Uber today announced a new carpooling service called Express Pool. The company’s first new product in over three years trades a bit of convenience for cheaper fares.
When a rider books an Express Pool, they will have to wait a minute or two longer for their ride to be confirmed. In this time, Uber servers will run through the location of all nearby Uber drivers, their pick up and drop off location, and more. After this, the rider will have to walk a block or two to their pick up location to hail their ride. At this location, Uber’s algorithm hopes to match you with other riders who will also be traveling to areas near your drop-off location. Similar to the pick-up point, you will be dropped at a designated drop-off location from where you will have to walk to your final destination.
Riders will be displayed the pick-up point to where they will have to walk only after a minute or two so as to give the algorithm the time it needs to find that ideal pickup spot. Uber says that it has optimized its algorithm to ensure that riders don’t end up walking a lot. For this, the company even sent its team of employees to find ideal pickup and drop-off locations.
Uber says that this will provide riders with up to 50 percent lower fares than UberPool and up to 75 percent lower fares than UberX. This is not an original idea from Uber as other ride-sharing services like Via which is available in selected states in the United States offers a similar option. However, Uber is obviously the biggest shark of them all here and the company adopting this feature is likely going to have a noticeable impact. The move will also bring a sigh of relief to Uber drivers who are not particularly fond of UberPool as they have to go to various destinations to pick up riders.
Uber Express Pool was under testing in San Francisco and Boston since November last year, and it will now be rolled out to more cities including Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego, Denver, and more.
The cheaper fares thanks to Express Pool is not due to Uber subsiding the rides. Instead, the company says that Express Pool works due to its improved matching algorithm, straighter route, and a more efficient trip overall. In fact, Express Pool allows Uber to reduce its overall subsidies on shared rides thanks to its improved efficiency.[Via The Verge]