On April 24, Lyft opened service in Colorado Springs. One week later, on May 1, Uber also opened service in the Colorado Springs.
Lyft and Uber are ridesharing companies based out of the San Francisco area. When someone downloads either application on their smartphone, they create an account requiring them to provide their credit card information for payment purposes. These applications connect users with registered Uber or Lyft drivers in their city. Via the application, when a customer asks for a ride, registered driver in the area can accept the user’s request for a ride. The app also notifies the customer about the driver’s estimated time of arrival to their location.
All payment, including tips, takes place on the applications. There are no receipts to sign and both companies do not accept cash.
Uber and Lyft act as liaisons between drivers and people in need of rides, and they both use similar pricing formulas. The cost of a ride consists of the total cost of minutes the ride takes added to the total cost of miles travelled, then this sum is added on to a base charge. Taxi companies use a similar pricing formula.
While Lyft only offers one ride option, Uber offers five. Along with its most cost effective option, UberX, Uber offers UberXL, UberSUV, UberTaxi, and UberBlack. The UberXL service connects customers to drivers of small SUVs for larger groups or for those who want a higher ride than a sedan.
How do Lyft and Uber costs compare to traditional taxi services? Uber’s website has a fare quoting function, allowing users to calculate the cost of a possible ride with specific quotes for each of its five ride options. For some reason, their website does not calculate fairs for UberX around Colorado Springs.
According to Uber’s website, a ride from campus to Colorado Springs Airport in an UberXL costs between $38-50, UberBlack costs between $49-63, and UberSUV costs between $66-84. The fare calculator on Yellow Cab Colorado Springs’ website estimates a ride from campus to the airport costs $32.75. The same route in an UberX or Lyft costs about the same as the Yellow Cab taxi option.
Because of the congruencies between UberX and Lyft pricing formulas, their overall costs are approximately the same. Deciding between the three options filters down to which option provides the most convenient and workable service for a specific person’s needs.
Some tout that these new ride-sharing services make getting a ride faster and easier because of the precise driver communication. However, the allure of Uber and Lyft does not lie only in their convenience, but in the image they purport. Riding in a brightly color-blocked taxi with clunky company decals pasted on all both sides and the trunk is not as sexy as riding in a subtly colored sedan, when upon drop-off, the riders merely hop out without the person-to-person payment process.
Uber carries more of the private driver image than Lyft does because of its multiple luxury options and elegant ‘U’ logo lit up discreetly in the corner of each car’s dashboard. Lyft users identify the drivers by a two-foot long, hot pink shag mustache pillow either hooked to the front grill of the car or resting on the dashboard of the car. On their website, Lyft claims to be “a whole lot more fun than other ride-sharing services.”
Whatever the somewhat superfluous differences between Uber and Lyft, they both get people from A to B with cost effectively and conveniently. Their arrival in Colorado Springs increases the options for students with or without cars to get rides whenever and wherever they want at prices comparable to traditional taxi services.