Denverites now have another (cheaper) way to hitch a ride with Uber. On Wednesday, February 21, the ride-share beast launched a new service—Express Pool—that hopes to make carpool trips with Uber less expensive and, well, less timely for commuters in the Denver metro area.
The new option is a spin off the existing Uber Pool function, which often pairs riders who are miles apart or headed in different directions. The more efficient Express Pool is engineered to provide more compatible matches so that, according to an Uber spokesperson, carpool users are not delayed by detours and circuitous routes. Denver is one of eight cities where the new product will be rolled out on Wednesday.
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With the current Uber Pool service, users are matched with other riders within seconds of selecting the service. However, a common problem with the current system is that users are matched with riders whose locations and destinations create inefficient routes and frustrating delays. (Ever wanted to just get home after a long day at work, and found yourself in an Uber Pool ride that took three times as long as it should have? Us too.) When users select Express Pool, there will be an initial waiting period—typically a minute or two—but once they’re matched, users can expect a more prompt and route-sensible ride. “Having the two extra minutes up front gives a lot more possibilities in terms of who we can match you with,” an Uber spokesperson told 5280.
In addition to the initial waiting period, the app will prompt users (and provide directions) to walk a block or so to meet the driver, which will help shave off time and distance—and make the trip cheaper. Express Pool could be up to 50 percent cheaper than regular Uber Pool and up to 75 percent cheaper than UberX, according to the company representative.
The new function was first tested in San Francisco and Boston before hitting Denver, along with Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, and San Diego. The update marks the first ride product the company has unveiled since it launched Uber Pool in August 2014. Since then, nearly one billion(!) riders in took pool trips worldwide. One of the main goals of Uber Pool and now Express Pool is to get more people in fewer cars to minimize congestion and pollution in cities, the spokesperson said.
In order to use Express Pool, users will need to update their Uber app, after which the new service will display on the app’s slider next to UberX and Uber Pool. The regular Uber Pool service will continue in addition to Express Pool, giving ride-seekers even more options for finding a cost-effective lift in Denver.