Uber Express Pool is the Newest and Cheapest Option for Getting Around
Launched as an extension to the already existing UberPool, Uber Express Pool will now serve as the cheapest option for riders who want to utilize Uber’s services. Express Pool will utilize matching, walking and waiting components that will enable the most affordable experience. Compared to UberX and Uber Pool, Express Pool will be up to 75 percent cheaper. Express Pool will work by having the riders wait a few minutes longer than usual in order to be matched with a driver. With the additional time, Uber’s algorithm will be searching for the most optimal route that will have the fewest pickup and drop-off locations. Once matched, riders will be directed to walk towards the directed pickup location.
Express Pool is Uber’s first new product in three years, and will be their cheapest option by far for riders. The service was first experimented with in New York, where Uber was pleased with the results. Ethan Stock, Director of Product for Shared Riders at Uber told The Verge, “We think carpooling is very much the way of the future. Not only for our service, but we think the transformation of car ownership towards carpooling is going to be tremendously beneficial for cities, for the environment, for all the reasons that we’re very familiar with — congestion, pollution, etc.”
While carpooling is quickly becoming Uber’s preferred method for ride sharing, it has seen many difficulties with getting it off the ground and working in cities around the country. UberPool was first introduced in 2014, with Uber paying millions in order to get it properly working. At its start, UberPool had difficulties matching riders, with only 3,600 of 35,000 trips being matched. In order to get Express Pool to work well, Uber had to send teams of employees to walk the streets of the pilot cities to scout out ideal pickup and drop-off locations. The whole point of the service is to help with traffic congestion in crowded cities, so this scouting was necessary in order to find the most optimal pickup spots in places that don’t conflict with transit hubs.
With such low prices, Express Pool has been accused of trying to compete with public transportation. Research has shown that people use rides haring apps much more than public transportation in some areas of the country. Some have made the comparison that Express Pool is similar to a bus stop, but Uber has said they don’t see it that way. Stock said, “Three of the fundamental things about how buses work is they have fixed pickup and drop-off spots, a fixed route and a fixed time schedule that they’re operating on. Everything about the Express Pool product is dynamic.”
Another concern of such low fares have raised questions regarding the fair compensation of the drivers. Uber has already been in hot water with their drivers, who have accused the company of owing them millions of dollars in unpaid fares. UberPool is already wildly unpopular with drivers, due to the extremely low fares, and the fact that often times they aren’t matched with other riders.