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Catching an Uber can be a convenient way to get around town. You don’t have to wait like you would for public transit, you don’t have to deal with parking like you would with a car, and you don’t have to pay the high fares like you would with a taxi. Altogether, it’s a convenient, cost-effective experience.
Well, at least, it’s cost-effective most of the time. The one issue you can run into with Uber is that the fares can be unpredictable. Unlike public transit, where the fares are flat rates, or taxis, where the fare is based on a meter, Uber calculates fares using factors such as demand, weather conditions, and time of day.
In extreme cases, riders can find themselves paying hefty surge prices that can make fares double or even triple what they’d be otherwise. In response to passenger complaints about this policy, Uber has introduced a new plan that aims to make surge pricing a thing of the past. It’s called the Uber Ride Pass, and it lets you take all your UberX and UberPOOL trips for a flat rate. In exchange, you pay a monthly fee.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at how Uber Ride Pass works, where it’s available, and how you can get started using it today.
- What Is Uber Ride Pass?
- Where Is Uber Ride Pass Available?
- How Much Does Uber Ride Pass Cost?
- How Do You Sign Up for Uber Ride Pass?
- Uber Ride Pass FAQ
What Is Uber Ride Pass?
Uber Ride Pass is a subscription service. Much like Amazon Prime, it offers additional discounts on an existing service in exchange for a fee. Just as anyone can use Amazon even without a Prime membership, so can anyone use Uber without Uber Ride Pass. But in exchange for paying a bit extra, you get a discount that (you hope) is worth the extra cost.
Specifically, Uber Ride Pass offers riders up to 15 percent off regular ride fares, as well as the guarantee that they’ll never have to pay surge prices. So how can Uber offer to do this at all? The company claims to use historical data to calculate the cost of each ride. This way, they can set a price that still takes into account factors such as distance and ride time.
To be clear, the “flat rates” that Uber offers do not mean that every ride you take will be the same price. The price will still vary based on the ride distance and time. The difference with Uber Ride Pass is that you won’t pay extra because of high demand, bad weather, or busy traffic conditions. Essentially, you’re paying an extra fee to opt out of dynamic pricing, making Uber function more like a traditional taxi service in the way it prices rides (though with the same low prices and convenience that set the company apart from taxi services).
Where Is Uber Ride Pass Available?
Uber Ride Pass is currently available in a limited number of cities across America. Assuming the program is successful, Uber will likely expand it to other cities as it makes sense to do so. For the moment, however, Uber Ride Pass is only available in the following places:
- Los Angeles
You don’t have to be a resident of any of these cities to get Uber Ride Pass, but you do have to be physically present in the city to use the pass. Likewise, being a resident of one of these cities doesn’t mean that the discount will apply to you if you travel to another city; Ride Pass only functions in the city where you purchased it.
How Much Does Uber Ride Pass Cost?
Uber’s monthly subscription service varies in price based on your city. In Austin, Denver, Miami, and Orlando, it costs $14.99 per month. In Los Angeles, it costs $24.99 per month. The extra cost in Los Angeles, however, claims to come with free access to JUMP, Uber’s scooter and e-bike service.
Once you set the service up (see the next section to learn how), Uber will automatically charge your credit card each month. You can opt out of the subscription plan at any time, though you have to go into the app and do this manually. Otherwise, Uber will keep charging you each month.
How Do You Sign Up for Uber Ride Pass?
Signing up for Uber Ride Pass is simple. The first step is to verify that you are physically located in a city where Ride Pass is available. Assuming this is true, you can sign up using the Uber app.
Just follow these steps:
- Open the Uber app and go to the menu (click on the three bars in the upper lefthand corner).
- Tap on “Ride Pass.”
- Tap “Get A Pass.”
- Confirm the credit card you want to use to pay for your subscription (Uber chooses your default payment method unless you specify otherwise).
- Tap “Buy” to complete the transaction.
Congrats! You’re now a Ride Pass subscriber, and you can stop worrying about the unwelcome surprise of additional costs when you go to take your next Uber ride.
Frequently Asked Questions About Uber Ride Pass
To conclude this guide, we’d like to address some common questions people have about Uber Ride Pass. Since the service is still new, it’s understandable that people have questions. Let’s answer them.
1. Is Uber Ride Pass worth it?
This depends on your situation. If you use Uber on a regular basis, then the plan is probably worth the cost. We think it’s an especially good deal if you regularly use Uber during times when demand is high. For instance, if you use Uber to take your daily commute or to go to and from bars on the weekends, you’ll probably save money through using Ride Pass.
If you’ve ever paid a high surge price, then you can see how Ride Pass can save you serious money. Paying a single surge fare that costs an extra $15 is not unheard of during times of peak demand on weekend nights, so Ride Pass could pay for itself with just one ride.
On the other hand, if you’re someone that just uses Uber once every couple months to get to the airport, then Ride Pass is probably not worth your money. The service starts to make financial sense only when you regularly use Uber.
2. Does Ride Pass work in multiple cities?
At the moment, no. Even though the pricing for Ride Pass is the same across all cities except Los Angeles, each subscription is tied to the city where you signed up for it. It would be nice if Uber changed this policy in the future, but we don’t expect it to change at this stage while Uber is still testing the program.
3. Does Lyft offer an equivalent to Uber Ride Pass?
Sort of. Lyft has been piloting its own subscription program in select cities by invitation only, but the Lyft subscription uses a different model. While Uber offers flat rates on unlimited rides in exchange for a subscription fee, Lyft’s plan offers a set number of rides per month for one (higher) monthly fee.
The most common version of this plan (which Lyft calls an All-Access Plan) seems to be 30 rides per month for $299 per month, though details of the plan vary from city to city and are still unofficial while Lyft tests the program.
Use Uber Ride Pass to Get Discounts on Your Everyday Transportation Needs
We hope you now see the benefits that Uber Ride Pass can offer you as an Uber rider. You’ll have to decide for yourself if these additional benefits are worth the extra cost, but you should now know how to use and sign up for the program.
For more ways to save money on Uber rides (without spending any money), check out our guide to Uber promo codes for existing users.
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.