Walking, waiting part of Uber's new service

Javier Stokes
February 22, 2018

You'll actually be in a auto, driven by an Uber driver.

"People loved the price, but they had mixed feelings about the experience", Stock said of Uber Pool.

Last week, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said at a Goldman Sachs conference in San Francisco he wants Uber vehicles to be even more involved in connecting users to parts of cities.

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

Like the existing UberPool service, Express Pool groups multiple riders into one auto.

However, Uber lost $1.1 billion in the final quarter of 2017 as compared with $1.46 billion in the preceeding quarter as revenue rose.

The new Uber Express Pool interface. This time around they return to the news feeds by offering up some rather cheap fare for UberPool.

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Longer term, Stock said, Uber wants Express to turn into a multi-day, multi-use option for people with limited or incomplete public transportation options.

Once a rider hails an Express Pool, the Uber algorithm will take a moment to figure out the best route, driver and pickup location for not just that rider, but other riders as well.

Lyft is now working on a similar product, called Lyft Shuttle, that has so far only been rolled out in San Francisco and Chicago.

"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". Rides cost between $3 and $4, which can be up to 75 percent cheaper than a regular Lyft. Or, I could've walked the whole way for free in about 30 minutes.

UberPool has been popular with riders because of its relatively low fares, however, it has not been a particularly profitable endeavor for Uber. Uber says this wait time ensures the app figures out the most efficient route. It meant that rides could be more affordable than uberX for passengers, and over time, cities could be less congested and polluted. That's to make it "far more compatible with you".

The new option is created to iron out some of the wrinkles in the Pool system, which has been criticized by drivers and riders alike for its unpredictable matchmaking system, which often leads to long detours and circuitous pickup routes.

Uber started piloting Express Pool in San Francisco in November and then quietly launched it there and in Boston in December.

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