One fascinating thing about the two most successful ride sharing companies today is how much investment money they have to make use of. The clear leader in the field, Uber, has already burnt through billions of dollars subsidizing drivers and their passengers alike, using its venture capital funding to offer unbeatable deals as a means of quickly gathering momentum wherever it shows up. While its main competitor has quite a bit less funding to employ in this way, it has been able to be fairly generous, as well. Some might assume that these facts would not generally impact the experience of actually using the services of a transportation network company, but nothing could be further from the truth. By keeping up with the latest updates at sites like ridely.com, it will often be possible to score a steady stream of free rides and credits that can keep a passenger going for a long time to come.
Lyft has made this point in particularly clear fashion this summer thanks to a running promotion with wireless phone company T-Mobile. Every Tuesday for months now, customers of the mobile carrier have been able to fire up special apps that award them prizes as a reward for their loyalty. While the headline jackpot prizes have only gone out to a few lucky winners each week, everyone who signs on becomes eligible for several consolation gifts.
Some of these have been fairly pedestrian, as with a free, weekly Frosty offered at fast-food restaurant Wendy’s. Each week for just about the whole length of the promotion, though, T-Mobile subscribers have also been able to accept a $15 credit good for service through the world’s second-largest ride sharing company. Over the course of the promotion, that has meant more than a hundred dollars in credit for every T-Mobile subscriber who bothered to accept it, a figure that must have translated into a lot of free rides.
Of course, whether these generous times will continue for long remains anyone’s guess. The two top ride sharing companies clearly have strategic reasons for these giveaways, and it might just be that things will wind down a good bit before too much more money is spent.