If you’re an urbanite, you’ve probably experienced the sub-optimal uberPOOL. You decide to save some cash by splitting a ride with strangers but the trip ends up taking twice as long because of detours, one-way streets, traffic, and other complications. It’s not the best experience for drivers, either. Uber knows this is a common frustration. Uber Express POOL is the company’s answer.
Express POOL aims to make shared rides more efficient by asking riders to wait a few minutes before getting matched with each other and requiring them to walk a block or two to a more optimal pickup spot, as well as the destination. The service is already available in eight U.S. cities and today Uber is expanding Express POOL to Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, and New Jersey. Now riders in those markets can request an Express POOL in the Uber app for a lower cost than the other services available.
Uber product lead Ethan Stock said Express POOL rides are 30-50 percent cheaper than uberPOOL. But the new feature isn’t intended to replace uberPOOL because not all riders will be able to walk to their pick up spot or destination. Riders with disabilities or travelers with luggage, for example, still require a door-to-door option.
“We want less stops,” Stock said on a media briefing call. “We want less detours. We want straighter lines and we want it to feel much, much more like that theoretical perfect POOL.”
Uber tested something similar three years ago in Seattle with uberHOP, which also used designated pickup spots and packed up to six passengers together on a handful of pre-determined routes. It shut down that pilot after seven months.