Uber Rolls Out Cheaper Express Pool Service

Want to save some money on your next Uber ride? Put on your walking shoes.

The ride-hailing service rolled out its Express Pool service Wednesday as a cheaper version of its Uberpool option.

Express Pool more closely resembles public bus service. When you request Express Pool, Uber notifies the user of the pickup location so they can walk to the stop. With Uberpool, users are picked up and basically carpool together.

The Express Pool ride ends at a spot near the user’s destination as chosen by the driver, requiring the user to walk another short distance. With Uberpool, users are dropped off right at their destination.

The location of the pickup can change depending on who else is being picked up, their intended direction of travel and traffic patterns.

Ride on Express Pool is up to 30% cheaper than on Uberpool and up to 75% less than a regular Uber ride. On Wednesday morning, the cost of a ride to San Francisco International Airport from the nearby town of San Mateo was listed as $22.46 for the traditional taxi-like Uber service, UberX; $20.45 for Uberpool; and $14.57 for Express Pool.

In many ways, the system is what ride-hailing users already do on their own: thinking about where they can quickly walk for the easiest pickup, trying to find a place oriented to their direction of travel and avoiding traffic congestion.

Uber, based in San Francisco, noticed that riders, using the app to hail a driver, sometimes designate their pickup spot as their exact location but then move it across the street or at the end of the block, Uber spokeswoman Kaitlin Durkosh said.

Using its routing software, Uber is thinking of incorporating the ability to move to a better spot as an option in its regular service. In the future, the app might inform a user of the estimated time to their destination but also gives them the option of walking a little bit to a more efficient pickup point for a quicker ride.

“We are thinking about ways to help riders understand where their location is and whether there’s any time trade-off in terms of getting picked up there,” Durkosh said.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Brett Molina and Elizabeth Weise