iOS and Android ride-hailing app Lyft has begun testing monthly subscription plans for “high-frequency users,” in a style comparable to services like Netflix, Apple Music, and MoviePass.
According to The Verge, the terms of each “All-Access Plan” vary and an overall detailed report from Lyft has yet to come out, but prices appear to start at $200/month for 30 standard Lyft rides. Standard rides are defined as those costing up to $15 for each ride. Higher tiers are priced at $250, $300, and one for $400/month provides 60 rides.
Images of the ads for All-Access Plans promote “predictable pricing,” the ability to cancel anytime, and auto-renew payments.
Lyft CEO Logan Green discussed the new subscription plans this week, saying, “We are going to move the entire industry from one based on ownership to one based on subscription.” As is typical for these tests, it’s still unclear if and when Lyft will launch subscription plans for all of its users.
“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.”
Lyft recently expanded to Toronto at the end of 2017, which marked the company’s first market outside of the United States. Earlier in 2017, the ride-hailing company partnered with self-driving startup Waymo in an effort “to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream.”
The company has had an ongoing rival in similar ride-hailing app Uber, which itself trialed monthly subscription payments for its users back in 2016 but never launched the service on wide scale.
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Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.
This week Katie Roof and I were joined by Mayfield Fund’s Navin Chaddha, an investor with early connections with Lyft to talk about, well, Lyft — as well as two bombshell news events in the form of an SEC fine for Theranos and Broadcom’s hostile takeover efforts for Qualcomm hitting the brakes. Alex Wilhelm was not present this week but will join us again soon (we assume he was tending to his Slayer shirt collection).
Starting off with Lyft, there was quite a bit of activity for Uber’s biggest competitor in North America. The ride-sharing startup (can we still call it a startup?) said it would be partnering with Magna to “co-develop” an autonomous driving system. Chaddha talks a bit about how Lyft’s ambitions aren’t to be a vertical business like Uber, but serve as a platform for anyone to plug into. We’ve definitely seen this play out before — just look at what happened with Apple (the closed platform) and Android (the open platform). We dive in to see if Lyft’s ambitions are actually going to pan out as planned. Also, it got $200 million out of the deal.
Next up is Theranos, where the SEC investigation finally came to a head with founder Elizabeth Holmes and former president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani were formally charged by the SEC for fraud. The SEC says the two raised more than $700 million from investors through an “elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance.” You can find the full story by TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos here, and we got a chance to dig into the implications of what it might mean for how investors scope out potential founders going forward. (Hint: Chaddha says they need to be more careful.)
Finally, BroadQualm is over. After months of hand-wringing over whether or not Broadcom would buy — and then commit a hostile takeover — of the U.S. semiconductor giant, the Trump administration blocked the deal. A cascading series of events associated with the CFIUS, a government body, got it to the point where Broadcom’s aggressive dealmaker Hock Tan dropped plans to go after Qualcomm altogether. The largest deal of all time in tech will, indeed, not be happening (for now), and it has potentially pretty big implications for M&A going forward.
That’s all for this week, we’ll catch you guys next week. Happy March Madness, and may fortune favor* your brackets.
* assuming you have Duke losing before the elite 8.
Uber rival Lyft appears to be testing monthly subscriptions for the ride-hailing service.
Some Lyft users are posting on Twitter about receiving subscription offers from Lyft, with pricing varying from $249 for an “all-access plan,” $199 a month for 30 rides, $300 for the same number of rides or $399 for 60 rides, according to The Verge.
The offer would include individual rides up to $15 dollars, and seems to target users spending $450 or more a month on Lyft. The offers did not say how rides over $15 would be charged.
Uber tested out a similar subscription service in 2016, The Verge noted, but the feature was never widely released.
TIME reached out to Lyft for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.
Lyft is testing a monthly subscription plan for people who tend to take a lot of rides, The Verge first reported. This is no surprise, given Lyft CEO and co-founder Logan Green said earlier this week Lyft would like to achieve in transportation what Netflix achieved in streaming media with subscriptions.
There seems to be a couple of plans Lyft is testing out. One costs $199 up front to get 30 free rides worth up to $15 per ride. Another plan costs $399 a month for 60 rides. So, it appears as if Lyft is A/B testing to try to figure out just how much people are willing to pay.
“We’re always testing new ways to provide passengers the most affordable and flexible transportation options,” a Lyft spokesperson told TechCrunch. “For the past few months, we’ve been testing a variety of All-Access Plans for Lyft passengers.
If you already spend $450 a month on Lyft rides, both plans would likely be worth the money. Uber has previously offered a subscription service, Uber Plus Pass that guaranteed prices on rides for an upfront fee.
Lyft is partnering with Magna, one of the largest tier-one automotive industry suppliers in the world, on autonomous vehicle technology. Lyft CEO and co-founder Logan Green explained that this will help them get their self-driving tech into various automaker vehicles around the world. Lyft will be working directly with Magna on “co-developing” an autonomous driving system, with collaborative teams from both companies working on the project.
Magna is also investing $200 million in Lyft in exchange for an equity stake. The goal is to build not only autonomy into production vehicles, but also to put direct access to Lyft’s hailing platform into future autonomous vehicles using the platform. Lyft will lead the development effort of the autonomous driving platform from the Level 5 autonomous driving engineering center in Palo Alto, and Magna will take point on manufacturing, working on site at Lyft’s facility in collaboration with the ride-hailing company’s own engineers.
Green explained that the company’s goal has been to “improve how transportation works” from the very beginning, citing a childhood growing up in traffic, trying to figure out how to avoid traffic, as a motivating factor. He also noted that it’s “wildly expensive” for individuals to own and operate their vehicles.
All ridesharing makes up just 0.5 percent of all miles traveled, and Lyft’s goal is to move that to more than 80 percent, Green said. He cited examples like Netflix as showing what he wants to achieve in the transportation industry, in terms of moving from ownership to subscriptions.
In terms of helping Lyft to scale its vision, teaming up with Magna could be a big help: The supplier knows the ins and outs of putting certified, mass-produced key components and systems into vehicles that make their way to public roads and consumers from the world’s leading automakers.
Lyft and Magna are not sharing any info with regards to a timeline for when we might see the results of this partnership put into practice, in testing or in production, but Magna noted in a press release detailing the news that it should be “market-ready over the next few years” if all goes to plan. Initially, according to Green, the collaboration will aim to deploy SAE Level 4 autonomous driving tech first, but ultimately the aim is to produce the best Level 5 system available. The product of the collaboration will be “joint intellectual property,” per Lyft Chief Strategy Officer Raj Kapoor, who also explained that both companies will leverage data resulting from testing and use of the AV platform.
As for Lyft’s own efforts with developing autonomous vehicle systems thus far, the company said during a press event about the news that it’s already testing vehicles at the GoMentum autonomous vehicles proving ground in California, just five months after making its autonomous engineering efforts official.
Disability Rights Advocates, on behalf of the Independent Living Resource Center and two people who use wheelchairs, filed a class-action lawsuit today against Lyft. The plaintiffs allege the ride-hailing company discriminates against people who use wheelchairs by not making available wheelchair-accessible cars in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The case, filed in Alameda County Superior Court… Read More