UberPool: a kickass idea to reduce the number of cars on city roads?

Uber App

Uber is at it again with its world domination ploy. The company today announced UberPool, an offering that allows users to share a ride, not just split the fare. It is likely the company’s response to competitors like Lyft that offers cheaper car share options. But maybe not.

Before now, users of Uber could split their fare between up to three people, bringing down the cost of a ride considerably if you are going a long way. UberPool will cut that cost even more.

“Since the early days of Uber, we’ve been excited about the idea of providing transportation so inexpensive and reliable, people can actually sell their cars,” the company said in a blog post announcing UberPool.

The truth is that all mobile car hailing services to become indispensable to you.

Sharing is caring

Uber wants to make its service so cheap and accessible that users don’t see a point of owning their own vehicles, effectively making Uber their sole means of transportation. With UberPool, the company is getting closer to doing just that.

The new offering works like most car sharing services out there today. You simply share a ride and split the cost with another person who just happens to be requesting a ride along a similar route. You don’t have to know each other or be heading to the same place, it’s just the route that counts.

“The beauty, though, is that you still get Uber-style on-demand convenience and reliability: just push the button like before and get a car in five minutes. When we find a match, we notify you of your co-rider’s first name. Even if we don’t find an UberPool match for you, we’ll give you a discount on your ride,” says Uber.

Cutting cost and saving money

As amazing as Uber’s service is, it is a little on the expensive side. For the average user, it is not sustainable to use Uber everyday especially in emerging market territories where the cost of living is significantly higher than most. To combat this though, Uber responded with tiers and it seems that with UberPool, things will get cheaper.

“On average, uberX already costs 40% less than taxi. Imagine reducing that cost by up to another 40%! At these price points, Uber really is cost-competitive with owning a car, which is a game-changer for consumers,” says the company.

The company is calling UberPool a bold social experiment. The tech startup darling is careful to note that it is interested to see how interaction between riders in an UberPool would work. Should they talk to each other? When is that okay, is it ever okay? Honestly, I think Uber needn’t be concerned with that, but along the lines of its potential usefulness for carpoolers.

Making the planet better and reducing traffic?

“We’re going to find out how this brave new world of UberPooling works—we’ll iterate on this beta product and get it right, because the larger social implications of reducing the number of cars on the road, congestion in cities, pollution, parking challenges… are truly inspiring,” adds Uber.

Indeed it will. If Uber achieves its mission to get people to sell their cars and become dependent on its service and have more users pooling, this could dramatically improve road congestion. If users can use the service at a price point that is cheaper than owning a vehicle and the convenience, then why not?

As the company also points out, car sharing reduces automotive pollution in cities, which is on the rise. This new offering for Uber then becomes a greener approach to riding in cars by helping people reduce their carbon footprint.

Bring to Africa, please

Currently, this service is launching in private beta in Uber’s home town of San Francisco but the impact of a service like this for emerging market regions is undeniable. The company is taking major steps to launch in every city in the world and has begun showing interest in accelerating its move into the African market.

A few weeks ago, Uber launched in Africa’s most populous city, Lagos. In that same week, I wrote a piece about the transportation problems in Lagos and its record number of traffic delays caused by the number of cars on the road. This is Lagos’ solution, not Uber SUVs.

Car sharing option for emerging markets makes Uber much more appealing to the average users, coming in at a price point they can afford. For a city like Lagos or South Africa’s Johannesburg, UberPool could benefit citizens by creating incentives to leave their cars at home during the week.

This could not only become a gamer-changer for Uber but for its users as well.



Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Memeburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.