UberPOOL Launching in Philly on Friday
Ready to share that Uber with a complete stranger? If so, you’ll be looking at a much cheaper ride.
UberPOOL is launching on Friday in Philadelphia. It allows riders to share their Uber cars — and the cost of the fare — with other people traveling along a similar route. The company says it’s 30 percent cheaper than UberX, which is typically cheaper than a taxi (as long as high surge prices aren’t in effect.) Will it be popular and further disrupt Philly’s transportation market? We’ll see.
Uber says it’s more environmentally friendly and cuts down on traffic.
“Our vision for uberPOOL is simple,” the company’s launch announcement says. “We want to reduce the number of cars on the road, while providing Philadelphians with transportation that’s more affordable than ever. It’s all about getting more butts into fewer cars.”
UberPOOL is already available in other U.S. cities, and as you can see from these two tweets, it can either be awesome of awkward:
Accidentally did Uber Pool last weekend and it was the BEST. Two girls as drunk as us. We did Summer Nights with us as Danny and them Sandy.
— Ben Llewelyn (@benllewelyn) February 10, 2016
Uber pool is great if you like being awkwardly silent in a car with a loud breather for 40 minutes
— Nicholas (@NickPak) February 10, 2016
Be forewarned: Once you enter your pickup and destination locations, you cannot change them because Uber uses that info to match you with someone traveling a similar route. (Uh, what if I entered the wrong address by mistake? What if I suddenly change my mind and want to go somewhere else?)
Also, if you cancel after matching with a driver, or don’t meet them within two minutes, you’ll be charged a $2 fee.
“When you request UberPOOL, you’re making a commitment to both your co-rider and the driver,” says Uber. “Cancellations damage both of their experiences, so please don’t leave them hanging!”
Here’s how it works: Choose the UberX option, then set your pickup location and destination — just like normal. Then you’ll be asked how many riders are in your group. If it’s two or less, you can request UberPOOL and share the ride with someone headed in the same direction. That person (hopefully not a serial killer) will either be in the car at the start of the trip or your driver will pick them up along the way. In either case, you’ll see the passenger’s name on your Uber app.
It’s available initially for trips staring in Center City, South Philly, the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the stadiums, University City, Fairmount, Temple, Kensington, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, East Falls and Manayunk.
It’s likely that taxi and Uber Black drivers will not be pleased that there’s another, even lower-cost option that they’ll have to compete against. A Philly cab company is already suing Uber for “destroying its business,” while Uber Black drivers filed a class-action suit against the company claiming they’re misclassified as independent contractors, giving them less rights regarding wages, unemployment taxes and other benefits.
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