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Uber Announces POOL Upgrades for Drivers

By: Kristi Kenyon October 19, 2017
Uber unveiled changes to its UberPOOL ridesharing service, which includes a new flat fee for drivers.

A recent upgrade to rideshare giant Uber’s split-fare service, UberPOOL, may serve as a small ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark and stormy year.

First rolled out in 2015, UberPOOL allows riders to hop onto someone else’s ride and split the cost—a substantial price reduction from a standard UberX fare, in most cases.

Yet many Uber drivers have been unwelcoming of the service, complaining it forces them to put in more work for the same or less money earned. Sometimes passengers aren’t even going in the same direction, resulting in a much longer trip for the driver—and fewer single (and more lucrative) rides able to be picked up.

In an effort to address some of these concerns, the company has announced a handful of upgrades to the sometimes-problematic service.

“UberPOOL is critical to our mission of reliable transportation,” said Rachel Holt, Uber’s regional general manager of the U.S. and Canada. “We [hadn’t] done enough to provide drivers the same kind of value.”

In the 15 cities where UberPOOL is available, drivers will receive a flat fee that can range from 50 cents to $1 per new pickup. Additionally, Uber rolled out upgrades to its routing algorithm, providing straighter routes to pick up and drop off passengers. The improvements should lead to up to 20% fewer turns, said Uber’s head of driver product, Aaron Schildkrout.

Holt affirmed, “UberPOOL can be more work and more stress. We didn’t feel like this campaign would be complete without [these] changes.”

The upgrades come during Uber’s “180 days of change,” a campaign underway at the company as officials there unveil enhancements to the app for riders and drivers after a year of bad publicity.

“[These improvements emphasize] our commitment to building features for the entire rider and driver community,” Schildkrout said.

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