Uber Ride Packages With Flat Fares Start Rolling Out in 7 Cities Across India

Uber Ride Packages With Flat Fares Start Rolling Out in 7 Cities Across India

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Uber Ride Packages is an evolution of UberPASS
  • The product is designed to offer flat-fare ride passes
  • Uber’s competitor Ola also developed a similar offering

To make daily commutes cheaper, Uber has launched Ride Packages in India. The latest feature that brings flat-fare ride passes to riders is initially rolling out for select riders in seven cities across the country. While riders in Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, and Kolkata can avail the flat fares on their UberGO and UberPREMIER rides, Chennai riders with the ride passes can only opt for UberGO rides. Each flat fare ride pass comes with a validity of up to 28 days and has a certain trip limit. Recently Uber’s closest competitor and one of the leading cab aggregators in the country, Ola, was also spotted with a similar feature that it called Ola Pass.

An Uber spokesperson divulged that the Ride Packages is an evolution of the UberPASS that was launched as a pilot in select riders in June last year. “We are always thinking of new ways to enhance the Uber experience for our riders. UberPASS was one such product that was launched as a pilot in select cities. It helped us better understand our riders’ needs and as a result, Uber recently rolled out a more enhanced product called Ride Packages,” the company said in a statement to Gadgets 360.

The prime aim of offering Ride Packages is to make rides more affordable than before. “Ride Packages is designed to address riders daily commute needs, making rides even more affordable,” the spokesperson said. It was first tested on UberGO riders in Bengaluru late last year.uber ride pass 050418 190431 5240 Uber Ride Pass  Uber

It is worth noting here that the Uber Ride Packages is not yet available for all users. However, we spotted its presence in Delhi and Mumbai. In the Mumbai region, riders can get flat fare UberGO rides at Rs. 199 and UberPREMIER rides at Rs. 159. The riders in the Delhi region, on the other hand, are offered with UberGO rides at Rs. 129, while UberPREMIER rides are available at a charge identical to what is available in Mumbai, which is Rs. 159. Initially, Paytm is the only payment option for the passes opted under the Ride Packages.

There is a Ride Pass menu option in the Uber app that provides access to flat fare ride passes. Once a pass is purchased, it will not be changed with another pass or refunded. The Help section on the Uber app confirms that if the total ride fare is less than the flat fare offered through one of the available passes, the company will charge you the minimum of the two amounts. Likewise, if the total fare is greater than the flat fare but less than the maximum cap, only the flat fare amount will be charged.

As per the FAQ seen in the app, Uber may charge wait time charges in addition to the flat fare amount. Also, we noticed surge pricing will still be applicable despite purchasing the flat-fare ride passes. We’ve reached out for more information on this front.

Similar to Uber Ride Packages, Ola last month started rolling out the Ola Pass subscription to offer flat fares in the country. Ola’s feature is listed as available for a select number of Ola Micro, Mini, and Prime rides and is available in a handful of cities, including Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, and Mumbai. Unlike Uber, Ola doesn’t apply peak pricing – its terminology for surge pricing – on Ola Pass flat fares. However, Ola has distance limits to the flat fares, from 5km to 20km, which Uber’s Ride Packages do not have.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Lyft Expands Services Across 32 US States

Lyft Expands Services Across 32 US States

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The move boosts the number of states with full coverage to 40
  • Uber says it has near-statewide coverage in 13 states
  • For Lyft, the expansion is a bold move into unserved areas and a gamble

Lyft is driving into the countryside in an effort to raise ridership and steal market share from rival Uber.

The much smaller Lyft announced Thursday that it is offering service to passengers in every corner of 32 US states, including hard-to-reach rural areas. The move boosts the number of states with full coverage to 40.

Uber, which controls about 70 percent of the US ride-hailing market, says it has near-statewide coverage in 13 states. A spokeswoman was skeptical that any company could provide timely service in all areas within a state’s boundaries.

For Lyft, the expansion is a bold move into unserved areas and a gamble that it can carve new markets out of even the most rural areas that have ride-hailing needs but no consistent service. Until now, using a smartphone to summon a ride mainly was reserved for larger metropolitan areas with a lot of people and more potential riders.

Jaime Raczka, regional director of new markets for Lyft, said the initiative will allow the company to outmatch its rivals in terms of coverage area and the number of people with access to its platform. Before Thursday, 79 percent of the US population could get Lyft service. With Thursday’s move, that number rises to 94 percent, she said.

To pull off the expansion, Lyft has been recruiting new drivers for months, many in smaller towns that weren’t previously served. The company wouldn’t say how many drivers it has added, only that it has about 700,000 nationwide.

Currently Lyft has statewide service in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Delaware and Hawaii. As of Thursday it added Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Lyft has at least some coverage in all 50 states, and decided to offer full coverage in the 40 that have consistent statewide ride-hailing regulations, Raczka said. The company said it will even offer rides in the most rural expanses of Alaska and the far reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Just how long it takes to get a ride will vary by area. She wouldn’t give an average response time or fare estimate for rural areas, but conceded that initially it may take more than 10 minutes to get a ride in remote places. Those who have important trips such as traveling to an airport to catch a flight might want to use Lyft’s scheduled ride service if it’s available, she said.

In New York, where Lyft has had statewide service since June, the company’s app showed few cars in the Finger Lakes region late Wednesday night. In Corning, a small town near the Pennsylvania border, the closest Lyft ride was 74 miles and more than an hour away in Binghamton. The app gave no estimate of a pickup time like it does in urban areas.

Raczka says experience has shown that as people find out about the service, they summon more rides and more drivers usually follow. “We do improve service levels once we get into markets,” she said.

Uber says is has close to statewide coverage is in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Florida. Spokeswoman MoMo Zhou questioned whether Lyft would have drivers available for rides in areas with low demand.

There’s clearly a market for ride services in rural areas, especially from people who are older, disabled or injured, said Gartner analyst Michael Ramsey. Until it becomes established, Lyft will have to pay drivers extra to fetch passengers in rural areas, generating some big losses, he said.

“That will allow them to gain market share, but it’s not going to be free,” Ramsey said.

He expects demand to grow and eventually pay off for Lyft. “There are a lot of people who need mobility, and especially in rural communities, don’t have access to it,” he said. “Demand comes from the supply, and vice versa.”

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Underwriting practices vary across insurance companies

Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Can a dent on the car be reason enough for not giving it insurance coverage? My car’s insurance is due for renewal and they are asking me to fix the dent on my own.

—Rakesh Sundria

Underwriting practices vary across insurers. However, it is not usual to deny coverage due to a pre-existing dent, or ask that an old damage be repaired first. Usually, insurers will take a sign-off on the pre-issuance inspection report and clearly state that the pre-existing damage is excluded from insurance.

In case you are already insured, you should get your car repaired via the existing insurer. However, you should factor in the cost of losing the no-claim bonus on renewal premium. Alternately, you could look for an insurer who does not insist on pre-issuance inspection or getting the car repaired first.

I’m going to the United States for seven months, for an office project. I have a health insurance (individual cover) with global coverage. Will this suffice for any medical exigencies during my stay abroad?

—Shahana Rasool

You should check for restrictions on international treatment in your health insurance plan. Most Indian plans limit the coverage to specific ailments and geographies, and have a restrictive claims process. Also, the sum assured is often inadequate for the high cost of treatment abroad.

In case you find such restrictions in your plan, you should buy a standard travel insurance. This plan will cover emergency medical costs. Additionally, it covers accidental death, disability, loss of personal belongings, and out-of-pocket consequential costs due to flight or baggage delays. Your travel insurance plan will give you higher coverage for emergency international treatment as compared to a standard health insurance plan.

However, most overseas travel plans require that your travel should be for less than a certain number of days. As you are travelling for seven months, declare this properly to your insurer.

I am going on a backpacking tour of Europe next month and my travel agent is insisting that I buy additional health insurance cover. Wouldn’t my existing individual health insurance take care of it? It is just a 15-day tour and I don’t want to spend extra for this.

—Rohit Gangwar

The standard health insurance plan does not cover treatments taken outside India. Moreover, given the high cost of treatment abroad, the sum assured of a local health insurance plan is generally inadequate. I recommend that you buy a standard travel insurance plan. It will cost less than Rs.1,000 for a 30-year-old to get Rs.30 lakh of emergency medical expenses cover for 15 days.

In this plan, you will also get coverage for accidental death and disability, loss of personal belongings, and out-of-pocket consequential costs due to flight or baggage delays.

[“Source-Livemint”]

Netflix to Stream New Star Trek Series Across World

Netflix to Stream New Star Trek Series Across World

Netflix said on Monday it would beam the new series of cult sci-fi franchise Star Trek to 188 countries across the world, excluding the United States and Canada.

Each episode of the new series will be available globally within 24 hours of its premiere on the paid subscription service of the US network CBS.

“Star Trek is one of the most iconic shows in television history and we’re thrilled to partner with CBS to bring the beloved series to Trekkies around the world,” Sean Carey, vice president of global television at California-based Netflix, said in a statement.

Netflix announced, however, that its US and Canadian services would not be part of the exclusive premiere deal with CBS Studios International.

The new Star Trek, which begins filming in Toronto in September ahead of a premiere planned for January next year, will be the franchise’s first new outing in more than a decade, featuring a new spaceship and new characters.

As part of the agreement, all 727 episodes of the Star Trek back catalogue, including the original series and spin-offs like The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, will be available on Netflix worldwide by the end of this year.

In the US, the new Star Trek will premiere on the CBS television network. The premiere episode and the rest of the series will then move to CBS All Access, the network’s digital subscription video-on-demand service.

The original Star Trek told the story of the flight crew aboard the USS Enterprise spaceship, which ventured around the galaxy exploring new worlds.

It snowballed into a cultural phenomenon in the 1970s and ’80s, making household names of the late Leonard Nimoy, who played the half-human, half-Vulcan “Mr Spock,” and William Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk.

Veteran Star Trek screenwriter Bryan Fuller, who launched his career in the 1990s writing for “Deep Space Nine” and “Voyager,” is to return as co-creator and executive producer of the new instalment.

Alex Kurtzman, who co-wrote and produced the blockbuster spin-off movies Star Trek in 2009 and “Star Trek Into Darkness” in 2013, will also be the executive producer of the series.

The announcement comes amid burgeoning demand for streaming video services, especially among younger adults.

About half of US households subscribe to streaming television services from companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, according to the latest Nielsen Total Audience Report.

Netflix says it has about 81 million subscribers in 190 countries, more than half of them based in the US.

Tags: Apps, Home Entertainment, Internet, Netflix, Star Trek, Video Streaming
[“Source-Gadgets”]