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Is Lyft’s $300 per month subscription service worth it for Seattle riders?


Lyft is rolling out its $300 per month subscription service to Seattle, but can it actually save riders money?

RELATED: Can Lyft convince stubborn Seattle commuters to ditch their cars?

Lyft’s subscription plan provides riders with 30 rides of up to $15 each for a $299 a month fee. Passengers pay the difference for any ride over the $15 limit. For anyone doing the math on the back of a napkin, that comes out to around $150 in savings if you use all 30 rides.

So how far will a $15 Lyft ride get you? To get a sense for just that, we calculated a handful of shared $15 rides to Facebook’s South Lake Union offices on Dexter Ave, the second most popular shared Lyft destination for Seattleites, behind Sea-Tac airport. Those rides included:

  • West Seattle Stadium (west)
  • Madison Park (east)
  • North Seattle College (north)
  • Jefferson Park Golf Course (south)

Each $15 ride ranged between five and seven miles.

The question from here is what it would take in order to break even or save money. To break even, you would need to take 20 $15 rides each month. You would then save $15 on each of the 10 remaining rides of the 30 that the subscription gets you.

Essentially, that makes the $300 subscription useful mostly to commuters, who in theory, would use the ride-share service throughout the work week. Lyft’s latest economic impact report calculates that 42 percent of its Seattle customers use Lyft for commuting (the most-used function was 76 percent for restaurants and entertainment venues).

So do average Seattleites use Lyft enough to justify the price tag? For perspective, an Empower study published by Business Insider calculated that the average millennial rider in Seattle spends $53 per month on Lyft.

Figuring out whether this is the right service for you really comes down to calculating your own ride-share habits. If you find yourself in the back seat of a Lyft for a large majority of your month, you stand to save a good chunk of change. But if you’re more of a casual user, you may want to continue your pay-as-you-go habits until further notice.

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