When you open the Uber app and enter a destination, you might notice a service called UberPOOL that is much cheaper than UberX. What is Uber POOl, and why is it so much cheaper than UberX?
UberPOOL is a shared ride with a stranger
Uber POOL allows you to share your ride and split the cost with strangers who are headed in the same direction as you. It’s Uber’s version of carpooling. You don’t decide who will ride with you, so there’s no way to know who your companion will be. The Uber app automatically decides who will be picked up first, and it also decides who will be dropped off first.
It’s the cheapest of the many Uber services, and the only sacrifice you make is that you may have to make a stop before you reach your own destination.
How to use UberPOOL
Input your destination, then select UberPOOL. Choose your destination carefully because you won’t be able to change it later on. Next, Uber matches you with another rider in the area who is headed in a similar direction as you. After the match is made, you’ll receive the other rider’s name, destination, and who will be picked up first. Each passenger can bring along one friend, for a maximum total of four riders.
UberPOOL drivers are regular UberX drivers. If UberPOOL is available in your area, you are automatically made available to do POOL rides when you’re driving for UberX. UberPOOL drivers will only wait two minutes to pick you up, so make sure that you’re ready to go when you request your ride.
Is it awkward or unsafe to ride with a stranger in Uber Pool?
In my experience, most Uber customers using POOL keep to themselves and don’t try very hard to engage you in conversation. Occasionally I’ll get a chatty companion, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the person. I don’t find it awkward, but if you don’t like interacting with strangers at all it might not be the best option for you.
All Uber users who request Pool have an account that is connected to their name and credit card, so there are some safeguards there. However, you can bring one companion along with you on the ride, so it’s possible that someone could bring a friend who isn’t an Uber customer. That means they’re difficult to track down if there’s an incident.
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How much does UberPOOL cost?
Nailing down exactly how UberPOOL pricing works can be a bit difficult, but one thing is for sure: Fare rates are lower for UberPOOL, and the overall cost to the passenger is much lower than UberX. In LA, the per minute and per mile price of Uber is about $0.05 cheaper than UberX. In addition, you’re splitting the ride, so overall you will pay much less.
It’s difficult to exactly describe POOL pricing because Uber uses an algorithm to change the price of the ride depending on whether they think you’ll be matched with a partner or not. Either way, Uber’s new up front pricing makes it easy to see exactly how much the ride will cost you.
If you request an UberPOOL and you aren’t matched with another rider, you’ll still pay the lower UberPOOL rate and ride alone.
Price comparison: UberX vs Uber POOL
Here’s what the same ride costs on UberX and UberPOOL. Prices in your area may be slightly different, but my example below shows you how much cheaper POOL is than UberX.
UberPOOL is not available in every city
UberPOOL is only available in many of the larger Uber markets such as Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and Chicago. Head to Uber’s UberPool page to see if it’s available in your city.
Is UberPOOL a good service? Users chime in
The promise of a shared ride — or a solo ride, if you’re not matched with another rider headed in the same direction as you — for only $5–$10 sounds like a good deal, but does the reality live up to the promise? When UberPOOL functioned as intended — with two passengers sharing a ride — users seem pretty happy to get the cheaper ride. All in all, it’s an option worth checking out because there’s no way that you’ll pay more than an UberX.
I’ve personally had good experiences with UberPOOL. When I need a longer ride during the day, I usually go for UberPOOL. Typically the person you share the ride with will be polite and not too chatty, but once I was paired with a somewhat annoying partner. But the ride was so cheap that I didn’t care in the end.
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