InTrans / Jan 29, 2016

Uber drives into the future

Go! Magazine

Woman in car at nightposted on January 29, 2016

Did you know the average American commuter spends over 42 hours a week in traffic?

Uber, the new, modern, hip, and popular app-based driving service believes “investment in mass transportation is part of the solution.”1 To do just that, Uber recently rolled-out their new solutions: uberPOOL, uberHOP, and uberCOMMUTE.

UberPOOL: share your ride with others

Here’s a question: If similar Uber rides were occurring along the same route at the same time, wouldn’t it make sense to match those passengers up and let them split the cost?

As the demand for Uber rides continued to grow in 2016, the company recognized this pattern.

UberPOOL, uberHOP, and uberCOMMUTE allow for more people to ride in fewer cars
UberPOOL, uberHOP, and uberCOMMUTE allow for more people to ride in fewer cars. Photo from Uber.

They launched uberPOOL to give riders the option to share their Uber ride. UberPOOL allows passengers to share their trip and split the fare. Taking uberPOOL can reduce the cost of an Uber ride by 50 percent.

Uber believes uberPOOL is a “first step” in the right direction, well, at least for people wanting to go in the same direction. And, it’s working.

UberPOOL has done well since the 2014 launch in its hometown of San Francisco, California, where it now makes up nearly half of all Uber trips requested in the city.

Uber also launched uberPOOL in New York City, New York – a place where 2.7 million vehicles enter the city each day (most carrying only one passenger). UberPOOL has one, simple goal for the Big Apple: “to take one million cars off the road in New York City.”2

Since its launch here, in the most populous city in the United States, hundreds of thousands of riders have utilized the option to “uberPOOL.”

And then, in its first eight months in Los Angeles, “uberPOOL cut the number of miles driven across town by 7.9 million and prevented carbon dioxide pollution by 1,400 metric tons.”3

UberHOP: share your commute with others

Did you know we could keep 1,600 pounds of greenhouse gases out of the air by carpooling just twice a week?4

Uber is piloting a new service in Seattle, Washington, called uberHOP, which matches passengers up with a driver and other commuters travelling in the same direction. The passenger receives the “when and where” and meets the driver and fellow commuters at a pre-determined pickup location.

At the end of the journey, the driver drops all passengers off at a convenient location, a couple blocks of walking distance from the commuters’ final destination. UberHOP mimics public transportation, like a bus or train, but with cars.

UberHOP became available in Seattle in December 2015 and is now operating during commuting hours on select routes.

UberCOMMUTE: share your commute with your driver

Did you know that 76 percent of commuters in the United States drive to work by themselves?5

UberCOMMUTE is designed for people who want to share their ride to and from work. It’s a lot like uberHOP, but with uberCOMMUTE, your “driver” is just other person on their way to work, too. It’s even more like a traditional carpool!

UberCOMMUTE is the new program in Chicago, Illinois, available 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Uber chose Chicago for the uberCOMMUTE pilot location in hopes to alleviate the problem of congestion on I-90, a widely used interstate leading in and out of the city. Did you know I-90 recently earned the title of the “nation’s worst bottleneck?” It costs area residents 16.9 million hours of wasted time and $418 million in lost productivity per year.6

UberCOMMUTE is designed to be an app-based version of the casual, everyday carpool. However, by using technology, Uber believes they can make this process more convenient and reliable while ensuring rider safety.

To take advantage of uberCOMMUTE, it’s as simple as switching on the app, selecting uberPOOL, and choosing the “commuters” option. Then the passenger enters a pickup location and destination and is paired with someone else heading to or from work.

This new service is designed to afford commuters – going in a similar direction – a shared cost of the journey. Just like any other Uber ride, uberCOMMUTE is equipped with standard safety features like GPS tracking and the rider/driver feedback system.

The original pilot for uberCOMMUTE launched in Chengdu, China, which is Uber’s number one city in the world. In September 2015, uberCOMMUTE was Uber’s first new global product launched outside the United States.

Chengdu was selected because of an “appetite” among drivers for creative ways to get from A to B.

The pilot for uberCOMMUTE began in China
The pilot for uberCOMMUTE began in China. Photo from Flickr user bflshadow.

Uber: the future?

Uber is asking the big question: If there is a service that allows a fast, affordable ride across town at any time of day or night, is there a good reason to own a car at all?

Uber administration jokes on their website that in the year 2037 they will launch the “Pre-car,” a psychic product that predicts “when you’re about to have a boring conversion at a party so that a car can be sent to your location before you know you need one.”

Uber says they want to provide transportation that’s inexpensive and reliable enough to make selling our own cars a reality.



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By Hannah Postlethwait, Go! Staff Writer

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