While city leaders and transportation planners are taking a closer look at how ride-hailing services are impacting urban traffic, Lyft wants to make it easier for users to book trips ahead of time.
The company’s new Personal Plan, which rolls out today to a select group of users, will allow riders to lock-in prices for trips to frequent destinations, as long as the fare is under $25 each way.
According to a spokesperson, Lyft’s new subscription isn’t aimed at changing passenger habits per se, or being promoted as a way to increase network efficiency to lower emissions, but rather meant to give riders the option to lock in a consistent price for the places they’re headed to and from on a daily basis.
Users can set up their top routes, such as their commute to work or a trip to the nearest train station, and lock in a set price that won’t change, despite surges or other busy times. Users will also need to pay a small fee to lock in the fixed price.
Lyft had already been testing an all-access subscription plan, which provided users with a fixed number of rides per month for a flat fee ranging between $199 to $399, depending on the frequency of use.
Today’s rollout offers a more limited service that would appear to promote more prime-time travel and allow users to plan ahead.
Would this type of offer provide a more cost-effective commute to work, and perhaps pull more commuters away from public transit and toward Lyft? It does seem like another step in the company’s plan to become a full mobility service that replaces traditional car ownership. And by reducing overall costs for riders, could help low-income users utilize the service without the unpredictability of surge pricing.
The new service option comes after Lyft’s founders announced their goals to “decouple people’s right to mobility from car ownership,” part of a broad strategic reevaluation after the company purchased Motivate, the country’s largest bike-share operator.