Lyft and Uber vs. Public Transportation

Nancy Anderson
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Ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber are looking to change the way people get around. In the past, public transportation was often the only way to get from place to place if you did not have a car. With Lyft and Uber mobile applications, a friendly local driver is easy to find and happy to have your business.

Lyft Line and UberPool are car-sharing programs that work by connecting riders with drivers who regularly travel the same routes. The convenient services feature prices that are low enough for daily use to cater to the needs of commuters who might otherwise need to take public transportation. Because three-quarters of people regularly commute to work alone, ride-sharing services help reduce road congestion, pollution and overall cost. They also provide extra freelance revenue for the drivers furthering the American trend toward looking outside the corporate box for solutions to daily problems.

The regular use of public transportation also reduces congestion and pollution, but few car owners are willing to deal with the inconveniences that come with taking the bus or subway. In addition to long waits and crowded, uncomfortable vehicles, some public transportation systems are riddled with crime. Ride-sharing apps help you find a ride from your door to your destination, in a comfortable car with an appropriate number of riders. Uber builds quality control into its ride-sharing system by regularly monitoring customer reviews and removing drivers with bad ratings. This assures that only friendly drivers with clean vehicles remain part of the service.

Another advantage of ride-sharing services over public transportation is the area covered and the times available. Buses and trains have limited routes operating at specific times. Ride-sharing helps riders find rides from and to under-served portions of the community at the time they are needed. On the other hand, public transportation is less expensive than both Lyft Line and UberPool, and as of 2014, the ride-sharing services are only offered in a limited number of communities.

Although some cities see ride-sharing programs as direct competition to the public transportation system and fear that they will lead to reduced revenue for public programs, others recognize that ride-sharing is more likely to complement quality public transportation programs. Ride-sharing programs work outside the reach of public transportation with extremely flexible routes and times, but charge more for the service. They also provide a viable transportation option in communities with low-quality public transportation.

Ride-sharing apps, such as Lyft Line and UberPool, offer choices to riders who rely on public transportation for their daily commute. In addition to providing a needed service, these apps reduce pollution and road congestion by decreasing the number of cars on the road. Look for more apps that solve problems and help people help each other.


Photo courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at



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