Uber is launching the carpooling version of its ridesharing service in Sydney next week.
UberPool will launch on Tuesday, April 3, as the city returns from the Easter break.
This latest variation on allows people to find others heading in the same direction to share their ride. The pooling service first launched globally in 2014 and since that time, the company says more than one billion rides have been taken and around 20% of trips taken in cities where it’s available are UberPool rides.
The launch comes as the business faces increasing competition from Indian rival Ola, which launched in Sydney earlier this month, and other app-based rides such as Taxify and GoCatch.
UberPool is less point to point and more like an on-demand bus service that generates compromise pickup and drop off points for people using it, so you will end up walking a bit more, but splitting the cost of the ride.
After logging a request, it looks for people nearby and then sets a pickup spot, which you’re directed to via the app. While there’s potential for the stars to align enough for three people to be heading the same way, Uber says the riders will be “saving up to 50% on your trip, compared with uberX”, but adds the half-price fare is “whether Uber pairs you with another passenger or not”.
At the end of the ride, all passengers are dropped off at the same spot, and Uber says they’ll “need to follow the walking directions in the app for a short walk to your chosen destination”.
Uber’s Australian and New Zealand general manager, Henry Greenacre, says the service is easy and affordable and offers a credible alternative to car ownership.
“It’s carpooling at the push of a button. That means cheaper rides for passengers and less congestion on the city’s streets over time,” he said.