Metro Vancouver Rideshare Comparison – Uber vs Lyft vs Taxi

Which service is best and most economical? 

As everyone by now knows, ride hailing is finally here in the Lower Mainland. After being one of the lone major metropolitan areas without any ride sharing at all, the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) has officially licensed several companies to begin offering ride hailing in the Metro Vancouver Area. Uber and Lyft are the biggest to begin operations immediately.

The differences between Uber and Lyft

The Major Differences between Uber and Lyft

There is not much difference between the two services besides the extra $0.50 booking fee from Lyft and the extra $0.05/km from Uber. However, there is one major discrepancy – the service areas.

Currently, Uber has a vastly larger area it services with pickup from anywhere in the Lower Mainland. The Downtown core is fully serviced by both, but outside communities are better served with Uber. Lyft defined the Downtown core to be bounded by Dunbar Street in the west, Victoria Drive in the east and 41st Avenue in the south. Lyft also services the YVR airport and the PNE grounds near Burnaby. Uber on the other hand, completely covers the entire Metro Vancouver area.

Service Areas for Uber and Lyft

Click to enlarge

Boo! Ride Hailing!

As with any disruptive service that comes along, there will be drawbacks to changing the way things were and negatives to the new way of doing things. 

  1. More Traffic (and pollution)
    Anytime you put more cars, driving more hours on the road will result in more congestion and pollution. So the short trips that one used to use public transportation, bike or walk to not becomes a quick swipe in the app and a car trip. 
  2. *Dead Heading*
    Much of the time, car hailing drivers are not driving passengers, they are driving too and from or waiting for pick ups.
  3. Already Transit Friendly
    Metro Vancouver is actually one of the best public transit served cities in the world with the Skytrain (Millennium Line, Expo Line, Canada Line), RapidBus, 99B Line, Seabus and WestCoast Express. The majority of the Uber/Lyft rides are actually just more of convenience than necessity.
  4. Loss of Jobs and Transit Income
    You might not have a lot of sympathy for taxi/limo drivers but there will be jobs lost in the process and money that would have been collected by the transit system is also lost.
  5. Uber Lyft Employer Record
    Both companies do not have the best reputation as good employers and have many stories written about their poor treatment of employees.

Yes! Ride Hailing!

  1. Competitive Pricing
    Taxis have always seem to have a monopoly on the cost of passenger transportation, especially when transit and/or other means are not practical. More competition, better prices for the consumer.
  2. Greater Job Safety and Service
    Due to the cashless transactions and rating system in the app for both passenger and driver, the overall experience is better for both.
  3. Job Flexibility
    Becoming a driver allows for the flexibility to earn money while driving part-time or when convenient. Not many jobs let workers set the when and where they wish to work and earn extra money.
  4. Easier to Share
    Uber and Lyft both allow for the option to share/split a fee on a carpooled single trip.
  5. Always Available
    Ever had a problem finding a cab late at night or in a non busy area? Well Uber/Lyft will have a greater number of potential drivers in all areas and at all times.

The only municipality to not welcome Uber and Lyft has been Surrey due to Mayor Doug McCallum who stated bylaw officers will be stepping up enforcement against ride-hailing drivers picking up passengers in his city, pitting him against provincial regulations. All other communities seem to have openly embraced the ride hailing services.

Despite some downsides, ride hailing’s time is truly here to stay and the future of the ever developing Metro Vancouver area. The cat is now permanently out of the bag and there is no going back to the days when not everyone has a phone in their pocket complete with a ride hailing app!


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