Uber rolls out cheaper Express Pool service that rivals buses

Uber may offer its “Express POOL” service as an option at San Francisco International Airport

After selecting Express Pool, riders will wait to be matched with another passenger.

Like the existing UberPool service, Express Pool groups multiple riders into one auto. Sometimes it takes 30 minutes to go a few blocks for a weird roundabout pick-up of another rider, and other times we cruise straight to our destination without ever having to share the auto (yasssss: two bucks well-spent). There's new tech architecture, a novel user interfaces, and in-app intro schemes to teach the rider how to use the new service.

"If this seems a lot like a bus pickup, it's because that's definitely the direction Uber and Lyft are heading", he wrote.

A customer then walks to a pickup spot where they will see other riders. The rides, which are made in sedans, will end close to their final destination. However it looks like Uber has since launched a slight variation of the feature called "Uber Express Pool" where it will be going live in Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, DC, Miami, San Diego, Philadelphia, and Denver. Prices will vary depending on time of day, and Express will not be immune from surge pricing.

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For some drivers, UberPool trips are more work than they're worth, Campbell said, in that the fares are the same, sometimes less, for more work. Drivers will continue to be paid for their time and distance traveled, with a bonus for every additional passenger they pick up. The option has been tested in San Franciso and Boston since late previous year, and received "positive" reviews, Ethan Stock, Uber's product lead, told reporters in a media briefing on Tuesday.

Uber isn't likely to wholesale replace SEPTA buses, said Erick Guerra, assistant professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania, since that would require drivers to have access to vehicles larger than the typical personal vehicle. It's a pool service, but instead of the door-to-door delivery that was one of Uber's hallmarks, riders will have to walk a few blocks to meet their ride and after dropoff, a few blocks to reach their destination.

Although riders will have to walk to a nearby pickup spot and wait a few minutes prior to the start of the trip, Uber believes these two additional actions will ultimately save drivers and riders time and frustration. It allows drivers to take more direct routes, rather than weaving around the city to the doorsteps of each passenger. He teased that Uber may adopt even larger vehicles in the future. Like the traditional POOL, drivers will have the option of adding new passengers after their first pickup - they just won't have to go as far out of their way as the current POOL option often forces them to do. "It's inefficient in how city infrastructure is used".

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