Why Lyft, Uber discounts may be lower than you expect

From Via to Juno, Uber and Lyft, a lot of for-hire apps are vying for the attention of New Yorkers. One method for keeping a user or bringing one back seems to be the offer of discounted rides.

Fox 5 found the discounts to be somewhat confusing for riders, if not misleading. It begins with an offer for up to 50% off rides from Lyft and Uber.

Fox 5 compared identical rides to the Bronx Zoo at precisely the same time of day. The 50% off ride on Lyft came to $40—the same cost of the Uber ride without any discount.

In a second comparison, this one to City Hall at the same time of day, a 50% off Lyft discount was $33 while a 30% off ride on Uber was $29.

We showed our results to users of the app, all of whom weren't aware that 50% off didn't come anywhere close to 50% off.

"I can see how people feel this is a bait and switch," former TLC Commissioner Matthew Daus told us while pointing out app startups like FairFare and Bellhop could bring credibility to the problem we highlighted.

Fox 5 tried FairFare, which was having a technical problem and was unable to connect to its server from the opening screen, indicating a remedy may take some time.

In the fine print of the offers, we saw limits stated of $3 to $6 off, which for the cost of the average ride in New York City doesn't come close to 50%.

Both Lyft and Uber told Fox 5 that the limits are clearly stated and that the price of the ride is also made clear to the user before a ride is booked. The question is whether New Yorkers have the time to check multiple apps before each ride.