Last week at a press event, Lyft CEO Logan Green announced that ride-sharing service Lyft was testing all-access subscription plans for high-frequency users, reports The Verge. Pricing for all-access passes starts at $199 a month. For example, a pass for 30 rides may range in price from $199 to $300 a month. A pass for 60 rides is $399 a month. Rides included in the all-access pass are those priced at $15 and under. It is not clear how pricing would work for rides that would normally cost more than $15.
‘We are going to move the entire industry from one based on ownership to one based on subscription,’ said Green.
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Initial testing is being done on all invitation-only basis. In the invitation, Lyft promises ‘no surprises.’
‘We’re always testing new ways to provide passengers the most affordable and flexible transportation options,’ said a spokesperson in a statement. ‘For the past few months, we’ve been testing a variety of All-Access Plans for Lyft passengers.’
Many media outlets have picked up the story including Digital Trends, The Verge, TechCrunch, Mashable and Mac Rumors. It isn’t the first ride-sharing service to try the subscription model. In September 2016, Uber announced it was testing subscriptions through a product called Uber Plus in six U.S. cities: Boston, Miami, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. A number of restrictions applied to the Uber subscriptions, however. When we last checked – May 2017 – it appeared that only Boston and Washington, D.C. still offered the service. An online search for Uber Plus on Uber.com and on previous links did not yield any results, so it is not known if the company is still testing subscriptions.
In other Lyft news, The Verge reports that Lyft is working with automotive supplier Magna to build self-driving cars. Magna will invest $200 million in Lyft as the companies partner to create self-driving systems that can be produced at scale, The Verge says.
Lyft describes its vision for self-driving cars on their website.
‘We can change transportation together,’ Lyft says. ‘Ridesharing has already begun to better people’s lives. Now, self-driving cars will improve society by making streets safer, cities healthier, and traffic a thing of the past.’
Lyft says it will bring self-driving cars to their network in phases, starting with Boston.
How big is ridesharing? According to Statista and Goldman Sachs, in 2016, ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft earned $35.6 billion in gross revenue. Uber was the top earner with $20 billion in revenue. Didi Chuxing, based in China, was #2. It is estimated that gross revenue in U.S. dollars will grow to $285 billion by 2030.
Ridesharing will continue to grow and other players are likely to join the market. Uber and Lyft will continue to compete with each other in terms of products, services and markets but also in terms of new technological advances and perhaps pricing models. Because pricing is variable based on a number of factors, it is difficult to tell whether a subscription model can work for a ridesharing company. Uber doesn’t seem to have been successful thus far, but it seems like a subscription program could prove mutually beneficial. Ridesharing companies like Lyft build customer loyalty and receive recurring revenue while customers save money. It will be interesting to watch how Lyft’s test goes and how they will adapt the program to meet their customers’ needs.