Lyft is testing monthly subscription plans for high-frequency users, a sign that the company is shifting toward a Netflix or Spotify model for transportation.
The terms of the subscription models seem to vary, but appear targeted at users who spend up to $450 on ride-hailing a month. One all-access pass offered up to 30 standard Lyft rides for $199 a month, another was priced at $300, and another at $399 for 60 rides. Individual rides up to $15 were covered under the all-access pass. It wasn’t immediately clear how users would be charged for rides that exceed $15.
Lyft CEO Logan Green mentioned these subscription plans were the future of his company during a press event Wednesday to announce a partnership with auto parts producer Magna to build self-driving cars. “We are going to move the entire industry from one based on ownership to one based on subscription,” he said.
Transportation reporters: Lyft just invited me to a $199 per month all access plan... "With an All-Access Plan, you pay $199 each month and your standard Lyft rides are free (up to $15). "— Janko Roettgers (@jank0) March 15, 2018
This Lyft subscription plan seems geared only to the most frequent users, folks who’d otherwise spend $450/month on ride-hailing pic.twitter.com/Ngzsl6S6JG— Greg Bensinger (@GregBensinger) March 15, 2018
According to Green, a subscription to Lyft could cost something along the lines of $200, which gets you 1,000 miles of traveling around. “You rely on the Lyft network for all your transportation needs,” he said.
Uber tested its own subscription service in a number of cities in 2016, but its unclear whether that experiment went anywhere.
Lyft often fancies itself a think tank with big ideas about the future of transportation. Green and Lyft’s president John Zimmer have released policy papers predicting the end of personal car ownership in major cities by 2025, and calling for more people to carpool by charging a fee to those who don’t. Recently they advocated for American households to sell their second cars as a way to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions. Of course, all of these high-minded policy prescriptions also include the unspoken recommendation to spend more money on Lyft rides.
Update March 15th, 6:37pm ET: A Lyft spokesperson said that the company had been testing all-access passes for several months now. “We’re always testing new ways to provide passengers the most affordable and flexible transportation options,” the spokesperson said. “For the past few months, we’ve been testing a variety of All-Access Plans for Lyft passengers.”