Uber announced last week that uberPOOL has added one more separate pickup to the service, now accepting three pickups. They are hoping that this arrangement would fill the empty seats in the driver’s car with paying riders and make the trip more efficient.
What Does This Mean for the Drivers?
Based on my personal experience, I have seen a number of technical issues with the uberPOOL function. Recently, I was in San Francisco on my way to pick a passenger, then received a uberPOOL request for a second passenger. After I accepted the request, the app directed me to pick up the second passenger first since he was closer to my location. At the same time, the first passenger’s information suddenly vanished, leaving me no way of contacting him.
In another incident, I picked up two uberPOOL passengers from SFO, dropped off the second passenger first and the first passenger second. Afterward when checking my trip history, I noticed I was only paid for the second passenger’s ride, nothing for the first passenger. Although Uber support team later fixed my earnings, I couldn’t help wondering if there are more similar glitches in the system.
What Does This Mean for the Riders?
For the time being, uberPool price remains the same. But Uber anticipates to lower the prices in the long run if this new feature fares well over time.
Uber claims that, with three pickups, uberPOOL will will never take more than 6-8 minutes out of a rider’s way. Each trip will be more and more efficient as their matching algorithm gets better over time.
In my experience, many uberPOOL riders get annoyed when their trips take longer than expected. This is especially true when a passenger is picked up first but dropped off last. Often, riders choose uberPOOL because the app pushes the service by offering uberPOOL as a cheaper alternative to the regular service, UberX. Unfortunately, these riders are not mentally prepared for their trips to be longer than expected. Sometimes they blame the driver for taking so long.
I hope uberPOOL gets better in the near future, improving both driver and rider experience.