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Remember carpooling as a kid? The pick-ups and drop-offs, with everyone crammed into a stuffy vehicle? Thanks to technology, like so many things, ride-sharing has improved.

Starting today, Uber — which has always been in on the ride-share action, having launched uberPOOL nearly four years ago — is offering a new product called Express POOL.

Here’s how it will work: A rider will see an Express POOL option next to UberPOOL in the app. Once they select Express, Uber books their ride, and starts looking for the best spot for pickup — for co-riders and the driver — within a few blocks. When the ride details are finalized, the rider will be given walking directions and an ETA, so they know when and where to meet their driver. Once in the car and nearing their stop, the rider will be notified of said location, and will be given walking directions to their final destination.

In terms of cost — which will be affected by surge pricing — Express POOL is up to 50% less than uberPOOL and 75% cheaper than uberX. What makes it more affordable is the mix of walking and waiting — this helps the app make more matches, and ultimately deliver a lower price to consumers than they are used to with uberPOOL. 

Since introducing uberPOOL in 2014, this is the first new product Uber is launching — deemed their most affordable ride-sharing product yet. Uber has been piloting this product in San Francisco and Boston and are expanding to Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego and Denver over February 21 and 22. 

Uber’s goal was to create a product for their consumers to use every day, with a consistent experience to boot — something that has proven to be tricky for uberPOOL. That means better routes, with fewer detours and a more reliable ETA. Uber aims to roll out Express POOL across more US cities later this quarter. 

Images courtesy of Uber

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