Uber’s ongoing plan to price out public transit is taking root in New York City and Boston.
Most recently in New York, the company started selling monthly $79 passes for its Pool service on the deals site Gilt City. It’s a significant discount from the $116.50 monthly pass the local subway sells, and it’s also cheaper than the flat $5 Pool rides the company already provides during rush hour.
It’s not a complete replacement for the subway. The Uber Pool flat fees and monthly passes only work below 125th Street in Manhattan during rush hour (7-10 AM, 5-8 PM). The subway is open at all hours and goes to all boroughs. And if you live outside of Manhattan, you’re out of luck.
On the other hand, the subway is sticky, crowded, and hot. Uber isn’t. The car service also isn’t immune to the usual Manhattan traffic — not to say the subway doesn’t have its fair share of delays either.
In Boston, the company bundled up rides in a POOL Pass program — 20 rides for $40, 40 rides for $75. Those rides aren’t limited to any particular neighbourhoods, and can be used outside rush hour.
In short: This is extremely cheap transport, and it’s not coincidental that Uber has been piloting these programs in train-dependent cities in an attempt to take a slice of the pie — the New York subway attracts nearly 5.5 million riders on the daily. Whether or not this plan will being the company closer to a form of privatised mass transit, however, remains to be seen.