9 Things I Learned on My Recent UberPOOL Trip

UberPOOL (like Lyft’s Lyft Line) approximates carpooling. In theory, several riders share a car traveling along a shared route. (In true carpooling, the driver and the passengers share the destination.) Uber’s version uses its large network of riders, finding some that could travel the same path for at least part of their trip.

UberPOOL vs UberX; UberPOOL saves about 25% of fare.1) With UberPOOL you spend time and save money

UberPOOL is Uber’s cheapest fare in North America. (They currently have a promotion in New York City for $5 rides.) The only catch: you might stop on the way to your destination to pick up someone else traveling the same direction.

With UberPOOL, you save money, but it most often takes longer.

In Toronto, the fare averages about 25% cheaper than an UberX, which will take you directly to your destination—no detours.

2) Traveling alone? Sit in front.

On a recent trip to Toronto, I initiated an UberPOOL request, traveling from the western suburbs to the city. I was the first passenger so I sat in front. (This ensures that if there are two passengers at the next stop, they are not separated.)

3) Drivers have to opt into POOL

In order to accept POOL rides, drivers need to pass a simple, online test. Some regret it because…

4) Driver’s don’t like UberPOOL.

As we made our way downtown, I asked the driver about the various Uber services in Toronto. There are over 10!

He did not like POOL rides. Uber takes a lower percentage (10% instead of 25%), but the fees are smaller.

As he explained it, UberPOOL only makes sense for the driver if the car fills up with three or four riders, but that seldom happens. At times, he even takes only one passenger.

5) Uber threatens drivers with timeouts

Uber treats its drivers like 5-year-old children. If a driver declines too many UberPOOL requests, they can be logged off the entire system for several minutes as punishment.

6) UberPOOL doesn’t surge

Passengers use POOL to avoid surging fares. Drivers hate this because if they accept a POOL trip, then they might miss out on a larger, surging fare.

The Uber website says it does surge, but this was reported to me by a passenger as the main reason she uses POOL.

7) UberPOOL passengers give out lower ratings.

Some passengers request POOL when they think they are getting UberX. Some get mad at making another detour to pick up a second passenger. They take the general annoyances of the longer rides out on the driver the only way they know how: give them a bad rating.

8) Passengers need to be prompt

So as not to inconvenience other passengers, Uber warns riders that the driver will only wait 2 minutes. (Interesting that when it is only the driver being inconvenienced on UberX, for example, Uber will let the passenger be 5 minutes late. Just another reason why Uber loves passengers and hates drivers.)

9) If your date calls you an UberPOOL for the ride home, he might not be into you.

On the way to my destination, we made a small side trip to pick up “Hansel” (not the real name).

Just as the driver picked up the phone to call him, the passenger arrived, but it was not Hansel. It was ‘Gretel.’ She entered the car silently and did not engage in any conversation.

With no back story, I, of course, filled one in. My conclusion: if your boyfriend calls you an UberPOOL for the ride home, he might not be into you.

What have you learned on an UberPOOL ride? Please leave a comment.

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