Uber is continuing to develop new ways to improve the ride experience for their customers as well as compete in the ever-long price war with Lyft and public transport. Now they have focused their energies on the pool rides and created Express POOL. This service radically lowers the price for a pool ride and increases Uber's reach to more passenger opportunities.
Express POOL differs from UberPool in one feature, and this is enough to reduce the costs and price accordingly. Express POOL operates like a bus service, there is a specific "Smart stop" located within easy walking distance of all the pick-up passengers. "smart stops" are generated by Ubers algorithm that calculates all the customer pickup locations and generates a calculated "smart stop" that measures an equal walking distance for all the customers. This makes picking up easier and the ride faster, since the driver does not need to negotiate traffic and many stops, the vehicle waits in one place and sets of to drop off riders at a preset "smart stop" location.
This new feature started in San Francisco last week, and notifications were nest out, in-app and via e-mail to Uber customers. The message directed customers to try out a new service, which would pick them up from convenient stop locations and the ride price would be as low as $2 per person.
An Uber spokesman was reported to state: "We're always thinking about ways to put more people in fewer cars while continuing to deliver affordable ride options to consumers. As part of that effort, we're testing some changes to Express POOL where riders walk to nearby spots that are convenient for everyone."
The new Express POOL will be available as a pilot model for certain areas in Boston and San Francisco. This development comes as part of an evolutionary process that Uber is going through in its competition with Lyft and as a desire to improve customer satisfaction. They started out in 2015 with "smart routes" that directed customers to main artery pickup routes, and Lyft stopped its Express POOL hotspot service. During May 2017, Uber tested Express POOL quietly, under the radar, so no one heard about it till now, it was also part of a scheduled pick up service, so you needed to pre-request the service.
The new pilot is an "on-demand" service that is available in three categories, UberX, UberBlack, and UberSUV. The UberX version makes riding cheaper than a San Francisco bus ride; it's under $2.75 which does it an extremely attractive service for all potential customers and could be one of Uber's marketing drives to fight Lyft, public transport as well as raise Uber awareness. Whether the pricing is profitable for Uber remains to be seen.
Under the new executive board, Uber is constantly striving to find a profitable operation ratio as well as produce the "perfect ride" solution to customers, which means going beyond customer expectations. The bottom line is that Uber is starting to put the pressure on everyone and is really hoping to reach certain customer demographics that until now did not have the financial resources to use Uber's services. With this new feature, it is possible that we will start to see more mini-vans operating all over the country. In essence, Uber is creating a new inner city shuttle service to compete with buses, rail, and other public transport options.