Uber bets big on POOL in 2017, rolls out series of tech features to push ride sharing


Uber, the world’s largest on-demand ride-sharing company, today announced that its big focus in 2017 will be on popularising UberPOOL, its most innovative product offering that enables people going the same way at the same time to share their journey–bringing carpooling at the tap of a button. Uber recently successfully concluded the #SwitchToPOOL campaign, aimed at ‘getting more people in fewer cars’ in order to address the increasing congestion and pollution issues in India’s top cities.

In order to further accelerate adoption of UberPOOL and make every ride a shared ride, Uber has now rolled out a slew of technology innovations aimed at making  uberPOOL even more reliable and convenient for riders; and effortless for driver partners in India. The new updates address some of the common feedback from riders and driver-partners and are designed to further enhance the Uber experience.

“For a country that considered car ownership as a status symbol, consumers are now much more open to sharing their vehicles. The growth in usage of uberPOOL is testament to this. Today, more than 31% of rides in Delhi are on UberPOOL and over 20% of the rides in the remaining five UberPOOL cities – Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. Since the launch of UberPOOL in India, riders have taken more than a million trips. And we are continuously working towards making the next million even more effortless, so we can get more people into fewer cars and help cities cut down on congestion and pollution over time,” said Mr Amit Jain, President – India and South Asia, Uber.

Some interesting product features rolled out are:

Faster Pickups: We’ve all been there. Your uberPOOL arrives to pick up another rider, but he or she isn’t ready to go. You and your driver are left wondering where the other rider is, and how much longer you’ll have to wait. Quick pickups are critical to the uberPOOL experience, so we’re working hard to minimize time spent waiting for riders.

High reliability: We are able to provide higher reliability because we are constantly working with our driver partners to improve expected time of arrivals (ETAs). Our latest driver app update includes the technology to inform drivers about their wait time before they get their next ride so he is ready when it is time to pick up the rider. Our partners can receive their next trip just before their current trip is over. Since often times a car ending a trip will get to you much faster than the next closest car already available, a request is accepted by the car ending a trip instead means huge ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival of your Uber) savings for riders and partners alike.

Countdown Timer for Drivers: Drivers don’t always know when to move on if a rider doesn’t show up, so we’ve built a timer in the driver app. When a driver arrives at the pickup location, a timer counts down from 2 minutes. If the rider isn’t in the car within that time, the driver is prompted to move on with the ride and collect a no-show fee to compensate for lost time.


More control and clarity for drivers: Pickups and drop-offs are undoubtedly one of the hardest parts of driving with Uber, and uberPOOL means a lot of both. We want to give drivers more control over their experience, and as much clarity around uberPOOL earnings as possible.

Route Extension:  Drivers told us that it’s hard to change lanes or make a quick turn without knowing where they’re headed after their next pickup or drop-off. We recently rolled out a feature that extends the driving route line on their app’s map beyond the next immediate pickup or drop-off. That way, drivers have the information they need to effectively continue their uberPOOL trip.

No More Math:  Today, each leg of an uberPOOL trip is listed as its own individual ride on their pay statement. This can lead to confusion since drivers are paid for time and distance of the entire trip — from first pickup to last drop off — just like uberGO. So drivers will soon see the aggregated earnings for all legs of the uberPOOL trip, with a detailed breakdown for time, distance, and surge. By removing the math, we hope to make it easier for drivers to see what they’re earning.

Pause Button: Drivers have always wanted an option to stop requests temporarily and this is now possible on the Uber Partner App. If a driver is looking to take a break he can hit the “Stop New Requests” button while on a trip which will temporarily make him ineligible for dispatches.


Better Matchmaking: uberPOOL is built on a complex algorithm that chooses the best possible match for riders and drivers at the time a trip is requested. But the uberPOOL ecosystem is incredibly dynamic and a lot can change in even one minute: a new driver may become available, a neighbor now needs a ride, traffic patterns change, and more. So, we’re taking matchmaking to the next level.

Automatic Trip Upgrades: We’ve built technology that continues to look for better matches, even after an initial match has been made. If we find a more convenient match for you, we’ll make that swap automatically. Trip Upgrades happen mostly behind the scenes, but we’ll always alert riders and drivers via push notifications with the updated details of their trip.

UberPOOL was first launched in India in Bengaluru in September 2015, with the aim of revolutionizing the way millions of people think about getting around their cities.

In a span of one year (Dec 1, 2015 – Dec 1, 2016), Uber has partnered with the citizens in saving over 32 million kilometres of vehicles travel, over 1.5 million litres of fuel and reducing over CO2 emissions worth 3.5 million kilograms!

#SwitchToPOOL Campaign Success

Uber today successfully concluded its first-ever #SwitchtoPOOL campaign conducted from Dec 16, 2016 to Jan 05, 2017. The campaign evoked participation from 1,03,281 citizens, and resulted in cost savings of up to INR 15,01,64,812 for the riders.

Other milestones achieved by the #SwitchToPOOL campaign during this three week period (over and above the savings quoted above):

●      Over  55,83,893 kilometres of vehicle travel saved (duplicate Kms)

●      2,62,683 litres of fuel saved

●      CO2 emissions worth 6,18,297 Kgs reduced