Londoners, prepare to have to stretch your legs. Uber has today announced changes to UberPool in London, its cheapest ride sharing service, which matches you with other people going in roughly the same direction so that you can share a cab and pay a reduced fee.
From 4pm today, the company is adding new rules which means that if you request a Pool car between 6am and 9pm you'll be asked to walk to a nearby pick-up point in order to hop on board. These will tend to be on main roads, and will mean that the driver can avoid heading down awkward, narrow backstreets. The company says that the average walking time will be 1-2 minutes and will always be less than the estimated time of arrival for the car to show up. Riders may also be dropped off a short distance from their destination for the same reasons.
In other words, it appears that Uber has realised that buses are quite a good idea: They stick to the main roads to travel more efficiently, and in return passengers have to walk a little of the way themselves.
Apparently to determine the pick-up points the company has analysed traffic and historic trip data. And while this could be slightly more inconvenient for passengers, it will make life a lot easier for drivers. It should also be slightly better for the environment.
UberX, the second service up which basically provides normal minicabs remains unaffected by the changes.
To promote the changes, the company is offering four pool journeys for just £5 in Zone 1 and 2 between 6am and 9pm if you use the code "POOL4FIVE" on the app. It expires at the end of October.