To get a ride, Uber says take a walk

Posted: Updated:

By TOM KRISHER
AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) -- The latest variation of an Uber ride will require a short walk.

In eight U.S. cities, the ride-hailing company is rolling out a service called "Express Pool," which links riders in the same area who want to travel to similar destinations. Once linked, riders would need to walk a couple of blocks to be picked up at a common location. They also would be dropped off at a site that would be a short walk from their final destinations.

Depending on time of day and metro area, Express Pool could cost up to 75 percent less than a regular Uber ride and up to half the cost of Uber's current shared-ride service called Pool, said Ethan Stock, the company's product director for shared rides. Pool, which will remain in use, doesn't require any walking. Instead it takes an often circuitous route to pick up riders at their location and drops them at their destination. But that can take longer than Express, which travels a more direct route.

Uber has been testing the service since November in San Francisco and Boston and has found enough ridership to support running it 24 hours per day. Within the next two days, the around-the-clock service will start running in Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Miami; San Diego and Denver. More cities will follow, Uber said.

The new service could spell competition for mass transit, but just how much depends on how well it works and how good the mass transit is, said Mark Hallenbeck, director of the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington. If buses or subways are overcrowded and Uber can provide service for a similar price, that will help with mobility.

"If, however, you are cannibalizing transit that's not over-subscribed, then that becomes a bad thing," Hallenbeck said.

Also, if the ride-sharing service pulls people off mass transit and creates more automobile traffic, that will add to congestion, he said.

The service could complement Uber X, the company's door-to-door taxi service - or draw passengers away from it.

Stock said the system should work well with public transit, providing first-mile and last-mile service for transit riders and by providing service to low passenger volume areas where it's not cost effective for public transit to serve. He also says it will reduce congestion by cutting the number of personal vehicle trips.

Express already has ride-sharing competitors such as Via, which operates in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Express Pool will have normal-sized cars, at least initially, and optimally will carry a maximum of three passengers so riders aren't crammed into the vehicles. It could be expanded to six-passenger vehicles, Stock said.

It will take one to two minutes for Uber's computers to match a rider to a driver and other riders and select a pick-up point, Stock said.

The lower cost of the service should help Uber grow, Stock said. "More riders can afford to take more trips for more reasons," he said. Already Uber Pool accounts for 20 percent of Uber trips in the cities where it's available.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • 70th Emmy Awards

    70th Emmy Awards

    The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
    The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

    The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

    The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

  • Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Wednesday, September 5 2018 2:50 PM EDT2018-09-05 18:50:41 GMT

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

  • Guide: Where to find food trucks in New Jersey

    Guide: Where to find food trucks in New Jersey

    Food Truck Friday: Callahan'sFood Truck Friday: Callahan's

    Craving something savory or sweet? It doesn't really matter when it comes to food trucks, where you can have it all -- you just have to know where to find them! Here is a list of food trucks and where you could find them in New Jersey.

    Craving something savory or sweet? It doesn't really matter when it comes to food trucks, where you can have it all -- you just have to know where to find them! Here is a list of food trucks and where you could find them in New Jersey.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."