Uber Vs Lyft In Chicago: Which Rideshare Is Better?

As two of the biggest rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft both offer convenient transportation across Chicago. But when it comes to factors like cost, coverage, features and more, how do these rivals compare in the Windy City?

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: While the services are more similar than different in Chicago, Uber tends to edge out Lyft with lower fares, larger fleet, and more robust features.

This comprehensive comparison will analyze all the key differences between Uber and Lyft in Chicago, including pricing, availability, vehicles, safety, and more. Read on to see which rideshare giant best fits your transportation needs.

Pricing and Cost Comparison

When it comes to pricing and cost, both Uber and Lyft offer competitive rates in Chicago. However, there are some differences to consider. Let’s take a closer look at the base fares, booking fees, and surge and primetime pricing offered by each rideshare service.

Base Fares

Uber and Lyft both have base fares that include a fixed cost to start a ride. These fares can vary depending on the type of vehicle you choose. For example, UberX has a lower base fare compared to Lyft Lux.

It’s important to note that both Uber and Lyft may have different base fares during peak hours or special events.

Booking Fees

Booking fees are an additional cost added to the fare for each ride. Uber charges a flat booking fee, while Lyft’s booking fee may vary depending on your location. It’s worth noting that both Uber and Lyft may waive the booking fee during promotional periods or for certain types of rides.

Surge and Primetime Pricing

During periods of high demand, both Uber and Lyft implement surge and primetime pricing to incentivize more drivers to come online. This means that fares can increase significantly during busy times. However, the surge and primetime multipliers can vary between the two services.

It’s recommended to check the app before requesting a ride to see if surge or primetime pricing is in effect.

Coverage and Availability

When it comes to coverage and availability, both Uber and Lyft have a strong presence in Chicago. They both operate in the city and its surrounding suburbs, making it convenient for passengers to request a ride from almost anywhere in the area.

Service Areas

Uber and Lyft have extensive service areas in Chicago. Whether you’re in the Loop, Lincoln Park, or any other neighborhood, you can easily find a driver from either platform. Both Uber and Lyft also offer service to the city’s airports, including O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport.

According to a study conducted by the Chicago Tribune, both Uber and Lyft have similar coverage areas in the city, with drivers available in most neighborhoods.

Number of Drivers

When it comes to the number of drivers, both Uber and Lyft have a large pool of drivers in Chicago. While the exact number of drivers is not publicly available, it is safe to say that there are thousands of drivers on each platform in the city.

According to a report published by The Rideshare Guy, Uber has a slight edge over Lyft in terms of the number of drivers in Chicago. However, the difference is not significant enough to impact the availability of rides from either platform.

Airport Pickups

Both Uber and Lyft allow for pickups at Chicago’s airports. This means that you can request a ride from either platform when you arrive at O’Hare or Midway. The pickup locations are well-marked and easily accessible, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience for passengers.

It’s worth noting that Uber has a dedicated pickup zone at O’Hare International Airport, which can make it more convenient for passengers flying in or out of that airport.

Vehicles and Amenities

When it comes to vehicles and amenities, both Uber and Lyft offer a variety of options to cater to different passenger preferences and needs.

Car Options

Both Uber and Lyft provide a range of car options to choose from. For standard rides, both platforms offer economical choices like UberX and Lyft Basic, which include vehicles like sedans and hatchbacks that comfortably accommodate up to four passengers.

These options are perfect for everyday commutes or short trips around the city.

If you’re looking for a more luxurious ride, both Uber and Lyft offer premium car options. Uber offers Uber Black, which provides high-end sedans driven by professional chauffeurs. Lyft has Lyft Lux, which offers luxury vehicles with top-rated drivers.

These options are great for special occasions or when you want to ride in style.

For larger groups, both Uber and Lyft have options like UberXL and Lyft XL, which include vehicles that can accommodate up to six passengers. These options are ideal for group outings or when you need extra space.

Special Services

Both Uber and Lyft have special services to cater to specific needs. Uber has Uber Assist, designed for riders who may have mobility challenges. This service provides additional assistance and support during the ride.

Lyft offers a similar service called Lyft Access, which provides wheelchair-accessible vehicles for riders with disabilities.

Additionally, both platforms have options for riders who prefer eco-friendly transportation. Uber has Uber Green, which offers rides in electric or hybrid vehicles to reduce carbon emissions. Lyft has Lyft Green, which promotes environmentally friendly transportation options.

In-Ride Entertainment

When it comes to in-ride entertainment, both Uber and Lyft offer various features to make your ride more enjoyable. Both platforms provide music streaming services, allowing you to choose your favorite tunes during the ride.

Some drivers even offer amenities like phone chargers and water bottles for added convenience.

Uber takes it a step further with their Uber Comfort option, which offers extra legroom and temperature control for a more comfortable ride. They also provide a Quiet Mode feature, allowing you to enjoy a peaceful ride without any conversation.

Driver Screening and Safety

When it comes to driver screening and safety, both Uber and Lyft have implemented rigorous processes to ensure the well-being of their passengers. Both companies conduct background checks on potential drivers, but there are some differences in the details.

Background Checks

Uber and Lyft both run comprehensive background checks on their drivers, which include criminal record checks at the county, state, and federal levels. These checks help identify any past criminal convictions or driving offenses that may disqualify a driver from working for the platform.

However, it is important to note that the specific criteria for disqualification may vary between the two companies. For example, Lyft may disqualify a driver if they have been convicted of a violent crime, while Uber may have a broader disqualification policy that includes certain non-violent offenses as well.

It is always recommended for passengers to review the safety policies of both companies to understand the extent of their background check processes.

Driver Requirements

In order to become a driver for Uber or Lyft in Chicago, certain requirements must be met. Both companies require drivers to be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license, and have at least one year of driving experience.

Additionally, drivers must have a clean driving record and a registered and insured vehicle.

Uber and Lyft also require drivers to provide documentation of their vehicle’s registration and insurance, as well as proof of residency. These requirements help ensure that drivers are qualified and responsible individuals who can provide a safe and reliable transportation service.

Insurance Policies

Both Uber and Lyft have insurance policies in place to protect both drivers and passengers in the event of an accident. Both companies provide liability insurance coverage that kicks in from the moment a driver accepts a ride request until the completion of the trip.

Uber’s insurance policy provides coverage up to $1 million for bodily injury and property damage caused by an accident during a trip. Lyft’s insurance policy is similar, offering coverage up to $1 million for accidents that occur during a ride.

It is important to note that these insurance policies are in addition to any personal auto insurance that drivers may have. Both Uber and Lyft require their drivers to maintain personal auto insurance that meets the minimum requirements of the state they operate in.

For more detailed information on driver screening and safety, you can refer to the official websites of Uber (www.uber.com) and Lyft (www.lyft.com).

Membership Benefits and Rewards

Both Uber and Lyft offer various membership benefits and rewards to their users in Chicago. These perks aim to enhance the overall ride experience and provide additional value to riders. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits and rewards offered by both rideshare services.

Sign-up Promotions

When it comes to sign-up promotions, both Uber and Lyft have attractive offers for new users in Chicago. They often provide discounts or free ride credits to incentivize people to try their services. These promotions can be a great way to save money on your first few rides and get a feel for what each rideshare platform has to offer.

Uber: Uber frequently runs sign-up promotions, offering new users a discount on their first ride. These promotions can range from a flat dollar amount off to a percentage discount, depending on the current promotion.

To take advantage of these offers, new users can enter a promo code during the sign-up process.

Lyft: Lyft also offers sign-up promotions for new users in Chicago. These promotions typically provide a set amount of ride credit that can be used towards your first few rides. To access these promotions, new users can enter a promo code when signing up for the Lyft app.

Cash Back and Points

In addition to sign-up promotions, both Uber and Lyft have rewards programs that allow riders to earn cash back or points on their rides. These rewards can be redeemed for future rides or even other perks and discounts. Let’s compare the cash back and points programs offered by Uber and Lyft.

Rideshare Service Cash Back Program Points Program
Uber Uber Cash Uber Rewards
Lyft Lyft Cash Lyft Rewards
Uber Cash: Uber offers a cash back program called Uber Cash, where riders can earn a percentage of their ride cost back in Uber credits. These credits can be used towards future rides and Uber Eats orders.Uber Rewards: Uber also has a points program called Uber Rewards. With each eligible dollar spent on Uber rides or Uber Eats orders, users earn points. These points can then be redeemed for benefits like priority pickups, flexible cancellations, and UberX upgrades.Lyft Cash: Lyft’s cash back program, Lyft Cash, allows riders to earn a percentage of their ride cost back in Lyft credits. These credits can be used towards future rides and shared with friends and family through the Lyft app.Lyft Rewards: Lyft also offers a points program called Lyft Rewards. Users earn points for every dollar spent on Lyft rides, and these points can be redeemed for benefits such as ride discounts, priority airport pickups, and more.

It’s important to note that the availability and specifics of these rewards programs may vary over time and by location. Be sure to check the Uber and Lyft websites for the most up-to-date information on their current rewards offerings in Chicago.


For its larger fleet, lower fares, broader coverage, and slight edge in amenities, Uber comes out ahead of Lyft for most Chicago riders. However, Lyft maintains competitive pricing and service across the city. By understanding the complete Uber vs Lyft comparison, you can choose the better Chicago rideshare option for each trip.

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