Lyft Introduces Monthly Ride Plan, Wants You to Ditch Your Car
Have you ever thought about selling your current car and being chauffered everywhere instead? Well, now Lyft is trying to make that dream a reality… sort of. As TwoCents reports, the ride-sharing service is rolling out a new monthly ride plan that’s clearly aimed at getting people to reconsider their need for a vehicle.
First, the details: Lyft is currently offering a monthly plan priced at $299 that includes up to 30 rides. Before you go thinking that this means you can have someone drive you clear across town every day, each of these 30 rides is capped at $15. However, if your ride price does exceed $15, you’ll just need to pay the difference. Lastly, if you end up needing to take more than 30 rides in a month, you’ll have to pay for it just like you would any other ride — but you will at least receive a 5% discount. Running some quick math, you’d need to take at least 20 $15 rides, 24 $12.50 rides, 30 $10 rides, etc. just to break even. However, if you manage to use all 30 rides up at a price of $15 a pop, you’d end up saving $150 compared to paying per-ride pricing.
If it weren’t already obvious what Lyft’s larger goal was with this new offering, they announced as much in a statement, saying “This is the first step toward delivering on our goal of making car ownership optional, and we’re constantly looking for more ways to provide passengers with the easiest, most convenient options possible.” That’s a fair enough goal, but does this particular monthly model help make that a reality? That’s debatable as there are many strings attached to the current “one size fits all” plan. For example, if you’re commuting to work 20 days a week, that’s already 40 rides you’ll need. Assuming each way is $15, you’d still end up paying nearly $450 (minus the 5% discount on those last 10 rides) for the month.
The other argument is that $300 a month is a sizeable amount of money that could easily make up a regular car payment. However, to that point, the cost of maintaining a car and paying for other necessities like gas (or electricity, in some cases) and insurance can certainly add up. In fact, AAA estimates that the average cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle is between $523 and $706 when a car payment and other expenses are considered. Then again, owning a car typically gives you a bit more freedom and control than waiting for a driver to arrive and hoping one is in your area at any given time.
Ultimately, it will be interesting to see how Lyft’s monthly pricing model evolves. If they’re expecting people to replace car ownership with Lyft rides, they’ll likely need to offer different tiers of membership plans. Currently, the $300 a month for 30 rides plan may be reasonable for some frequent ride-share customers but might not be enough to get others to ditch their cars just yet.