How a rideshare subscription changed how I get around
Rideshare services offer unprecedented convenience and savings. And they’re starting to offer even more options, such as subscription services. These allow customers to prepay for packages that give them access to a set number of rides for a designated period of time. Uber and Lyft are both currently piloting subscription-based models in test markets. Uber offers a ride pass, which usually expires after 28 days and is currently available in select U.S. cities. Lyft is also testing a monthly subscription plan in select cities. They are A/B testing, which means they are testing the same subscription service at two different price points to see what consumers are willing to pay.
I am a heavy user of rideshare services. I tend to app-switch between Uber and Lyft to find the best price. I usually opt to take Pools or Lines as they are cheaper and tend to get me where I need to be in a somewhat reasonable time (this varies). While I’ve never felt like I use rideshare excessively, I’ve been curious to try a subscription service. I have friends who’ve been invited to test subscriptions, but I’ve been patiently waiting to get the “exclusive” invite. It finally came to my inbox April 1, and the deal was no joke. The offer? $135 for 30 Lyft Line rides up to $10 in value for one month. This seemed like a great deal, but I did the math to make sure.
The month before, I used both Uber and Lyft 39 times total. Overall, I spent $290 on rideshare. Yes, you read that correctly. Of these rides, only a handful were over $10. So, I thought if I could decrease my monthly total by just nine rides, opt solely for Lyft Lines and try my best to keep them below $10, I could save money. Then I could determine if a subscription rideshare service would be my best option moving forward – and hope the same pricing structure continues past April!
The month is not over yet, but here is what I’ve experienced so far:
- No more app-switching
Instead of switching between the two rideshare apps as I used to, I only choose Lyft — because I’ve already paid to use it. At the beginning of the month, I moved the Lyft app to my first screen on my iPhone so it was front and center when I went to order a ride.
- I plan ahead and complement rideshare with public transportation
Additionally, I’m planning ahead to ensure I can always choose Lyft Line instead of a regular Lyft. I’m more thoughtful about how I get around. I know that I only have 30 rides available in the subscription, so I’m trying to average no more than one ride per day. On weekends, I tend to use the service more frequently, so I try to make sure I don’t take a Lyft every weekday. I usually use public transportation or walk during the week anyway.
- I (sometimes) use the service when I wouldn’t typically do so
If you saw a line of 20+ people standing outside of the El station waiting to get in, would you stand in said line? This is not a typical sight in Chicago, even during rush hour, but when I walked up to the Blue Line Clark/Lake stop at 5 p.m. on Monday, this is what I saw. So even though I usually take the El to and from work each day, I immediately opened my Lyft and ordered a Line. It was under $10 (about half of that actually) so it was applied to my subscription, and I didn’t have to endure whatever potential misfortune everyone else in line likely had to experience.
- It’s working – so far!
I’m 10 days into the month, and I have used 11 rides so far. Each ride has been a Lyft Line and all have been under $10 — so I haven’t spent any additional money outside of the subscription, and I’m on track with my usage. However, I have a trip to Austin, TX, coming up. Rides to and from the airport alone tend to be between $20-30 from my home. I also can technically use my subscription in “any city where Lyft Line is available”, which includes Austin, but I am traveling with two friends and cannot order a Line for three people (the max is two). For this reason, I likely cannot take advantage of my subscription during my four-day trip. I can possibly take the El to the airport, though my Friday morning flight leaves at 5 a.m., and the El at 3 a.m. is not generally a pleasant sight. Additionally, I can still use Lyft while I am in Austin, but I assume I may go back to my normal app-switching behavior when I know that the subscription cannot be used anyway. Time will tell!
To be continued…