Lyft Line vs. UberPOOL – Which is Better?

Lyft Line vs. UberPool

UberPOOL vs Lyft Line – Is UberPOOL cheaper than Lyft Line?

The war between rival ride-sharing apps is heating up, and both Uber and Lyft are offering more and more options to out-do the other. In particular, both of them have similar ‘carpooling’ programs, known respectively as Lyft Line and UberPool.

Both programs are based around the same core concept: allowing users to share a ride with other passengers who happen to be heading in the same direction. In other words – UberPOOL and Line are like sharing a taxi with a stranger, in order to cut the trip’s overall cost.

‘Ride-pooling’ services are a fine idea in principle, but which service — POOL or Line — is doing it better? Find out more about each service, including pros and cons, below…

How They Work

Both services effectively work in exactly the same manner. You choose your destination in the app, and then choose either Lyft Line or UberPool to turn your trip into a ‘carpooling-style’ shared experience. After requesting a ride, you’ll be matched up with a driver, and additional people may (or may not) be picked up as you go. You pay a discounted fare rate when you arrive (sometimes saving up to 70%).

For either UberPOOL or Lyft Line services, passengers can only make a shared-ride request if they’re traveling with a maximum of 2 passengers (including yourself).

Pros and Cons of UberPOOL/Lyft Line

With the basic functions of each service being inherently the same, it’s time to look at the smaller details that set these two carpooling programs apart.

The Costs
Generally, Lyft Line and UberPOOL follow a similar fare structure — and costs for each service are largely comparable — although rates vary significantly from city to city, making a basic ‘cost comparison’ difficult.

Cost Estimates & Projections – Line vs. Pool
One advantage that Lyft Line has over UberPool is that the service provides a set fare (right as you make your ride request), and passengers pay that exact amount — regardless of whether they end up picking up additional passengers (or not).

On the other hand, UberPOOL only provides an estimated trip cost — a variable which can change dynamically as the ride progresses (and is often based on whether additional passengers are picked up en-route). Regular users have even reported that (sometimes) final UberPOOL costs can end up being more expensive than a regular UberX ride, not cheaper. However, this is still considered a reasonably unusual outcome — and Uber testifies that an UberPOOL trip will always be between 20% – 70% cheaper than a regular UberX ride.

The Route
Route and navigation’ is an area where Lyft seems to have a slight edge. Riders tend to report that — even during a shared Line ride — Lyft takes a relatively direct route to a final destination (and only picks up additional passengers that are immediately located along a particular route).

Conversely, many observers note that Uber will often ‘wind around’ more, employing more complex navigational maneuvers— perhaps in a bid for heightened efficiency…or perhaps in an effort to maximize the number of passengers being added to a particular vehicle (no one knows for sure). In any event, this makes the service less attractive to users who are in a hurry  — and incentives anyone looking to pay a bit more for UberX, for the added convenience.

When it comes to availability, Uber is the undisputed winner — its vehicle distribution & operational range is simply much greater than Lyft (whether you are using a shared model, or not). There are Uber drivers in more than 300 cities, in dozens of nations around the world, and drivers currently number in the hundreds of thousands. By contrast, Lyft has a very limited reach (it is estimated to be about 5% of Uber’s size, globally) — and is still an exclusively American service, serving 65 major cities across the USA.

Wait Times
When it comes to ‘wait times’ (i.e., how you long you have to wait for a driver to come and pick you up), differences between Lyft Line and UberPOOL are often negligible — but Uber has the upper hand, largely due to its reach, scope and driver density.

Both POOL and Line services offer intuitive user interfaces (easy-to-use, simple, and well-designed). Uber is always improving its UberPOOL system (the company recently rolled out an updated POOL algorithm, as well as numerous other features meant to smooth the travel process). Lyft also frequently improves its Lyft Line interface — tweaking an algorithm which the company alleges is already superior to UberPOOL’s, in its efficiency and speed.

Regardless of basic technological differences, both POOL and Line work seamlessly at arranging shared travel and cutting costs — all the passenger-assignment is done instantly (so users are never waiting around for Uber or Lyft’s system to identify other passengers to share a ride with).

And, both companies have an identical policy in one important area: if no additional passengers are located to share a vehicle, Line and POOL users will simply travel alone, at no additional cost.

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