I took an Uber to and from O'Hare airport this week. A 5:00 am ride to the airport cost me $24.98, a nice savings. However, I was surprised to find that a midnight trip back home was nearly triple the cost. For about $10 more I could have ridden in the luxury of a pre-arranged limousine and not stood out in the cold for 20 minutes. 

Ride Share customers are subjected to this somewhat radical surge in pricing, which is driven by weather, demand, traffic, and apparently the time of day, until now. As of mid-October 2018, frequent travelers can subscribe to Ride Pass with Uber and the All-Access-Plan with Lyft. Don't get too excited, these plans which range in price from $14.99 to $24.99 (depending on the city) with Uber, do not allow you unlimited rides at that ridiculously low cost, the plan simply sets pricing by historical data rather than the range of circumstances that currently influence pricing. You will be given pre-set rates for an unlimited number of rides per month. 

Uber has been testing various forms of a subscription service in earnest for about a year. At one point the pilot service grew to over a million riders, equaling tens of millions of trips in 25 cities across the country. The newest Uber subscription experience is being rolled out in five cities: Los Angeles, Austin, Orlando, Denver, and Miami. 

Lyft's plan is very different. Two weeks ago, they announced the rollout of their All-Access-Plan, where you will pay upfront every 30-days to lock in your rates. Under this plan, you will get 30 rides for the price tag of two-hundred and ninety-nine-dollars per month. Here's the catch--the rides are valued at up to fifteen-dollars each; you pay the balance. If you require more than 30 rides you will receive a whopping discount of five percent. Some Ride Passes are limited to specific ride types, such as standard, Shared, or XL.

Lyft initially tested the plan by invitation only and released it to all subscribers in the second week of October 2018, just prior to Uber's release. In an effort to encourage Americans to ditch their personal vehicles the company projects that, "Americans who use the All-Access Plan for all of their personal car needs can save up to 59 percent per month compared to owning a car." As a suburban dweller, I don't buy it. Perhaps those who live in the bustling city where parking is at a premium would agree. 

Published on: Nov 1, 2018
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