The car-sharing service uberPOOL is finally coming to the UK. The service launched a year ago in San Francisco and will be introduced in London this Friday, December 4.
London will become the second European city after Paris to have the new scheme.
The service promises to reduce congestion in the UK capital and help consumers save money. The idea behind uberPOOL is simple: a person shares a ride – and splits the cost – with another individual requesting a lift along a similar route.
Using the service adds a few minutes to one’s journey, but it is cheaper than using uberX.
The tech giant said that since the service rolled out in San Francisco last September uberPOOL now accounts for 50% of Uber trips in the city.
There’s room for 2 riders per pickup, with no more than three passengers in a car at any one time.
Uber claims that consumers will save around 25% on their ride compared to uberX.
A journey from Heathrow to Soho costs users about £41 each using uberX. In comparison, the cost per person would be cut to just £30.75 each with UberPool.
Uber’s UK general manager Jo Bertram claimed that the new service will help cut congestion on the capital’s roads.
She said: “UberPOOL makes it easy and affordable for people going in the same direction at the same time to share the trip.
“That means cheaper rides for passengers, less time between trips for drivers and fewer cars on the city’s streets over time.
“By getting more bums on previously empty seats, this new service will help cut congestion and pollution in London.”
When UberPOOL rolls out in the UK it will initially only be available in central London and Heathrow Airport. The company has not said when it plans on expanding the service to other parts of the country.
Transport for London welcomes the new service
Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, said: “We welcome new services that widen choice and make life easier for Londoners.
“Ride sharing services using licensed private hire vehicles do not require a separate operator’s licence, so we have not licensed UberPool separately from Uber’s main licence. However, these services do require the specific consent of each customer involved.
“Although we believe this is the first example of a formal private hire ride sharing service in London, an app-based taxi sharing service has already been launched in London.
“As regulator of the Capital’s private hire industry, we work to ensure that operators put appropriate controls in place to protect the safety of customers. We sought and received assurances from Uber on some important issues around strangers travelling together, data protection and insurance, before this new service was launched.”