Ride-hailing subscriptions: Are they worth it?
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
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In this Jan. 12, 2016 file photo, a ride share car displays Lyft and Uber stickers on its front windshield in downtown Los Angeles.