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Uber is a very convenient service, offering on-demand rides at a much cheaper price than you’d pay for a taxi. Still, the service isn’t free, and the costs can add up for frequent riders. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to lower your costs for Uber rides, or at least a way to make them more predictable?
In certain markets, such a service exists. It’s called “Ride Pass,” and it allows riders to get a discount on their Uber rides after they pay an activation fee. Let’s take a look at how this service works, how to access it, and how to know if it’s available in your city.
- Uber Ride Pass: Apply Public Transit Pricing to Rideshare
- How Much Does Uber Ride Pass Cost?
- Where Is Uber Flat Rate Pricing Available?
- How to Use Uber Ride Pass
- Uber Ride Pass Alternatives
The idea of flat rate fares for transit is not new. It’s existed for a long time in the form of flat fares for public transit. You have a published set of rates, and you only pay those, no matter how high the demand is for transit services. Uber Ride Pass represents a promising movement in this direction, though it’s not quite as straightforward.
For one thing, there’s no published table of rates. The rates vary based on your city, assuming flat rate pricing is available at all. Also, there’s no governmental authority accountable for controlling the prices. As a private company, Uber is free to set and change its rates however it wants. Even so, the very prospect of flat rate-priced rideshare is interesting enough to warrant further exploration.
As we alluded to in the previous section, there’s no clear information available on the pricing for Uber Ride Pass. All that Uber has to say on the subject is the following:
“A ride pass unlocks benefits such as discounts on eligible rides through payment of a one-time activation fee. Ride passes are still in testing and are available to only a limited number of riders each month. Ride passes are limited time offers.”
They don’t mention how much the pass costs or how much of a discount it gives the people who receive it. We suspect, however, that one of the main ways to get access to this pricing is through maintaining a high passenger rating. Being a frequent rider would also be a reason that would make sense for Uber to offer you flat rates, since they’d benefit you more than someone who just uses Uber once per week.
The availability of flat rate pricing is another subject on which Uber is frustratingly silent. We do know, however, where this service has been available in the past. Here are a few cities where people have received Uber Ride Pass offers. Note that just because the service was available in a city at one point in the past, that doesn’t mean it’s currently available there:
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Washington, D.C.
- Los Angeles
- New York City
As you can see, ride pass is currently available only in U.S. cities. This could change in the future, however, so it’s worth keeping an eye on your app and email account you use for Uber to see if Uber sends you any flat rate promotions.
While Uber is cryptic about where Ride Pass is available, they do provide some information on how to use it: “If you purchased a ride pass, check your ride pass details anytime under Ride Pass in your Uber app menu.”
Note that you won’t see this option unless Uber has invited you to use this offer. You’ll also need to make sure you pay the one-time activation fee (the amount of which will vary based on your market, assuming Ride Pass is available). It’s not the most straightforward process out there, but it’s somewhat understandable considering it’s an experimental program. We hope there will be more information available on Uber’s site in the future.
What do you do if you haven’t been invited to Ride Pass? Is there a way to get an invite?
At this point, there is not. Uber has to invite you directly. Other passengers can’t refer you to the program, so there’s not much you can do to control it.
However, there are some other options you can consider if you want to reduce the amount you spend on Uber rides. To start, you can look into using UberPOOL. With this service, you pay a lower fare in exchange for sharing the ride with other passengers and making additional stops.
In all other respects, UberPOOL is like a regular UberX ride, with the same drivers and vehicles. It can take a bit longer than UberX, since you may have to make additional stops. In some cases, however, you may end up being the only person on the route. If this happens, you’ll still pay the same low rate you would have if you’d shared the ride with another passenger or passengers.
If you’d like to get the same low prices as UberPOOL but prefer Lyft, then we recommend you check out Lyft Line. It follows the same principle, and you can learn more about it here.
Uber Ride Pass: A Promising Direction
The idea of paying a flat rate for each Uber ride you take is very appealing, and Uber Ride Pass shows that the company is actively testing the idea. However, the project is too sparsely available in its current form to be useful to most Uber riders. We hope that Uber and Lyft will experiment further with programs like this in the future, as they could help take some of the unpredictability out of rideshare.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.