Uber Express Pool Asks Riders to Do a Little Walking

But the fares are cheaper.

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto

It's hard to argue with the convenience of Uber. But while summoning a car to your exact location is great, it's also inefficient. Uber is trying to strike a better balance between convenience and efficiency with Express Pool, a new service that asks ride-sharing customers to do a bit more work in exchange for lower fares.

Like the existing UberPool service, Express Pool groups multiple riders into one car. But riders also have to walk to a pickup location. This makes things a little easier for drivers, who don't have to make multiple stops to pick up passengers. Riders get dropped off at a single location, and walk to their final destinations.

In exchange for that extra walking (and anticipated longer wait times), riders get lower fares. Express Pool will be up to 50 percent cheaper than UberPool, and up to 75 percent cheaper than UberX.

Uber isn't the first company to ask its customers to do more for their rides. Rival Lyft has its own competitor to UberPool, called Lyft Line, and it already asks customers to walk to more convenient pickup locations. Services that place more than one rider in a vehicle, such as Ford's Chariot and SPLT, are also becoming more common.

UberPool already offers shared rides, but it has relied heavily on subsidies, so it's not exactly the best thing for a company struggling to turn a profit. To make Express Pool appealing enough to customers without subsidies, the company has improved its algorithms to match riders with the most efficient route, and even spot checked pickup and drop-off locations, according to The Verge.

Having a car to yourself is nice, but services like Uber Express Pool are the only way to truly reduce traffic congestion. The question is whether customers will accept the sacrifice of convenience that comes with using them.