Uber and Lyft “Ride-Share” Programs

Recently, I’ve tried to learn more about the ride programs of Uber and Lyft, both of which are new to the Nashville area. When I first heard about Lyft, I contemplated checking into being a driver, but I did not follow up on that. Then, I discovered that my cousin by marriage is a Lyft driver locally, so I picked his brain last night.

Buddy confirmed what I had been able to learn about Lyft; it is more relaxed and social in nature. Evidently, he stays busy driving.  I think he said that he spent 10 hours driving people around Nashville one day last week, and he also enjoys using the service himself. From what I can learn online, as does Uber, the company provides additional liability insurance to cover those who ride with Lyft drivers.  I read somewhere else that drivers get 80% of the “donations” for the lift.  To avoid regulatory issues, it is called a donation rather than a fee or charge.  Since all requests for rides and payment of “donations” for rides are handled electronically, there is no paper work to keep or cash to handle, but it does make me wonder if everyone who accepts a lift honestly pays the suggested “donation.”  I’ll have to ask Buddy more about that next time we chat.

Uber seems to be the higher scale of the two, and it even employs professional drivers as well as individuals who just want to earn a little cash in their spare time.  When I visited the web site where individuals may apply to drive for Uber, I felt that my 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid might not be acceptable, but I felt that it would be a perfectly good transportation option should I care to drive for Lyft.

One huge difference that I felt important is that the Uber app apparently gives individuals an estimate of the “donation” expected for the service while Lyft does not.  Yet, both programs provide first-time users with promo codes, and it seems that I missed the band wagon when Uber arrived in Nashville because I could have been signed up for 100 free rides had I known to do so.

I think I will give each program a try as a rider, and I may even give Lyft a try as a driver.

I’d love feedback from anyone who has used either program.

UPDATE April 2, 2014:

In today’s email, I received the following information, which gives rates and service area for Lyft rides in Nashville, Tennessee.


The price of your ride is calculated based on a combination of time & distance:

Cost per mile: $1.25
Cost per minute: $0.20
Pickup: $1.25
Trust & Safety fee (?): $1.00
Minimum: $5.00
Cancellation fee: $5.00


Lyft is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


This coverage map shows where Lyft passengers can request rides. Hot Zones are our busiest neighborhoods.

Nashville Coverage Map



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Filed under Money, Travel

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