Ride-hail­ing sub­scrip­tions: Are they worth it?

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Cathy Busse­witz

NEW YORK >> The start of a new year of­ten co­in­cides with a surge in monthly mem­ber­ships to gyms.

Ride-hail­ing ser­vices are hop­ing cus­tomers will think along the same lines about their trans­porta­tion needs. Uber and Lyft re­cently launched sub­scrip­tion plans promis­ing sav­ings for those trips to the gym, to work or around town.

The ride-hail­ing com­pa­nies stand to gain by in­creas­ing cus­tomer loy­alty in a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket and se­cur­ing more pre­dictable rev­enue at a time when both are head­ing into an ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing.

But you should fig­ure out if the num­bers add up be­fore com­mit­ting to one ride provider.

“I think both these things should come with the caveat, ‘buyer be­ware,’” said Keith Mill­house, a trans­porta­tion con­sul­tant and prin­ci­pal at Mill­house Strate­gies.

Mill­house called Uber’s sub­scrip­tion a “com­plete mys­tery,” and he said get­ting value out of Lyft’s plan was pos­si­ble, but com­pli­cated. Oth­ers were more op­ti­mistic.

“If (rid­ers) know they’re go­ing to be trav­el­ing enough or more than enough to take ad­van­tage of it, then by all means it’s an op­por­tu­nity for them to save money,” said Steven Polzin, pro­gram di­rec­tor for mo­bil­ity pol­icy re­search at the Cen­ter for Ur­ban Trans­porta­tion Re­search, Univer­sity of South Flor­ida. “If you’re on the mar­gins, or you’re an in­fre­quent user, then you might not want to.”

What do you get with Lyft’s plan?

Lyft’s All-Ac­cess Plan, avail­able na­tion­wide, costs $299 and al­lows you to take 30 trips val­ued at up to $15 over 30 days. If a ride goes over $15, you pay the dif­fer­ence. After the first 30 trips, you get 5 per­cent off any

RIDE >> PAGE 7

RICHARD VO­GEL - AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

In this Jan. 12, 2016 file photo, a ride share car dis­plays Lyft and Uber stick­ers on its front wind­shield in down­town Los An­ge­les.

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