Uber quietly released a "flat fares" pilot program this month that gives New York City customers steep discounts on otherwise pricy rides for 30 days.
The deal offers packages of 10 rides ($5 activation fee), 20 rides ($10 fee) and 40 rides ($20 fee) over a 30-day period at the locked-in rates of $2.99 per UberPool ride and $5.99 for UberX. The rates apply to rides within the five boroughs that would normally cost $30 or less.
If the normal cost of the ride is over $30, flat fares users pay the difference. For instance, a $33 ride would become a $9 ride.
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The company sent an email offering the promotion to number of active Uber users, and released a single Tweet offering the deal to everyone lucky enough to stumble on it during February. The Uber Promo Codes account also sent out a Tweet about it.
Last summer, Uber began testing the flat fares program in select markets in a move to compete with public transit. Flat fares were also tested in Boston, Washington, San Diego, Miami, San Francisco and Seattle.
There’s no guarantee the program will be offered again after February, but Uber promises that other attractive offers are in the pipelines.
“We’re always looking at ways to make Uber an affordable option. As part
of that ongoing effort, we've been running a flat fares pilot in a handful of cities over the past several months,” an Uber spokesperson told Metro.
The real value is in outer-borough and inter-borough rides, the spokesperson said, adding that 40 percent of Uber’s New York City business is outside of Manhattan.
The outer boroughs are the fastest growing areas, because people there can’t just hail a cab if they live far from the subway,” the spokesperson said.