UberPOOL Launches in Boston
Despite opposition from local taxi cab drivers, Uber continues to operate—and expand—in Boston. On Thursday, the company’s local branch launched uberPOOL, a new option that matches customers taking similar routes, allowing them to share a car and split the cost of the ride.
UberPOOL is now Uber’s most affordable option, with prices up to 70 percent cheaper than a Boston cab fare. A sample fare provided by the company estimates that a trip from Cambridge to the Financial District would cost $9 using uberPOOL, $13 using uberX, and $30 using a traditional taxi.
Uber estimates that sharing a ride should only add a few minutes to each customer’s total trip time. Unlike with uberX, the company requests that users pinpoint both an exact pickup location and destination—that can’t be changed once the trip is underway—so that it can use the coordinates to find matching riders. As a courtesy to both riders, an uberPOOL driver will only wait for two minutes at each pickup location.
The app will provide a guaranteed fare quote before a request is made, which will remain the same even if a matching co-rider can’t be found. If a match is made, the app will notify each user of the co-rider’s first name and let them know who’s going to be picked up first. UberPOOL will accommodate two passengers per pickup, so each user can still bring a friend along for the ride.
Boston is the fifth city in the U.S. to offer uberPOOL, which first launched in San Francisco last summer. Locally, the service will be available in downtown Boston, Cambridge, South Boston, Dorchester, Somerville, Brighton, Allston, Brookline, Jamaica Plain, and Roxbury.