The service is currently in limited beta in the San Francisco Bay Area and will roll out to more users on August 15. Google employees will also get early access to it. With UberPool, the company will attempt to match you up with another rider that’s headed in your direction. The app will tell you the first name of the other rider and which one of you is getting picked up first. If it can’t find a match, Uber will offer you a discount on an traditional Uber ride.
According to Uber, taking a ride from the Castro to the Financial District in San Francisco will cost as little as $6 with UberPool. Going from the Sunset to SOMA will cost $10.
Uber admitted in its announcement that the new product is also a social experiment, as it’s not sure how co-riders will interact with each other. Will they be obligated to talk to each other? Or will they just ignore each other and stare at their phones the whole time? We’re dying to know.
If UberPool eventually launches in other cities, it will bring serious competition to rivals like Lyft and Sidecar. While Uber has billed its UberX product as ridesharing in some cities, the service has largely relied on one-to-one customer interactions. By bundling riders into similar rides, Uber can be more efficient, save customers money and even help drivers make more per hour.
➤ Announcing UberPool [Uber]
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