Uber's latest feature shows how badly it wants to replace owning a car

Uber is experimenting with a ride option through its app that gives morning commuters a cheaper fare for longer trips into San Francisco.

For people in the areas of Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Jose, Uber is offering rates of $US20-$US26 for rides into San Francisco between the times of 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. during weekdays. The fare is set ahead of time, which means it won’t be susceptible to surge pricing like normal Uber rides.

The cheaper fare is made possible through Uber Pool, the latest ride option in the app that splits the cost of a trip between multiple passengers travelling along a similar route. Uber Pool launched in New York City this past summer, and the company says the feature “guarantees you a cheaper fare” and “only adds a few minutes to your trip.”

For the new Pool to SF option, Uber charges an additional $US10 per passenger, the cost of which can be split between friends through the app.

Pool pickup zoneUberA map of Uber’s pickup zones for its Pool to SF ride option.

Enticing morning commuters is just another way Uber is trying to fulfil its stated mission: to be a cheaper alternative than owning a car. At Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference last month, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick described why features like Uber Pool are essential to that mission.

“If we can make Uber cheaper than owning a car, look at all the great things that happen: you no longer have parking problems in San Francisco,” he said. “You no longer have congestion because half of the riders in San Francisco are in an Uber Pool, which is kind of amazing.”

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