Does Uber still reign supreme?
In the past, asking a stranger from the internet to pick you up in their car seemed dangerous, if not downright crazy. But today, it’s commonplace for people to do just that by using ridesharing services, also known as ride-hailing services. Ridesharing is particularly common in large cities, although it’s used around the world in many different countries and community types. We’re examining ridesharing’s popularity and how it has affected other forms of transportation in the United States and beyond.
Uber and Lyft dominate the U.S. rideshare market, with nearly 100 percent of the market share.
From September 2017 to July 2021, Uber held an average of 70 percent of the U.S. rideshare market, while Lyft held the remaining 30 percent, according to data from Bloomberg Second Measure.1 Data for 2022 is not yet available.
|Market share in the U.S. by month and year||Uber||Lyft||Other|
As of 2018, the average rideshare customer in the U.S., whether they’re an Uber user, a Lyft user, or both, is between the ages of 18 and 29 with a college degree or higher and a household income of $75,000 or more.
|Factor||Percent of U.S. adults who used ride-hailing services in 2018|
|50 and older||24%|
|High school or less||15%|
|College graduate and above||53%|
|$30,000 or less||18%|
|$75,000 or more||46%|
Most Americans use ride-hailing apps less than once a month, as reported by the Pew Research Center.3
Globally, the rideshare market was worth nearly $86 billion in 2021, the most recent year for which worldwide data is available. By 2026, Markets and Markets projects a market value of $185.1 billion, a 116 percent increase.3
While Uber is available in countries around the world, Lyft is only available in the U.S. and Canada. This is one of many reasons Uber has much higher revenue, market share, and number of riders than Lyft.
Both Uber and Lyft grew significantly in 2022 — Uber by 14 percent and Lyft by 15 percent. But while their growth rates were similar, Uber4 had 528 percent more riders than Lyft5, according to fourth-quarter 2022 reports from both companies.
In 2017 and 2018, drivers could make more money on average driving for Lyft than Uber. However, that changed in 2019 when Uber lifted its average pay rates by 17 percent. Lyft’s wages, on the other hand, remained relatively stagnant during this time period.6
|Year||Average hourly earnings before expenses of Uber rideshare drivers working in the U.S.||Average hourly earnings before expenses of Lyft rideshare drivers working in the U.S.||Difference|
In 2022, Uber’s revenue grew by 16 percent and Lyft’s by 34 percent. But while Lyft had a greater increase, Uber made more revenue overall by a margin of 2,717 percent.
People who used Uber in 2022 spent more money on it than Lyft riders by a difference of 349 percent. On average, people spent $234 with Uber and only $52 with Lyft.
|Quarter of 2022||Uber revenue per active rider||Lyft revenue per active rider|
Another reason Uber dominates in terms of revenue, riders, and revenue per rider is its diversification. Uber doesn’t only do rideshares — it also has a delivery service, Uber Eats (which, despite its name, is more than just food delivery), as well as a freight service for commercial trucking. That said, mobility (ridesharing) still makes up the plurality of Uber’s business at 44 percent.
More than 99.9 percent of all Uber and Lyft trips occur without a safety incident. However, we compared safety data from 2019 to see which company saw more car crash fatalities, physical assaults, and sexual assaults.
|Safety issue||Percentage of all Uber trips in 2019||Percentage of all Lyft trips in 2019|
|Motor vehicle fatalities||0.000005%||0.000006%|
|Physical assault fatalities||0.000001%||0.0000005%|
|Sexual assault (includes the below)||0.0001%||0.0002%|
|Non-consensual touching of a sexual body part||0.0001%||0.00013%|
|Non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part||0.00003%||0.00004%|
|Non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part||0.00002%||0.00003%|
|Non-consensual sexual penetration||0.00002%||0.00002%|
|Attempted non-consensual sexual penetration||0.00001%||0.00001%|
Even though incidents were rare with both companies, Lyft had higher incident rates in all categories except physical assault. The most striking difference was with sexual assault: Lyft had 72 more incidents of sexual assault than Uber, the majority of which were non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part.
However, Uber’s physical assault rates are higher than Lyft’s by 46 percent. For both companies, sexual assault was the most common safety incident in 2019, according to each company’s safety report.
Ridesharing disrupted the transportation industry by providing on-demand app-based rides, both private and shared. This affected not only ridesharing services’ direct competitor, taxis, but also public transportation.
From 2019 to 2020, public transportation trips in the U.S. decreased by 53 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people worked remotely following national stay-at-home orders.
While Uber trips declined during this period as well, they only decreased by 27 percent. And while neither public transportation nor Uber trips returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2021, Uber’s gains from 2020 to 2021 were higher than public transportation’s, a 27 percent increase versus a 5 percent increase.
|Year||Number of unlinked passenger trips in U.S. public transit||Number of Uber trips completed worldwide|
Many people switched from public transportation to Ubers during the pandemic to limit their interactions with other passengers. Even though national stay-at-home orders have been lifted and President Joe Biden declared the pandemic “over” in September 2022, many people still choose Uber over public transportation.
Not everyone can afford rideshares, but many don’t have access to convenient public transportation like bus lines or light rails. That’s why a new form of transportation has emerged, an amalgamation of both rideshare services and public transportation: microtransit, otherwise known as on-demand public transportation.
Microtransit is a more affordable version of a rideshare service. It’s popular in suburban and rural areas, as well as smaller cities without larger public transportation infrastructures. Riders pay a fee to ride in a small van or shuttle, first waiting in a pickup spot and getting dropped off near their destination.7
While this industry is too new for substantial national data, transit agencies are running microtransit pilot programs in the following cities:
We’re looking forward to seeing if and how microtransit disrupts the rideshare industry, just as rideshares disrupted taxis before it. That brings us to our next point.
The most recent data, which is from 2015, shows that in five large U.S. cities, taxis had an average utility rate of 43 percent, while UberX, the standard service Uber offers, had an average rate of 50 percent.
|City||Taxi utilization average rate across all drivers (percent of work hours with a passenger) in 2015||UberX utilization average rate across all drivers (percent of work hours with a passenger) in 2015|
|Los Angeles, California||n/a||52%|
|New York, New York||48%||51%|
|San Francisco, California||38%||55%|
However, while Uber may dominate in metropolises like Seattle, Washington, people who live in rural and suburban areas, disabled people, and people without smartphones still rely on traditional taxis, according to research from the American Economic Review.8
If you’re one of the millions of people around the world who use rideshare services, here’s what you need to know to stay safe.
Rideshare companies provide insurance for their drivers known as transportation network company (TNC) insurance. However, TNC only covers the periods when there are passengers in the driver’s car. It does not cover the times when the app is on and the driver is waiting for a request or when they’ve accepted a ride and are driving to the pickup location.
A rideshare driver’s personal auto insurance policy won’t cover them during these periods, either, since they’re technically working and not operating their vehicle for personal use. So how should rideshare drivers handle car insurance? Enter rideshare insurance.
Rideshare insurance covers the gaps in TNC coverage, protecting rideshare drivers when they’re waiting for a customer and driving to a ride. It’s a commercial car insurance policy the driver can add on to their regular, private passenger auto insurance.
Rideshare insurance offers the same coverages as a personal policy, which include the following.
A rideshare driver can find rideshare insurance by adding a rideshare endorsement to their existing policy (assuming their current insurance provider offers it). Some companies with rideshare coverage include Allstate, GEICO, State Farm, and Progressive.
Big tech has disrupted a ton of industries, and transportation is one of the best examples. Thanks to new technology, it’s easier than ever for people to get from one location to another without using their own vehicle or public transportation. It’s clear that ridesharing isn’t going anywhere and will likely only grow more commonplace in more areas worldwide. That said, it’ll be interesting to see if microtransit can make a dent in rideshare companies’ profits or if public transportation will ever recover. If you’re wondering how many people still own cars in this age of ridesharing, read our report on car ownership in the U.S.
We used data from the following sources:
These are some current rideshare trends:
As of the fourth quarter of 2022, Uber is used the most in Brazil, with an average weekly active consumer penetration of 9 percent.
Uber has been the least successful in Germany. From October to December of 2022, it had less than 1 percent average weekly active consumer penetration, according to an earnings report from the company.
The most lucrative city to drive for Uber is Boston, Massachusetts, according to Gridwise. The average Uber driver there earns about $33 per hour, which is the most lucrative rate even when taking into account the price of gasoline and car insurance.
Uber vs. Lyft: Who’s tops in the battle of U.S. rideshare companies. Bloomberg Second Measure. (2022, Jun 15).
On-demand: Ride-hailing apps. Pew Research Center. (2016, May 19).
Ride-sharing Market. Markets and Markets. (2023).
Uber Technologies, Inc. Q4 2022 Earnings. Uber. (2023, Feb 8).
Q4 Fiscal 2022 Earnings. Lyft. (2023, Feb 9).
Lyft & Uber Driver Survey 2020: Uber Driver Satisfaction Takes a Big Hit. Ride Share Guy. (2021, Feb 24).
Can Uber-like Public Transit Replace Old-Fashioned Buses? Pew Stateline. (2022, Aug 17).
Disruptive Change in taxi Business: The Case of Uber. American Economic Review. (2016).
NON-UNIVERSITY RIDESHARE SAFETY. Division of Public Safety and Security, University of Michigan. (2023).