Uber now offers a $15 monthly plan for access to cheaper fares

Uber has launched a subscription service that gives riders exclusive access to “consistent, low prices” for a monthly fee.

It appears to be an effort by Uber to boost loyalty among riders and discourage them from hopping between different ridesharing services.

Ride Pass is available for UberX and UberPool trips in Austin, Orlando, Denver, and Miami for $15 a month, and Los Angeles for $25 a month. The higher fee for Los Angeles is because folks there will soon get free access to Uber’s ebikes and scooters, too, as part of the package.

The service, which aims to offer savings of up to 15 percent for each ride, bases its prices on data for similar routes made previously and will be unaffected by surge pricing — a big annoyance for many Uber riders.

“One thing we hear a lot from riders is that changes in price — however small — can make it tough to plan their day with Uber,” Dan Bilen, product manager at Uber, wrote in a post announcing Ride Pass. “The daily commute is a classic example, and it goes something like this: you pay one low price for the ride to work, only to find the ride back home is a different story. You’re frustrated, and from that moment on you might think twice about leaving the car at home.”

Bilen said Ride Pass aims to make Uber “a reliable alternative to driving yourself — an affordable option people can use for their everyday transportation needs.”

You can sign up for Ride Pass through the Uber app, and with each ride you’ll be able to track the savings you’re making over the regular rates — to make sure it’s worth it.

This isn’t the first time Uber has experimented with subscriptions plans, with Uber Plus in 2016 offering a variation of Ride Pass in selected cities.

Meanwhile, Lyft — Uber’s main ridesharing rival in the U.S. — made its subscription-based “All-Access Plan” available nationwide from this month.

Lyft’s offering charges $299 a month for 30 rides that cost up to $15 each — if a single ride costs more than $15, you simply pay the difference, and if you take more than 30 rides, Lyft promises to discount each ride fee by 5 percent.

Neither Uber’s Ride Pass nor Lyft’s All-Access Plan are guaranteed to save you money, but there are certainly potential savings for those who use ridesharing services on a regular basis.

Gaming

Google Stadia is the upcoming Netflix for games that will hurt game creators

Google Stadia promises a world where gaming is more convenient than ever, but it’s a future that will damage the way people make games.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the on-demand streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Outdoors

Lyft pulls thousands of ebikes from three U.S. cities over safety issue

A brake problem affecting 3,000 electric bikes operated by Lyft-owned Citi Bike, Capital Bikeshare, and Ford GoBike has prompted the company to take the two-wheelers out of service until the issue is resolved.
Movies & TV

Ditch the torrents! How to legally watch Game of Thrones online

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on TV, but unless you're a cable subscriber, finding a way to watch isn't always easy. Check out our guide on how to watch online, whether you prefer using HBO, Hulu, or Amazon.
Cars

Drywall or kayaks? The 2020 Toyota Highlander is ready for your weekend plans

Toyota introduced the 2020 Highlander ahead of its public debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The fourth-generation Highlander is bigger than its predecessor, and it comes with more tech features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Cars

2020 Acura TLX PMC Edition is an ordinary sedan built in a supercar factory

What's so special about the 2020 Acura TLX PMC Edition? It's built at the Acura Performance Manufacturing Center, the Ohio factory that makes the NSX supercar. The TLX PMC Edition debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show.
Cars

With drift mode, Kia’s Stinger GTS lets you unleash your inner hooligan

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the limited-edition Kia Stinger GTS gets a trick all-wheel drive system that should enable plenty of sideways action. But only 800 buyers will get to try it.
Cars

Technology trickles down from above to make the new 2019 Audi Q3 smarter

The redesigned 2019 Audi Q3 makes its U.S. debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The firm's smallest SUV receives tech features like a virtual cockpit and a single screen variant of MMI Touch Response from bigger models.
Cars

Kia’s HabaNiro concept is an autonomous electric car that knows when you’re sad

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the Kia HabaNiro concept is supposed to preview the future of the everyday car. That future will include artificial intelligence tech that can read the driver's emotions, according to Kia.
Cars

Mercedes-Benz gives the tech-savvy 2020 CLA more power at New York Auto Show

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation CLA during CES 2019, and it will expand the lineup when it unveils a midrange model named CLA 35 at the upcoming 2019 New York Auto Show.
Cars

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.
Cars

More tech and more space make the Mercedes-Benz GLS the S-Class of the SUV world

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation GLS at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The company's biggest and most luxurious SUV gains more tech features in its quest to become the S-Class of the SUV world.
Cars

Would you buy the Tarok compact pickup truck? Volkswagen wants to know

The Volkswagen Tarok pickup truck concept will make its United States debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The truck first appeared at the 2018 Sao Paulo Auto Show, and VW wants to see what U.S. buyers think of it.
Cars

Sick of civilization? Volkswagen’s Atlas Basecamp concept lets you get away

Volkswagen revealed the Atlas Basecamp concept ahead of its debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. Built for overlanding, this family-hauler was upgraded jointly by Volkswagen and aftermarket manufacturers.