Uber wants you to get into an unfamiliar car with a total stranger. But that may be a price worth paying for a cheaper ride. The company's new UberPool feature will notify users if it discovers a "co-rider" with similar travel plans, and will also provide the other person's first name and information as to who will be collected first. The two passengers can then split the fare.
a "bold social experiment"
Those journeying to stranger pastures won't be left out in the cold, either, as Uber promises to provide a discount even if a travelling companion cannot be found. "While the UberPool idea is simple, the implications are profound," declares the transportation startup in a blog post. "On average, UberX already costs 40 percent less than taxi. Imagine reducing that cost by up to another 40 percent!" Despite the economical advantages, the company acknowledges that UberPool could lead to potential awkwardness between passengers, calling it a "bold social experiment."
The launch follows an announcement from last year in which Uber stated it would roll out carpooling services where legal. The new feature could provide an additional edge against competitors like Lyft and Sidecar. UberPool is currently in private beta with users including Google, but will be expanded to include a larger group by August 15th.