Rideshare Providers Unveil Monthly Packages. Are They Worth It?
It’s official: Subscription models are kind of a thing.
You can subscribe to clothing services, music streaming, meal delivery kits, a car—and now even your rideshare provider of choice.
Recently, Uber (in full disclosure, they’re a Fair partner) announced the launch of its new subscription model called Ride Pass, offering passengers rides for a set fee based on a monthly subscription payment. It’s launching in Los Angeles, where the fee is $24.99 per month, and in Austin, Orlando, Denver and Miami, where the fee is $14.99 per month. We know: You have questions.
Once you sign up for the service, you basically get unlimited rides at a set fare—and that fare never changes no matter where you’re going or even your usage history before you signed up. As an added bonus, you also won’t be subjected to surge pricing. Anyone who tried to get to Friday night dinner reservations during the holiday season knows what we’re talking about.
The overall idea is for the service is to give ridesharing—an impossible-to-predict expense for some—some much-needed financial consistency.
“We’re really keen to make sure this is priced to the point where people can buy the pass and not have to think too much about it,” Uber project manager Dan Bilen told The Verge. “The vision for Ride Pass is it makes Uber a budgeted line-item for riders.”
But Uber isn’t swimming alone in the monthly-fee ridesharing pool. Competitor Lyft also launched a subscription service—but at a decidedly higher price point. Their All-Access Plan targets people who use ridesharing pretty exclusively and will set a user back $299 every 30 days. Subscribers get 30 rides (up to $15 each). This amounts to $450 worth of rides for $299, but would leave you paying the difference if a ride goes over $15.
It depends. If you’re someone who uses Uber and Lyft a lot, this could be an opportunity to cut down on your rideshare costs. Knowing you use the service so many times per month, plus a monthly fee, gives you a chance to budget accordingly so you’ll know exactly what you’re going to pay for rideshare costs from week to week.
But if you’re a casual user, the subscription model may not be your best option. If you live in L.A. and you’re only riding once or twice a month, paying $24.99 just to pay a flat fee for those two rides might add up to more than if you just rode a la carte.
Still, though, isn’t it always nice to have choices?