Uber Introduces Subscription Plan in Select Markets

Just a few weeks ago, Lyft made their pitch to those thinking about going carless and relying on ridesharing by introducing a monthly subscription plan. Now Uber is following suit (although the company has tested other subscription services in the past), bringing its Ride Pass plan to select major markets. However, while you might assume the two plans would mirror each other as closely as the two brands do, they actually have some stark differences.

As The Verge reports, Uber’s service Ride Pass will allow members to take advantage of unlimited discounted rides for the month. These rates will be based on historical data, with discounts as high as 15% per ride. Moreover Ride Pass members won’t be subjected to surge pricing — the infamous inflating of fares that occurs when demand for drivers spikes. That said, drivers will reportedly be compensated as they normally would, with Uber covering the difference.

Currently the service is being tested in five cities: Austin, Orlando, Denver, Miami, and Los Angeles. In each case, the monthly fee is $14.99 except in L.A. where it’s going for $24.99 a month. Why the extra cost for Angelenos? The Verge says that city’s Ride Pass is expected to expand, offering members free access to the company’s  JUMP bikes and scooters as well.

It’s worth noting that Uber’s membership — which The Verge compares to the Amazon Prime — is markedly different from what rival Lyft rolled out last month. Lyft’s All Access Plan comes in at $300 a month and entitles members to take up to 30 rides valued at up to $15 each for free. After members surpass that allotment, they receive a 5% discount on subsequent Lyfts.

Personally, while neither of these plans would cause me to rethink my car ownership, I have to say that I prefer Uber’s proposed model. At $15 a month (or $25 in Los Angeles), the point at which you break even on the deal seems far more attainable. Of course, with Lyft’s plan, your big out of pocket expense comes up front, which may make it easier for frequent riders to budget the monthly expense whereas Uber’s pay-as-you-go model could cause fares to add up quickly. Meanwhile, for those in L.A., the extra $10 a month may seem steep but the anticipated inclusion of JUMP bikes and scooters starts to make the membership look like a real alternative transportation solution.

Ultimately, I could see Uber’s Ride Pass catching on faster than Lyft’s All Access Plan. But, will either plan lead city dwellers to ditch their cars and go all-in on ridesharing? That much remains to be seen.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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