Uber Express Pool Asks Riders to Do a Little Walking

Uber may offer its “Express POOL” service as an option at San Francisco International Airport

The new service lets customers book rides with other passengers heading in the same general direction, making it more efficient by minimizing the number of deviations a driver must make. In an effort to make those shared rides more efficient, cheaper, and direct, you'll now have to walk to and from your designated pick up and drop off points so the driver doesn't have to deviate from the route to get you where you need to go.

In addition to having to walk a little prior to the journey, riders will also have to walk a bit at the end of their journey to reach their final destination.

Previous reports have highlighted the decline in SEPTA ridership as rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft grow more common in Philadelphia.

In eight US cities, the ride-hailing company is rolling out a service called “Express Pool, ” which links riders in the same area who want to travel to similar destinations.

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.

Figures reported by The Information and confirmed by AFP showed that Uber's losses in 2017 grew to $4.5 billion from the $2.8 billion the San Francisco-based firm lost a year earlier.

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The Express POOL option will live right alongside the standard, existing POOL option that's there right now in the app, at least for the foreseeable future, and riders can have the choice.

The idea of Express is to eliminate the often maze-like path traditional Uber POOLs can take as drivers make their way to new passengers, Uber says.

"Express Pool, in combination with public transit, cycling, car-sharing and more, can help us get towards this shift, and I'm extremely excited about the potential impact this product can have on cities".

The service launches as Uber continues its ride toward rehabbing its image.

"People love the price [of regular Uber POOL], but have mixed feelings about the experience", Uber lead project manager Ethan Stock said in a press call Tuesday.

Another perk of Express Pool: the price. It meant that rides could be more affordable than uberX for passengers, and over time, cities could be less congested and polluted. This is key if Uber hopes to sustain the POOL model - Uber POOL rides comprise only about 20 percent of business in areas where the option is available.

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