Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

Uber to offer new carpooling service in Atlanta

The popular ridesharing app Uber on Wednesday announced it will be introducing a new and more economical carpooling service in Atlanta, called uberPOOL.

The new ridesharing option is currently only available in a handful of other U.S. cities, like San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.

The service will be launched Friday in Buckhead, Midtown, Downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods.

uberPOOL is designed to save riders money by matching users heading in the same direction so they can share a ride. Over time, it could help reduce congestion by increasing carpooling -- a method of getting around that has been on the decline nationally for decades.

In 1970, one in five commuters in this country carpooled. Today, it’s just one in 10. A recent study found carpooling could save lives by reducing accidents.

“uberPOOL will become an important supplement to Atlanta’s transportation system,” said Keith Radford, General Manager for Uber in Atlanta in a press release. “Right away, riders and drivers will experience the benefits first hand. Ultimately, the hope is that uberPOOL will help Atlanta seamlessly move residents and visitors around the city and relieve congestion by increasing shared rides and reducing the number of cars on the road.”

Uber will be working with drivers in coming days to alert them of the addition of uberPOOL and prepare them for the launch. The new option benefits Uber’s Driver-Partners by allowing them to maximize their time and earn more money on longer trips, without the down time between passengers.

According to Uber, its traditional ridesharing service already costs on average 45 percent less than a taxi in Atlanta. uberPOOL could potentially reduce that cost for the rider so that uberPOOL trips are 25 percent less than even an uberX ride, for those willing to endure a few added minutes to their trip to drop off or pick up someone heading in the same direction.

Uber says its carpooling service has seen strong results in other markets. For example, in San Francisco, nearly half of all Uber trips are now uberPOOL trips.

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