What’s the Difference Between Uber and Lyft?

Uber and Lyft are both ridesharing companies that have taken over Illinois. Gone are the days of hailing a cab from the street corner. Now, with just a few taps on an app, you can have a car appear within minutes at your door. While more similar to each other than different, there are some differences between Uber and Lyft.

Screening Drivers

Uber and Lyft both allow anyone 21-years of age or older to apply for their driver positions. Both companies perform a basic background check with social security numbers, although each company uses a different background check provider. Lyft will re-run their background checks annually, but Uber does not.

It is difficult to decide which company uses the better background check provider, as some drivers have been approved by one rideshare company but denied employment by the other.  


Illinois is one of a handful of states that has separate and specific requirements for its Uber and Lyft drivers and their vehicles.


  • Vehicles must be less than 15-years old in good condition with no cosmetic damages
  • It must be a four-door vehicle
  • There must be a current vehicle inspection uploaded to the driver’s profile
  • Uber will accept either temporary or official registration and the vehicle does not need to be registered in the driver’s name
  • The vehicle must have an auto insurance policy that follows local laws
  • Uber will maintain auto liability coverage when a driver is working for Uber


  • Vehicle requirements are different depending on the area in Illinois the driver is working. In Bloomington it must be a 2009 or newer, in Decatur and Kankakee it must be 2005 or newer, and in all over cities it must be 2003 or newer
  • All vehicles must be four doors and have 5-8 seats, including the driver’s seat
  • All vehicles are to be inspected before they are approved, and Chicago has a specific set of inspection requirements
  • Temporary driver’s licenses are acceptable, but a permanent license must be uploaded to the driver profile upon receipt (Peoria drivers must have a state-issued license)
  • Drivers must have valid registration and insurance
  • Driver must upload a photo of themselves
  • Lyft will maintain auto liability on the driver when they are working for Lyft

Both Uber and Lyft drivers are required by the state of Illinois to display the company decal, or emblem, on the passenger side window every time the driver is ridesharing. If a driver is taking trips to O’Hare or Midway airports, they are also required to display an airplane emblem on the rear passenger window.


Uber and Lyft share very similar pricing. Each will charge around $1.00 to start the ride, then $1.50 per mile and $.25 a minute. Both companies will also increase pricing during peak travel times, with Uber calling it a “Surge” and Lyft calling it “Prime Time”.

Surge-Uber will add a surge rate multiplier when ride demand increases. This rate varies by location but is generally 1.3x-2.1x added to the base, time, and distance fare.

Prime Time-Lyft charges the extra fee as a percentage that will be added on to the base ride amount.

For riders, Lyft is the cheaper choice during peak times.


Uber caters more to business people and has more vehicle options available to choose from.

  • Uberpool-The cheapest option where riders going on the same route share a car
  • UberX-A second budget option in a car with room for four people
  • UberXL-An SUV option for up to six people
  • UberSELECT-A luxury sedan for up to four people
  • UberBlack-High-end luxury vehicles for up to four people
  • UberSUV-The most expensive service for up to six people

Lyft is more about the experience and making it fun. While they no longer use large pink moustaches on their vehicles, Lyft drivers often encourage riders to sit in the front passenger seat, have conversations, and will often give their car a theme. Where Uber is serious, Lyft is fun and relaxed.

  • Lyft Line-Similar to Uberpool, this is a carpool option for people traveling the same route
  • Lyft-The budget option for up to four people
  • Lyft Plus-A regular vehicle with room for up to six people
  • Lyft Premier-Higher quality vehicles for up to four people

Ridesharing is efficient, economical, and easy. However, any time you’re in a vehicle, whether behind the wheel or as a passenger, there is a risk for an accident or injury. We at Agruss Law Firm are proud to serve the citizens of Chicago in personal injury cases, especially when you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, and we are fully committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that the other party is held legally accountable when negligence occurs. We will fight until the very end to ensure that you are fully compensated for all injuries and losses resulting from the accident, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and you won’t owe us a dime for our services.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a ridesharing accident due to another’s negligence, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation. Helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will take care of the insurance adjusters, your medical bills, your property damage, and your lost wages, and monitor your treatment so you can focus on healing and getting your life back to normal. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, Agruss Law Firm, LLC is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.