Uber Express Pool is like a minibus with cheaper rides

Posted February 22, 2018

They'll have to wait a minute or two to be paired with other riders and make short walks before drop off and after pickup.

In addition to having to walk a little prior to the journey, riders will also have to walk a bit at the end of their journey to reach their final destination. Instead of the driver meeting riders wherever they are, the app directs users to a designated pickup spot nearby.

"Walking and waiting help us make more optimal matches and provide better, straighter, faster routes with fewer detours, delivering an even more affordable and consistent option than POOL to consumers", Uber wrote in a blog post on Wednesday morning. The company's Express Pool service, piloted a year ago in San Francisco and Boston, is now available to customers in Los Angeles. "Express POOL, in combination with public transit, cycling, carsharing and more, can help us get towards this shift, and I'm extremely excited about the potential impact this product can have on cities". When you request Express Pool, Uber notifies you of the location to walk to for your ride. Unfortunately, those rides are set to become fewer and farther between, as Uber seeks to flawless rider-driver matching in its latest product, Express Pool. The service's fares are up to 50 percent cheaper than standard shared Pool rides and up to 75 percent cheaper than UberX fares.

From a public policy perspective, these types of ride-pooling services represent an enormous opportunity to provide more high quality, cheap transportation to more people who don't have access to cars or public transit than ever before, said Daniel Sperling, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis. Miami, Philadelphia and Washington, DC will be added Thursday, with more cities to follow.

Uber initially launched as a high-end black vehicle service in San Francisco in 2009, but over the years it's adapted to the on-demand world.

Asked whether the company had contacted Metro about the new service in Los Angeles and how it could fit in with the agency's transit goals, Uber spokesperson Stephanie Sedlak tells Curbed that the company has already seen riders using the Pool option to get to and from stations in Los Angeles.

"That was something important for us to fix with this product", he said. Express Pool is meant to make a profit. The expansion of Uber Express POOL - and its lower prices - could be Uber's way of tapping into that commuter base. Last August, Uber hired CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, replacing founder Travis Kalanick in an attempt to clean up the company's internal culture.