Uber Plus Offers Flat-Rate Uber Pricing For A Fee

Uber is frequently tweaking around their pricing in test markets as a way of figuring out what does and doesn’t work, and it looks like they’re rolling out an interesting new offering in select markets.

It’s called Uber Plus, and allows you to essentially purchase fixed price rides in select markets for a monthly fee. Eligible cities for the month of September include Boston, Miami, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.

Let me explain, in the form of an example. Let’s look at Uber Plus in Seattle.

For the month of September you can pay $49, and then you’ll receive flat-rate uberPOOL rides for $3, or flat rate uberX rides for $8.

Uber-Seattle

There are a few restrictions, though:

  • You’re limited to 20 rides
  • This is only valid in a designated zone
  • The flat rate rides cover rides that retail for up to $25, so you’d be charged the difference in fare for any ride that costs more than that

Uber-Plus-Pricing

This certainly has the potential to be a good deal. If you divide the $49 monthly fee by 20 rides, that comes out to $2.45 per ride. That means you’re essentially paying $5.45 for flat rate uberPOOL rides, or $10.45 for flat rate uberX rides.

Now in theory you could certainly get outsized value there — after all, the pass is valid for rides of up to $25. However, in practice a vast majority of people won’t average anywhere close to $25 of retail cost per ride, and many probably won’t even use all 20 rides.

As a point of reference, here’s uberX pricing in Seattle:

Uber-Seattle-Pricing

Even if you use all 20 rides, if you’re someone who usually just drives a couple of miles, you’ll probably come out behind using this plan, since your uberX ride would likely cost less than $10.45.

At the same time, if you’re someone who is trying to budget, there’s something to be said for the reliable and consistent pricing offered by this plan, where you know exactly how much you’ll pay upfront.

I suspect the risk and reward of this lies entirely with Uber corporate, rather than the individual drivers. They’re likely still paid the same, regardless of whether Uber wins or loses on an individual ride.

So while I commend Uber for their creativity, it sure seems like there are a very limited set of circumstances where this makes sense.

What do you make of Uber Plus fixed cost pricing?

(Tip of the hat to Doctor of Credit)

Comments

  1. It makes much more sense in SF — $20 for 20 rides or $30 for 40 rides. A normal Pool ride costs $4.75, so if Uber is your primary method of transportation it brings down the cost to $3/ride (or less on the 40 ride plan). Paired with the Quicksilver (saving free rides for SFO trips not covered by Plus), it ends up being a great deal.

  2. In Boston and DC, I use Uber every day, using easily 50 rides a month. Its a faster method of transportation than the subway, more reliable and predictable, and at a similar cost.

    Looking at the Boston Uber Plus plan, I pay $75 for up to 40 Uber Pool rides at $2 a ride. Boston does not offer UberX pricing on its Uber Plus package for September.

    So each ride costs:
    1. Fare paid per ride of $2;
    2. Plus $1.88 ($75/40 rides);
    3. Total of $3.88 per ride if you take the 75 rides.

    In the Boston area, for example, you can go from downtown Boston to Dorchester in the included Uber Plus package zone. This trip, without the pass, might cost you $8 to $10 with the regular Uber Pool non package prices.

    Lets also look at Washington DC:
    1. Package offers $1 UberPool rides;
    2. Package is $30 for 20 rides so a per ride cost of $1.50 which pays for the package fee portion on a per ride basis;
    3. Total cost per ride of $2.50 for an Uber Pool ride in the DC zone.

    A typical trip on Uber Pool lets say from DCA to Pentagon City or even Crystal City would run about $9 to $11 using the nonpackage Uber pool rates. So you are getting that ride for $2.50 under the package deal.

    Even if you only used 10 rides out of the 20:
    Per ride fare: $1
    Added cost of the package over 10 rides: $3 ($30/10 uses)
    Per Ride Total Cost: $4.00 which is still better than the non package rate of $9 to $11 for that Uber pool trip out of DCA.

    The Uber Plus plan also protects you from surge unless the amount goes over $20 or $25 per ride; which is rare for an in zone Uber Pool ride.

    So you could go out at a peak time on Friday or Saturday night and largely be protected from surge pricing; I know they don’t call it surge pricing anymore but you know what I mean.

    Also even if you take short trips, and there is any sort of surge, you may very well come out ahead with the Uber Plus package.

  3. Here in DC it has been very, very helpful, especially in light of our miserable as of late Metro system. The cost is $30.00 plus $1.00 for Pool and $9 for UberX. For me, many of the Pool rides I took last month (they ran this promotion in DC in August as well) would have been nearly $20.00 each way because of Surge Pricing, and even when taking the money spent on the pass beforehand into account, the cost of $1.00 rides were less (and quicker) than taking public transit. DC a small city geographically, so you can essentially get most places you need to go (even in the immediate suburbs) with the pass (it is good for the first $25.00 of a ride). Additionally, there were many times I was the only Pool rider in the car so it was like having an UberX ride for much less than one would cost.

  4. This Uber Plus (used to be called Pool Pass) is one of the most exciting new product or service developments for me in 2016!

  5. ..wait i thought the 40$ for the pass included the fare and that it broke down to $2 per ride ($40/20 rides) I didn’t realize I had to pay $2 on top of the pass ($4 total) i have been taking uber pool in boston to and from work for the last week and a half and pay between 2.70-4.00. Definitely getting a raw deal. I wonder if they can refund me.

  6. I, too, have enjoyed the limited area $30 DC deal, providing 20 $1 rides in DC, Arlington and parts of Alexandria. It was an August promotion and I seldom had to share an UberPool – I basically had a chauffeur. I rather suspect that Uber made no money and lost a bunch, but gained market research from the promotion.

    I am certain Uber will continue promotions designed to permit them real life market data.

  7. I don’t know about other cities but here in NYC, Uber has been giving VIP riders 50% off on Pool and UberX rides for the past few weeks. While it’s most definitely effective marketing psychology (I’m using Uber more than I have since winter) it’s hard to beat a 2.00 ride across town during rush hour.

  8. @Jeff Yes, we still get paid the full fare amount we would have received regardless of what the rider is charged. Pool Pass/UberPlus has really helped with demand, at least in Boston 🙂

  9. I purchased the $10 flat fare for 10 rides at $1.99 for pool or $5.99 for Uber Plus, but nothing I book is in the “qualifying area”. So not working for me…

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