I’ve been a great supporter of ridesharing, and I’ve been using Uber since the first day it got introduced in my city of residence, Mumbai. Not just did it not mean not waiting for a cab to be flagged on the road, it also meant cleaner air conditioned rides picking me up from my doorstep to take me where I wanted to go, at a better pricing than the cabs usually.
Now, Uber has been introducing their carpooling functionality in various parts of India recently. Here, you can share a car with someone else who is commuting on approximately the same route as you are, in exchange for a lesser price on your ride. Since I am usually commuting solo when on work, I really don’t mind that as long as I have some time on hand.
I was recently in Bangalore on a work trip, and I remembered that Uber had launched their UberPool functionality in Bangalore. I even got an email.
The UberPool functionality, is only available between 7 AM to 9 PM, perhaps because that is the time of day when roads are most cluttered and/or rides are hard to come by. I could select a pickup from anywhere in the city as per the map enclosed above, and take a drop to anywhere served by Uber within their city limits.
How UberPool Works?
With UberPool, Uber matches you real time to another rider heading in the same direction. You get up to two seats on the car, which means you can ride alone or along with a family member/friend/colleague. The other rider who gets matched gets the remaining two seats in the car. If there is no match, you are still paying the UberPool pricing, because, it is not your fault that someone else did not want to go in the same direction. Also, the intention of UberPool is not to go zig zag across the city picking up people. Rather, only riders who are on the same path as you are going to be matched.
How UberPool Prices?
UberPool is at least 35% cheaper than the cheapest Uber option (UberGo in India). This means you are getting half the car capacity for 65% of the price. Prices are frozen upfront basis the fare estimate that Uber computes, so even if you got stuck in a traffic jam, for instance, you are not going to be paying extra for it.
My own Experience
Since the airport was not in the zone where I could share a ride to the city, I forked out money for a full car to myself to drive me to M.G. Road. However, on my way back in the evening, I was done in good time and had enough time to reach the airport, so I pulled out my phone and launched the Uber App. As I looked for an UberGo, the app also gave me an option to take a Pool ride. So I decided to UberPool my way back to the airport, because I figured there will be a lot of people heading back to the airport and it is win win for everyone!
The ride pulled up at my door, and when we started the trip, I already knew the price I was going to be debited at the end of the trip. However, very sadly, no other rider (s) joined us on this trip, so it meant I got the whole cab to myself, and I only paid a lower price. Which means, Uber must have made the ride whole to their partner.
Bottomline: UberPool is a great way to share a ride when you have the time and the capacity in your car. It works well for you since you save money, works well for the driver since they earn 130% on the same ride, and works well for Uber because they are getting more commission. And it works well for the environment with one less car on the road. I’m waiting for UberPool to come to Mumbai as well.
Fat chance if you are reading this blog you already use Uber, but if you still considering signing up, you should use my signup link and get yourself your first ride free worth upto INR 250. Pro Tip: You could sign up from anywhere in the world for your local Uber currency with this link.
Have you tried out UberPool yet? What has been your experience?