An Analysis of Uber and Lyft from the User's Perspective

A comparison of the two dominant ridesharing apps to determine potential justification for the user's preference.

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The Question

Not only does the influx of ridesharing companies in the transportation industry impact the traditional taxi services, but considerable competition exists between comparable mobile apps as well. Considering that Uber and Lyft serve the same fundamental purpose, how does the consumer determine which one to use?

Research Methods

I employed two methods of qualitative research during my study. I conducted structured participant observations and individual in-depth interviews.

I used a convenience sampling strategy to acquire a sample of eight undergraduate students from Clemson University, consisting of four men and four women.

In-depth Interviews

    Interview Procedure

  • Interview guide consisting of two sets of questions based on whether the participant had experience with only one of the apps or both.
  • Sample: 6 participants in "Uber Only" group and 2 participants in "Uber and Lyft" group.
  • Individual interviews were conducted after the observations


  • Heard more about Uber
  • Uber came out first
  • Uber was considered more "popular"
  • Price and Rewards
  • Driver Preference
  • Uber has more advertisements/features

Observation Procedure

Users were instructed to perform the task of requesting a ride on both apps and screen-record it. This data allowed me to observe and compare the user’s experience with each of the app interfaces, ease of navigation, and total time taken to perform the task.



The process to request a ride on Uber and Lyft were almost identical: similar interface layout, same amount of steps, and same time spent. The participants didnt show hesitation, ask questions, or have technical difficulties on either app.

Conclusions: Strategy and Interpretation

To expand this project, I would use a different sample population because findings may be different in an urban environment where exposure to Uber and Lyft is more comparable and these apps are used more frequently.

Limitation: The observations were considerably short. If I were to expand this project, I would change the observations to include the whole process involved on both apps, not just requesting the ride.

Limitation: The majority of the participants in my study only had experience with Uber and there were no participants who favored Lyft.