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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Uber releases Express Pool in Philadelphia

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Uber Express Pool, available through the well-known ride sharing app Uber (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

New ride-sharing service offers cheaper, less convenient option


Ride-sharing company Uber recently introduced Express Pool, a new service that offers a cheaper ride in exchange for riders walking to a designated pick-up and drop-off point. The service was introduced in Philadelphia and five other cities at the end of February.

According to a company press release, the new service is aimed at making “better, straighter, faster routes with fewer detours, delivering an even more affordable and consistent option than Pool to consumers.”

Ethan Stock, director of product for shared rides at Uber, said he told his nephew, who is a student at Temple University, about Express Pool as soon as it launched.

“We think that this is a great service for college students who often don’t own a car and are on a tight budget, but have transit needs for class, for a part-time job, or for social purposes,” Stock said.

Uber’s existing service, Pool, picks up individual passengers at different locations and drops them off at their individual destinations. With Express Pool, riders are asked to walk a few blocks to a pickup location that is calculated to create a more efficient trip, Stock said.

When the trip is requested, the app will take a few extra minutes to find the most compatible co-riders. Riders are notified of their drop-off spot towards the end of their ride and are provided walking directions to their final destination.

Philadelphia is currently one of a few cities that offer Express Pool, Stock said. Uber plans to roll out the service broadly in the U.S. over the coming months.

“Philadelphia was chosen as one of the six cities for this week’s launch based on many different factors, including its status as one of our biggest U.S. Pool cities from the 16 cities where Pool operates today,” Stock said.

Uber added this new service as an extension of their efforts to provide alternatives to public transportation.

Tom Pierce ’20 said he uses Uber at least once a week to go into the city with friends. For him, taking an Uber is easier and works with his schedule better than taking the bus or the train.

“It’s the convenience,” Pierce said. “If that price were lower that would be great, but it’s definitely the convenience.”

While he had not yet heard about Express Pool, Pierce said he’d be willing to walk a few blocks to save money.

“I would say nine times out of ten, I would walk unless it were raining or snowing,” Pierce said. “If it’s a decent day I’d walk for a cheaper price.”

Olivia O’Reilly ’20, who uses Uber multiple times a week for her job in Ardmore, said she loves Pool because it’s cheaper, but she wouldn’t be interested in using Express Pool.

“I looked at what it was about and I don’t really like it because it’s basically the same as a train. You have to walk to get to your destination,” O’Reilly said.

Still, Uber is O’Reilly’s preferred option for her travel needs over public transportation.

“It’s easier to get an Uber,” O’Reilly said. “With Uber it comes when you want it to; with the train you might have to wait a half an hour. The Wynnewood station is right across the street [from where I work] so I could take the train, but it’s honestly the same price for an Uber.”

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