Uber Rolls out Monthly Subscription Service, Aims at Lyft by Taking Unique Approach

Uber hopes to earn customers' favor by offering a different method for monthly ride-hailing subscriptions.

AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

Uber is joining rival Lyft in offering a monthly subscription service—that being said, Uber's version, called Ride Pass, differs from Lyft in a few key ways.

Ride Pass is only available in five U.S. cities, while Lyft's subscription service is available nationwide. Riders pay $14.99 a month in Austin, Denver, Miami, and Orlando, and $24.99 a month in Los Angeles. For that price, customers get an unlimited amount of rides at a discounted rate. Uber claims riders can save up to 15 percent based on historical data.

Riders can sign up via the Uber app, where they can also track their savings and see when they need to renew (the subscription can also be set to auto-renew). Customers can cancel anytime, but they won't get a refund if they cancel in the middle of the month. Drivers get the same pay as a regularly-priced ride; Uber covers the difference.

As the info proves, Ride Pass is set up differently from Lyft's subscription service. Lyft's "all-access plan" is more expensive (it starts at $299 a month), and does not include unlimited rides. Customers get 30 rides costing up to $15 each. Those 30 rides must be used within 30 days, as they don't roll over to the next month. Customers must also pay the difference if a ride ends up costing more than $15.

In addition to ride-hailing, Los Angeles residents get access to Uber's Jump bicycles and scooters for free, which might explain why Angelenos have to pay more for their subscriptions. Lyft doesn't include bike or scooter rides with subscriptions in any city.

Uber has been testing subscriptions on and off for at least two years, according to The Verge. The company previously launched Uber Plus, offering customers in certain cities 20 to 40 rides at reduced rates for $20 a month. Uber then ramped things up with pilot programs in 25 cities. However, now that Lyft has gone all-in on a subscription service, Uber is likely obliged to do the same.

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