Would you share a ride with a complete stranger if it saved you money? That’s the idea behind Uber‘s and Lyft‘s latest features…and the latest duel in their tech rivalry. In a world where we don’t think twice about getting in a stranger’s car, did you ever think about also getting into one with another stranger?
Uber introduced its “Split Fare” feature last summer, which lets you split your fare with whomever you’re traveling with (saving friendships and wallets everywhere). But now Uber will let you share a fare with a stranger taking your same ride.
” There’s the interaction between riders in an UberPool—should they talk to each other? When is that cool and when is it, well, annoying? We’re going to find out…”
Still in its private beta phase in San Francisco, CA, after launching last week, the new feature called UberPool connects you with other users taking the same route. The company promises a discount even if it cannot find someone to split your trip with. In a blog post announcing the latest feature, Uber says, “This is also a bold social experiment. There’s the interaction between riders in an UberPool—should they talk to each other? When is that cool and when is it, well, annoying? We’re going to find out…”
It seems useful for trips to the airport and train stations (especially when they are located farther from the city) but it will be interesting to see just how much money you save with the new feature. The company reportedly says users will save 40 percent in comparison to normal rates.
As they admit, it is going to be a trial-and-error process. Starting August 15th Uber is set to expand its beta program and you can enter here to be notified when it comes to your city or a city you are traveling to.
Also in the mix is Lyft, which launched Lyft Line in the shadow of UberPool the morning after the Uber debut. Also only currently available in San Francisco, the share-ride service introduced the same concept offering 30 to 40 percent off current rates.
With Uber as the giant here, we’ll have to see if both services can compete. In the meantime, we’re all for carpooling and making airport travel easier. So, just how much are you willing to trust a stranger(s)?
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(Photo: Uber Technologies Inc.)