The two big ridesharing companies are rolling out new initiatives this week that will be visible in Baltimore.
Uber said it was expanding a program called Ride Pass that allows riders to avoid fluctuating prices. The service locks in specific prices after users pay an upfront monthly fee.
Baltimore is one of nearly 20 cities where the program is expanding, the company said Tuesday. The monthly pass will cost $24.99 per month.
Uber initially piloted the service last year. The expansion will also include pricing benefits for Uber-owned JUMP scooters and ebikes as part of the program, which will include 30 free minutes a day. Plans are in the works to launch JUMP in Baltimore this year as part of an expanded dockless transportation pilot, the company has said.
The Ride Pass is part of an effort to make Uber an option for every day transportation.
“Whether it’s a daily commute or a night on the town, we want to give riders more ways and more confidence to get from A to B with consistent, dependable prices they can count on,” Dan Bilen, Uber product manager, wrote in a blog post.
It’s been a focus of the ridesharing companies. Lyft debuted its own subscription plan last year, called an “All-Access Plan,” which offers 30 rides in a month for $299.
Speaking of Lyft, the company made a series of moves on Tuesday designed to support drivers. The company’s economic initiatives called Lyft Driver Services are designed to provide additional support to the independent contractor drivers who are often working to earn supplemental income. The new features include:
- Lyft Direct — A bank account that offers access earnings after each ride, and a debit card. It also has built-in discounts on gas and food, the company states.
- Vehicle Service Center — Physical hubs that will provide access to maintenance and support services, as well as a mobile service available on-demand. A Baltimore opening date and location has yet to be released.
- Express Drive — The company is expanding its car rental service, including more locations in Baltimore and more electric vehicles.
The moves come against the backdrop of reported plans for initial public offerings from both companies. Lyft plans to price its IPO Thursday, and its investor roadshow reportedly made a stop at the downtown offices of T. Rowe Price in Baltimore on Friday, the Baltimore Business Journal reported.
Meanwhile, in California, the companies are also facing protests from drivers over pay cuts. Thousands of drivers are striking in Los Angeles in opposition to a 25-percent cut to mileage pay by Uber in that area, Forbes reported.-30-
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