Our blog frequently mentions our use of ride-hailing services when rental cars don't meet our needs due to cost, convenience, parking, tolls, or other factors. We're even conscious of saving money (or getting rebates) when we use services like Lyft and Uber. Our rides have ranged from Uber Black to "regular Uber" and UberX, Uber Pool, and even the ill-fated Uber Shuttle (12-passenger Ford Transit vans to/from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport). And while we use the Uber Pool service, we recognize that time is money and sometimes we weren't OK with spending an additional 20 minutes en route if another passenger had to be picked up / dropped off. Uber has derived a solution that's currently available in eight U.S. markets.
Expressway, Express Pool, same basic concept ...
Introducing Uber Express Pool
It's not regular Uber Pool, it's Uber Express Pool. Initially released in D.C. Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, and San Diego after tests in Boston and San Francisco, the service finds individuals with similar pickup points and destinations (as Uber Pool should have always done). The end results are cheaper Uber fares and quicker Uber Pool trips!
According to Uber's product lead:
“People are finding that trips are shorter and the ride feels straighter and higher quality ... There will be minimal stops and detours because we’ve done our homework and matched you with other riders so that you’re going similar directions.”
In terms of technology, this is obviously a boon for trips that originate at major airports. Uber Express Pool is already "exploring permit approval" with the San Francisco International Airport on the issue, which might be a positive or negative development (depending upon whether the negotiations follow the past Uber process or mirrors the airport's handling of Turo.
When booking at a neighborhood location, Uber Express Pool does have a shortcoming -- there needs to be time for the Express Pool to form and there's a short walk at the beginning and end of the ride (no door-to-door service). Yet if the cost of our ride-hailing rides decreases as much as Uber states (50% less than Uber Pool and 75% less than standard Uber, with rides starting at $2), we could do with a bit of exercise! And with our consistent focus on finding the best deal, we'll soon be happily experimenting to see whether the rebate and loyalty programs still work with this further-discounted option!