Uber Introduce Prepaid-Style Ride Service

“Uber Plus” upfront payment can be as low as $20 for a package of 20 to 40 trips at reduced flat fare prices.

Starting this week, Uber has opened availability for its new beta program currently called “Uber Plus” in six cities: San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Miami, Boston, and Washington D.C. The program’s cost varies by city, but the upfront payment can be as low as $20 for a package of 20 to 40 trips at reduced flat fare prices (and no surge pricing) in September.

Only select users will have access to sign-up for the “Uber Plus” service, although entry is first-come, first-serve. Because it’s a beta test only for next month, Uber hasn’t formally announced the program, but the details are on the company’s website:

  • In Boston the program only works with UberPool: $40 gets you 20 rides at $2 a piece, $75 gets you 40 rides at that price.
  • In DC, it’s $30 for 20 trips. Those can be either $1 UberPool rides or $9 UberX.
  • Same structure in San Diego, but different prices. $20 buys 20 trips at $3 per UberPool and $6 per UberX.
  • Miami offers only a $30 package, good for 20 UberX rides at $5 each.
  • San Francisco has two packages: $20 for 20 trips or $30 for 40 trips. Each UberPool is $2 and each UberX is $7.
  • Finally, in Seattle a $49 package reserves 20 trips at fares of $3 for UberPool and $8 for UberX.

Such prices may be especially attractive to users who already take Uber or its competitor Lyft dozens of times in a given month, for example as a primary commuting option. 20 UberPool trips in San Francisco would only cost an “Uber Plus” user on the smaller plan $3 per ride, an incredibly low price.

Those unit economics seemingly would cause Uber to lose money on every ride, but perhaps that is a worthwhile trade-off to win power users over as daily customers.

Amazon has shown the power a membership cost plus free shipping can have on user behavior, encouraging shoppers to search for products there first and buy more than they would normally. -Forbes

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