Recently, while pretending to be a young, fit 30 year old, I injured my right heel playing an intense game of indoor soccer. This left me unable to walk very far so I began using Lyft to get around. It didn’t take long before I noticed how Lyft’s actual wait times always felt lengthier than the estimated wait. Was it just my impatience, or was something else at play? Eventually, I decided it was time to give Lyft’s competitor a try and initiate a Lyft vs Uber throw down. This gave me the opportunity to play at something that rarely causes an injury – simple statistics. I started using my brain and collected data to nail down how often I actually get picked up on time (this also doubled as a great distraction while waiting for my ride).
What I did: Whenever my Lyft ride was confirmed, I noted the estimated wait and set the timer on my phone. I did this for 10 rides. Then I did the same for Uber.
Here’s what I found:
– Both companies underestimated my actual wait time. Lyft by 51% and Uber by 33%.
– Of my 10 rides with Lyft, they were on schedule twice
– Of my 10 rides with Uber, they were on schedule or early 7 times.
The clear winner: Uber! Yes, my sample sizes were small and my data collection had no control for location, time of day, or distance. Also, I sheepishly admit that I only received a B- in statistics (the second time!). That being said, the contrast is stark. Uber’s wait time estimate was more accurate and more consistent. For how long, I don’t know, but I plan on collecting more data going forward – because this was fun! Anyone want to join me? 🙂
As of this writing both Uber and Lyft have not commented.