Uber Unveils Carpooling Option to Make Trips Cheaper
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Uber wants you to want to sell your car.
To do that, there have to be reliable, affordable ways for you to get around. Both of those terms -- reliability and affordability -- are absolute deal breakers, and Uber knows that.
To further drive down the price side of the equation, the San Francisco-based ride-sharing app unveiled today a new feature allowing riders to share their ride and the cost. The program, called UberPool, is currently in beta mode but will begin to roll out more broadly in San Francisco on Aug. 15.
The move echoes similar efforts by Sidecar, a competing San Francisco-based ride sharing app, which has been testing a carpooling concept since May.
If you opt for UberPool and a nearby rider is headed in the same direction, you will be alerted of that passenger’s first name only. If there are no nearby rides available, you will still receive a price discount, according to a company blog post.
Until now, the cheapest of its offerings was UberX, which allows drivers to use their own cars to pick up passengers as opposed to black sedans and SUVs. Uber claims UberPool can lower the cost of an UberX ride by as much as 40 percent. Interested customers can sign up to be notified when UberPool gets to their home city.
UberPool is also, as the company itself says, a bit of a social experiment. If you share a ride with a stranger, what is the conversation etiquette? Do you chat, or not? “When is that cool and when is it, well, annoying?” Uber asks.