DETROIT (AP) — The latest variant of an Uber ride will be a short walk.
In eight cities in the U.S., the ride-hailing company is the rollout of a service called “Express swimming-Pool,” which left riders in the same room who want to travel to similar destinations. Once linked, the riders had to walk a few blocks to be picked up at a common location. Also they would be dropped off at a site that would be a short walk to their final destinations.
Depending on the time of day and the metro area, Express Pool can be up to 75 percent less than a regular Uber ride, and up to half of the cost of the Uber current shared-ride service called Pool, said Ethan Stock, the product, the director for shared rides. Pool, which will remain in use, it is not necessary to walk. Instead, it often takes a detour to pick up riders at their place and put them in their place of destination. But that can take longer than Express, which travels a more direct route.
Uber is testing the service since November in San Francisco and Boston and has enough ridership to support the 24 hours per day. Within the next two days, the around-the-clock service to start in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, D. C.; Miami, San Diego and Denver. More cities will follow, Uber said.
The new service could spell competition for mass transit, but how much depends on how well it works and how good the mass transit is, says Mark Hallenbeck, director of the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington. When buses or subways are crowded, and Uber can provide service for a similar price, that will help you with mobility.
“However, if you are cannibalizing transit that is not registered, then is that a bad thing,” Hallenbeck said.
Also, if the ride-sharing service and attracts people from the mass transit and creates more traffic, which will add to congestion, ” he said.
The service can be supplemented with Uber X, the company’s door-to-door taxi service or draw passengers away.
Stock said the system should work well with the public transport network, providing first mile and last-mile service for transit riders by providing service to low passenger volume areas where it is not cost-effective for the public transport to serve. He also says the reduce congestion by cutting the number of personal vehicle trips.
Express already has ride-sharing competitors such as, which operates in New York, Chicago and Washington, D. C.
Express Pool will be normal size cars, at least in the first instance, and optimally with a maximum of three passengers, so riders not in the vehicles. It can be extended to six cars, Stock said.
It takes one to two minutes for Uber computers to search for a rider, a driver and the other riders, and select a pick-up point, Stock said.
The lower cost of the service should help Uber grow, Stock said. “More riders can afford to travel more for more reasons,” he said. All Uber Pool is responsible for 20 percent of the Uber trips in the cities where this is available.