Lyft and Uber try to persuade commuters to give up their cars with new monthly passes

Nov 19, 2018, 2:51 PM
A Lyft car, with the trademark pink mustache, rolls down the streets. (Jeff Chiu, Associated Press)...
A Lyft car, with the trademark pink mustache, rolls down the streets. (Jeff Chiu, Associated Press)
(Jeff Chiu, Associated Press)

Lyft and Uber are pushing out new programs that they hope will turn their ride share programs into viable alternatives to owning a car. Both companies unveiled monthly passes in October, allowing customers to pay a set fee for a free pass to drive anywhere they like.

They’re hoping that the lower costs of a monthly pass will convince commuters to ditch their cars and rely on their drivers to take them everywhere they want to go.

But when you add up the costs, are these monthly passes really worth it?

The real cost of a Lyft Pass

Lyft Pass Driver

A Lyft driver in Salt Lake City. Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

Lyft’s program, called the Lyft Pass, advertises that, for $299 a month, commuters can take 30 free rides around their city.

On the surface, that seems like a good deal. According to Nerdwallet, the average monthly payment on a new car is $523, and that price is only a small part of a massive expense. Gas, insurance, repairs, and other costs, they say, add an average of $706 to that bill every single month.

But the Lyft Pass might not be quite as cheap as it seems. The program only covers 30 rides of up to $15 each per month, with a 5 percent discount on every ride after that.

That means that, if your commute is much more than 5 miles, you’re going to paying out-of-pocket for the extra distance. And with only 30 rides a month, the Lyft Pass doesn’t offer enough rides for a full-time employee to get to work and back each day.

At best, then, a Lyft Pass will just shave $150 off of what would otherwise be a $450 expense. That might be enough to make it cheaper than driving for some people, but it won’t be for everybody.

Uber’s equivalent, the Ride Pass, takes a slightly different approach, offering discounts instead of free rides. For $14.99 a month (or $24.99 a month in LA), their Ride Pass offers discounts of up to 15 percent on each ride.

For the time being, however, the Uber Ride Pass is only available in Los Angeles, Austin, Orlando, Denver, and Miami. For those of us in Utah, then, it simply isn’t an option.

Is it worth it?

Even if you can save a few dollars with Lyft Pass, is it worth giving up the freedom of the driver’s seat?

That’s an issue Dave & Dujanovic talked about on the air. Debbie Dujanovic says she couldn’t imagine relying on a ride share program to get around, but Dave Noriega says that the only reason people don’t jump on ideas like this one is that we’re “addicted to cars”.

If you missed the show live, you can still hear everything they had to say on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on Google Play Music

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Lyft and Uber try to persuade commuters to give up their cars with new monthly passes