps the most important convenience for Uber and Lyft customers is the ability to request and pay for rides through their smart phones. Uber and Lyft both unveiled new apps this year. The apps interface ride options with food delivery, information about available public transportation like subways, maps, landmarks and tourist attractions, and more depending on the city.
Taxis certainly have their own appeal to long time users and, in some areas, bill their customers monthly. As always, do your research…it’s not just the price, it’s also the importance of ongoing safety!