Are you wondering what the hype is with Alto, the newest rideshare company on the block?
Alto is a luxury black car rideshare, hitting the streets in 2018.
It’s a direct competitor of Uber Black and Lyft Lux, and this rideshare company is her to play the game.
Headquartered in Dallas Fort Worth area, Alto has quickly grown to become one of the most innovative rideshare companies.
We’ll take a look at what this newbie has to offer and break down the Alto rideshare pricing, plus take a look at how this rideshare stacks up with Uber and Lyft.
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So how much can you expect to spend when you charter demand rides with this luxury rideshare company?
According to an article in Forbes, the price usually falls somewhere between UberX and Uber Black.
But that still doesn’t give us too many specifics, so let’s look at how the price of an Alto ride is actually calculated.
Alto Rideshare Pricing for Members
Alto operates best with a membership.
Prices are divided into member and non-member pricing.
Members can join at one of three levels for a monthly or annual fee.
After that, members receive a 30% discount on every ride they book.
People can sign up for membership in the Alto app and try it for free for the first 30 days.
Alto membership comes with many other perks, like free rides and priority booking.
Alto Rideshare Pricing for Non-Members
But what about those who aren’t interested in membership? What kind of costs can non-members expect?
The true answer, of course, is that it depends.
Like booking with Uber and Lyft, Alto’s total charge will depend on where you want to go, how far you’re going, and what time you’re heading there.
Unlike Uber and Lyft, Alto doesn’t do surge pricing, so the price you see quoted is what you can expect to pay.
You can get a general idea of Alto’s actual fares using the Alto app or the Fare Estimator on the website.
Word to the wise: the Fare Estimator will quote you at the member rate and doesn’t include Alto’s 18% service fee.
Alto’s pricing varies by city, but the basic pricing matrix seems pretty consistent.
Let’s look at what factors and fees go into the total price and what you can expect to pay.
All Alto rides, whether for members or non-members, have a base fare.
Predictably, the base fare is less for members than for non-members.
For example, Alto’s Washington, DC members pay a base fare of $5.50, whereas non-members pay $7 per ride.
Alto charges a minimum price of $14 per ride.
So even though your base fare might be half of that, you’ll need to hit that minimum amount for an Alto driver to take the job and pick you up.
Alto also charges a waiting fee by the minute, which varies depending on location and whether the ride is pre-planned.
Fun fact: every single Alto driver is actually a W 2 employee, not an independent contractor.
This means that Alto drivers get employee benefits such as healthcare, sick leave, and paid time off.
Alto passes these expenses along in the form of an 18% surcharge on every ride, member or not.
Per Minute Fee
On top of the base fare and service charges, Alto also charges by the minute.
Per-minute rates vary according to membership status, service area, and whether or not the ride was prescheduled.
Washington DC members pay $0.55, while non-members pay $0.64.
Preplanned rides, regardless of membership status, are $0.60 per minute.
Per Mile Fee
And last but not least, Alto factors in the distance when calculating your total fare.
In Washington, DC, for example, rides are $2.50 per mile for members and $3 per mile for guests.
Alto’s total fare calculations can get complicated, but the basic inputs are the base fare, the service charge, and the per-mile and per-minute fee.
You can read more about the specifics of Alto’s fare calculations here.
Given all the costs factored into your fare, it pays to sign up as an Alto member, especially if you regularly plan to use the service.
According to Alto, members save an average of 30% on each ride plus get access to tons of other perks.
The savings can really add up.
Alto has three membership plans—Monthly, Annually, and Family. Each plan comes when Alto’s basic membership perks and an additional subscription fee.
The Monthly plan at $12.95 is Alto’s most popular option, and let’s face it, for an on-demand black car service, that’s a pretty reasonable price.
The next step up is Annually.
Subscribers at this level get the most bang for their buck, with a total of around $8.50 for the elevated Alto experience.
Subscribers can also join at the Family level, which allows you to add more folks at the annual price plus an additional $25.
Do You Tip Alto Rideshare Drivers?
Unlike Uber and Lyft, there’s no need to tip your Alto driver.
Since your Alto driver is a W-2 employee, they already receive a set hourly wage plus expected employee benefits, such as healthcare and paid time off.
The 18% service charge that Alto adds to your total bill is the “tip,” in that Alto says this fee is what goes towards funding employee benefits and the like.
As you’re probably realized from the “elevated” appeal, Alto rides will be more expensive than your standard Uber or Lyft ride.
The real trick is to compare Alto to UberX, Uber Black or Lyft Lux, or Lux Black and see which comes out on top.
We compared two well-known Houston addresses in Alto’s home state of Texas.
According to Google, the drive between the Intel Corporation office and The Galleria shopping center is a four-mile trip.
Depending on the time of the day, it can take you between 8-30 minutes to get there.
Let’s look at how each of these rideshare companies handles the drive.
Alto Rideshare vs. Uber Cost
Alto’s Fare Estimator quoted us $15-$18 for this short trip, but hold up.
The fare estimates are based on member pricing, and they don’t include the 18% service charge added on to all Alto rides.
So the adjusted price is actually $21.12-$27.62.
How does that compare to Uber? UberX, a “high-end ride,” quotes us at $10.94.
Uber Black estimates $30.70
Uber cost: fare pricing, rates, cost estimates and more
Alto Rideshare vs. Lyft Cost
Based on member pricing, Alto’s estimate is $15-$18 for this four-mile trip.
Using the adjusted price of $21.12-$27.62, this still stacks up reasonably well with Lyft’s options.
Lyft Lux estimates $20-$25 for the trip, and Lyft Lux Black is $30-$35.
Lyft cost: rates, fare pricing, fees & more
So what can we conclude about Alto rideshare pricing?
Well, Alto isn’t going to be the cheapest option, but they’re also not trying to be.
As a luxury rideshare service, Alto offers its customers consistency and reliability at an elevated level.
Alto has gone a long way in filling a gap that Uber and Lyft sometimes leave wanting.
One thing is for sure: this innovative startup has certainly shaken up the rideshare industry.