They’ve made no secret of their attempts to totally eradicate car ownership, or of their ongoing battle with their fellow car-service competitors, so in the next step of their take-down, Uber have unveiled UberPool: splitting the taxi bill by picking up another customer on the way.
The private beta feature will start imminently, pairing users up with people going the same way, and introducing each passenger to one another by text before the journey begins. The new feature will improve cost and congestion by utilizing their drivers more efficiently and who knows, you may even make a new friend on your way to the train station. In its announcement, Uber states the lowered costs that its new feature brings, “uberX already costs 40% less than taxi. Imagine reducing that cost by up to another 40%! In San Francisco, how about $6 to Uber from the Castro to the Financial District? Or $10 from Sunset to SOMA? At these price points, Uber really is cost-competitive with owning a car, which is a game-changer for consumers.”
However, not everyone will be so thrilled with the idea of sharing their back-seat space with a random, leading the company to describe it as a “social experiment” while it tests how popular the new feature will be (although they expect to expand the beta feature more widely by mid-august). The announcement follows the 20 percent slashing of the company’s New York UberX transport a month ago, which resulted in criticism from both the taxi industry (yes, again) and Uber drivers themselves who were hit with a cut in their paycheck. The news is also likely to anger rival driving services like Lyft, who will be faced with the task of matching up their cab fare, and Hitch, who differentiated itself from its competitors by using software that maximised the number of passengers in a car for faster, cheaper travelling.
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