You now have an even cheaper way to get home from bottomless mimosa brunches on Sundays — but you’ll have to earn it.
Yesterday the ride-share giant launched a new service, Express Pool, that will make carpool trips with Uber creepier and faster for Denver riders. The vision began in 2014 when Uber launched POOL, a vision of getting more people in fewer cars.
“It meant rides can be cheaper than uberX for passengers and over time, cities less congested and polluted,” explained Uber communications manager Stephanie Sedlak. “What we’ve seen is that people are overwhelmingly interested in sharing a ride.”
Unfortunately, the original POOL plan had its kinks and people weren’t loving the unpredictable nature of the rides. In an effort to remedy this grievance Express Pool was born. The concept behind Express Pool is to have riders walk to a pickup location to make routes shorter and simpler. Denverite likened it to a tiny bus, which doesn’t seem to be too far off except routes aren’t fixed and the rides are supposedly more reliable. And while it won’t beat the cost of a city bus, Uber says it’ll be 50 percent less than a regular Uber Pool.
“It will be the most affordable rides product yet,” said Sedlak. “The goal of this product is three-fold. We want to first build the most affordable product for consumers. Secondly, we want to create a consistent experience. And thirdly, we want to streamline trips.”
The Express Pool was first tested in San Francisco and Boston before hitting Denver, along with Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia and San Diego. Currently, Uber POOL riders are matched with other riders within seconds of signing on. The problem arises when with incompatible locations and destinations are matched in the same pool ride, resulting in an unnecessarily long shared ride. Express Pool shortens those lengthy rides by matching walking and waiting.
“Walking to the pickup location helps us make more matches and provide better routes with fewer detours, ultimately delivering an even more affordable option than POOL to consumers,” expressed Sedlak.
If you want to test it out, you’ll have to make sure to update your Uber App and maybe by some new snowshoes.
Additional writing by Brittany Werges.