With a new approach and faster service, Uber is trying to lure more New York City customers to ridesharing.
Instead of making pick-ups at exact locations, Uber had begun offering flat, $5 rides for certain Manhattan commuters willing to walk to designated pick-up spots along UberPool drivers’ routes — a similar service to that of a public bus.
The new policy, enacted for rush-hour trips within the confines of Manhattan below 110th Street, sped commutes by ending the time-consuming block circling drivers needed to make in order to pick up and drop off customers, according to Uber.
“Because riders are picked up on corners already in the direction they’re headed toward, the beginning of an uberPOOL trip is more efficient,” said the San Fransicso-based Uber in a new blog post publishing Monday, “meaning riders can get to their destinations in nearly the same amount of time as if they were riding alone and sometimes even faster.”
More than 100,000 trips have been made under the new Pool policy so far, according to Uber.
During a week in July, the company said it found that Manhattan UberPool trips made during peak hours took an average of 24.14 minutes. That’s three minutes slower than UberX trips, but about $14 cheaper, according to the company.
Uber is leveraging the money saved sharing marginally slower rides to try and pull more people onto the service to get to and from work — and jabbing the MTA in the process.
“Since introducing this new $5 flat rate and experience, we’ve noticed that UberPool is changing the way Manhattan commuters get to and from work,” Uber’s blog post continues. “For example, riders are increasingly depending on UberPool to get them to Midtown East, replacing a commute that typically involves the over-packed 6 train.”
Corecction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Manhattan UberPool trip times decreased by 63 percent. Trip times have decreased along 63 percent of routes.