Uber, the alternative taxi service, is launching a new service to let users can cut costs by sharing journeys.
UberPool is a beta product, and will allow you to match with other Uber users who are taking a similar journey, telling you their first name so that you can talk to them when you meet. Costs will be shared between riders, and if you use UberPool and no companions are found, Uber will still give you a discount.
Uber believes this is a ‘bold social experiment’ – will passengers actually talk to each other, or just stare out of the window silently? Intuitively, it would seem that both are likely, but it will be interesting to see if sharing the cost of a ride is enough to compensate having to ride with a stranger.
UberPool is launching as a private beta now, in conjunction with Google’s workforce, and then a public beta will start on August 15th in the San Francisco Bay Area. There’s no information about how long the beta phase will last – Uber says it expects ‘kinks and surprises’ to work through’.