After launching its new carpooling service uberPOOL, the ride-sharing company has now introduced “Smart Routes” to save riders money on rides.
The smart routes, which highlight in the map as a green line overlaid on a major street nearby to a ride-seeking customer, offer $1 or more off the uberPOOL price if the customer is willing to be picked up anywhere along the highlighted route, TechCrunch reported.
"We have begun testing a new feature to streamline the uberPOOL experience for both riders and drivers. This experimental feature, called ‘Smart Routes,’ aims to simplify pickups by encouraging riders to request a ride along specific routes in San Francisco,” Uber told TechCrunch. “Smart Routes is part of our ongoing efforts to increase the efficiency of driver-partners’ time spent on the road while helping riders save time and money."
What’s in it for drivers? Fewer detours, more value for time and less wastage of gas. The service, which Uber has built on top of its new carpooling service, would allow drivers to pick up more passengers much faster and would also put more money in Uber’s pocket.
The new service, which might further strain Uber’s relationship with transportation departments across the country, could in cases cut close to the average public transport fare.
This is, however, not the first time Uber has experimented with new models to offer even cheaper rides. The company’s recently announced “Perpetual Rides,” which are reportedly aimed at monetizing the vacant seat in an Uber car. This would allow drivers to pick up rides whenever they have a seat available, instead of waiting to finish a set of uberPOOL rides.
The company’s new experiment piggybacks on its plan to further increase ridership as it prepares to file for an IPO sometime next year. The company is also reportedly on pace to log $10.8 billion in global bookings this year and $26 billion in 2016.