Uber has launched its first new product in three years. The ride-hailing service rolled out its Express Pool service earlier this week. Uber’s Express Pool service is a cheaper version of Uberpool. A ride on Express Pool can be up to 30 percent cheaper than on Uberpool and up to 75 percent less than a regular Uber ride.
Some are comparing Express Pool to a public bus service. When you request Express Pool, Uber notifies the user of the pickup location so they can walk to the stop. The Express Pool ride ends at a spot near the user’s destination, so the user must walk another short distance to their final destination.
Even if you take the same trip every day, there’s no guarantee that the pickup or drop-off locations will be the same. The location of the pickup can change depending on a number of factors, including traffic patterns, where the others being picked up are located, and their intended direction of travel.
That is different than Uberpool, where users are picked up and basically carpool together. They are then dropped off right at their destination. The idea is that Express Pool will make shared rides more efficient. Because it’s not a door-to-door service, it should be easier to determine routes that work for multiple passengers.
Uber also says the new service will be easier for drivers, who will no longer need to backtrack or loop around blocks to pick up multiple riders. Drivers will still be paid per-mile and per-minute in addition to a base fare. They will also receive a fee for each pickup they make.
Express Pool is already up and running in San Francisco and Boston. The company says that the service will soon be offered in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Miami, San Diego and Denver and that more cities will follow.
Many Ubers users are already walking a little bit to a more efficient pickup point for a quicker ride. In the future, Uber is considering incorporating the ability to move to a better spot as an option for its namesake service. Uber spokeswoman Kaitlin Durkosh said, “We are thinking about ways to help riders understand where their location is and whether there’s any time trade-off in terms of getting picked up there.”
Ride-pooling services are a great opportunity for cities, suburbs, and rural areas to have more high quality, inexpensive transportation for people who don’t have easy access to cars or public transit. Pooling services also provide a real societal benefit by providing access and mobility for more people in ways that are more environmentally and economically efficient.