A Comparison of Uber and Via

The differences between the two TNCs that I currently work with are innumerable; however, the drop-off/pick-up processes are largely dependent on the type of rideshare trip you’ve received.

With Uber, you’re directed to drive directly to the pin once you’ve accepted the booking. With Via, the passenger’s destination is accounted for when picking up to ensure the vehicle continues to travel towards it. For example, if a pax request comes in heading north the Via route will have you turn around before stopping for the pick-up. That way the vehicle will be pointed towards the pax’s destination when you arrive, making for a smooth service.


Both TNC service all three local airports, now that Via has recently expanded to EWR too. This change in service just came about today in fact. When driving to or from an airport, you’ll inevitably encounter tolls along the route. Both companies reimburse any/all tolls that were paid while a pax is on board. Because Via is devoted to ridesharing (i.e., each trip may have multiple pick-ups along the route), a lot of pax ask me how that affects trips to the airport.

For example, “Do you stop for people along the way?” or “Am i getting a completely private ride when ordering a Via to the airport?”

The answer to these two questions lies somewhere in between. By this I mean, so far I’ve never stopped for other passengers along the way to the airport during Via trips; however, I will stop to let people out who are already on trip along the airport route. I’m pretty sure that’s how the system works. You may be paired up with other people going to the same airport, at the same time; however, that happens infrequently. Furthermore, this system seems to work much more efficiently then Uber’s Pool system. While on a UberPool trip to/from the airport, it’s common to get other requests along the route even outside Manhattan too. There’s a possibility that the second pax isn’t even going to the airport, and just requested a trip that follows the route towards the original (i.e., airport) destination.

Furthermore, the operating times differ between these two TNCs. Via’s services are available in Manhattan (and to the airports) from 6am to midnight during weekdays. Uber’s services are available around the clock, which could lead to late-night airport runs with very little traffic. At these times the airport is quiet, yet travelers are still coming in. The time spent waiting in the queue is typically an average of 5-15 min. That’s highly desirable, and just enough time to stretch, relieve myself, etc.

Although UberPool is regarded as the least preferred trip request that drivers can receive, there are ways to not comply with these types of requests. When I’m driving in the city on Uber days, I’ll typically ignore all Pool requests; however, Pool requests are popular at the airports I’ve noticed. Uber promotes their Pool trips to pax as a way to save money on a trip they’ll inevitably have to take (because they’re at the airport). Therefore after waiting in the airport queue and receiving notice to head to the terminals, there’s a good possibility that the first trip request you’ll receive will be a Pool trip. You could ignore this request; however, you might lose your line in the queue, and have to drive all the way back to the staging lot area.

Instead, I’ve found that accepting and taking advantage of the 2 min. no-show rule is more profitable. And time efficient. Upon arriving at the pick-up location, the pax has 2 min. to find your car or establish contact with you. If they don’t appear in that small window of time (there’s a little timer within the app), you can safely cancel with “no-show” for a $5 fee. Because Uber adds additional pax to the Pool trip automatically, this technique can be used several times for one trip! That’s exactly what the case was here:


Each of the UberPool trips where the “rider cancelled”, was after the 2 min. grace period had elapsed. This resulted in no-show fees from four pax, equaling a free $13.36. Plus, my spot in the queue wasn’t lost after the last cancellation. I was thus able to land an UberX fare, which is shown in this video clip:

In this clip the pax has already entered the vehicle, and I’ve just finished putting luggage in the trunk. We promptly depart from the airport, heading to the Hyatt Marque in Manhattan. Actually she put her own luggage in, which led to the comment, “not very gentlemenly like” from a nearby taxi driver. Typically, I will assist pax with their luggage; however, there are often occasions where the pax prefer to load their luggage themselves. On this occasion, she had three heavy suitcases which we loaded together into the trunk.

Finally, the major differences between Uber and Via are the pay structure, the area of service, and having to deal with Pool trips or not. It’s generally accepted that Via’s routing algorithms are better then the UberPool system. Ignoring, cancelling, or otherwise avoiding the Pool trips are therefore not an issue when driving with Via.

Both TNCs service pax both to/from the three major airports: JFK, LGA, and now EWR too. Via may have you wait at a “terminal” (i.e., a break-point drivers a directed to in between trip requests) at the airport(s). You’re still on the clock during this time, so stressing about when your spot in the queue will be called is a non-issue. I haven’t personally received a trip request with Via at the airport(s) yet. The demand may still be greater for Uber trips, until the Via flat-fee service really catches on. Via uses Google maps for navigation; however, a lot of drivers prefer Waze, which can automatically be set for use with any non-Pool Uber trip.
Both TNCs offer daily promotions and incentives to drivers; however, Via has guaranteed hourly pay, which adds additional peace of mind during times of inconsistent or low-demand.