Since its launch, Uber’s promise has always been to bring a car to your doorstep. Now, Uber is looking more-and-more like a bus.
The company announced Tuesday a new pilot service called UberHOP that picks up riders in groups from a pre-determined location — a concept that sounds exactly like taking a bus.
Only available in Seattle for now, commuters can request a ride on one of the three routes available. But instead of getting picked up at the doorstop, the way most Uber rides work, the passengers will be directed to walk a few blocks to meet up with drivers and other passengers.
“You’ll need to be on time as your uberHOP will leave promptly,” the blog post reads.
The drop-off isn’t put in by passengers either. Like a bus, it has a predetermined drop-off point, so you’ll have to walk a few blocks.
Uber Seattle GM Brooke Steger told GeekWire, which first reported the news, that uberHOP will operate on three routes during primetime commute hours: 7 am. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The three routes will take commuters from Capitol Hill to downtown, Fremont to downtown, and Ballard to South Lake Union, plus do the routes in reverse.
Uber has been trying to figure out ways to reduce cars on the streets, and, as it puts it in its blog post, “put more butts in seats.”
The UberPool program in San Francisco has been a success for the ride-hailing company and now accounts for more than 50 per cent of the trips taken. However, that’s just sharing a ride based on individual pick-ups — not sharing a routes and walking blocks to get it to like the bus-style UberHOP. Uber also announced a new commuter pilot program in Chicago to help share the cost.
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