So I like it. I think the mentions about it triggering an association to car-pool are spot on.
Or perhaps it could have been a service where Uber had their own fleet of 'special' drivers for 'premium' members to help with peak demand times. Of course, this sounds quite a bit like a traditional contracted car service.
UberShare seems more fitting to me. Having read what it is the name makes sense, but it didn't inform me going in.
I am going to be so rich. Thank you!
On an unrelated note, how is the form at the bottom supposed to update you when UberPool is in your area? Area codes are going to be inaccurate for anybody who's moved since they got their cell phone number.
Uber have a lot of advantages. They have a userbase of passengers and drivers that can be brought over to new services. They have the media's attention, including mainstream media. They have the cash to run at a loss while building up. They have presence in a lot of cities. They also have the competence to do this well.
Imagine that you build a "person search." You enter a name. It brings up a page with pictures, facts and other information collected around the web. It's nifty. That's interesting. But, if Google put a little "people" link between images and news in their search page and person search will have hundreds of thousands of users this week.
The news here is "uber launch carpooling service," not "carpooling service now exists." Rightly so, IMO. If this works well, there could be tens of thousands of user in a couple of months.
But you're right, the key to this is the implementation of the idea over the idea itself. Uber (probably) will generate a larger network of car poolers, which is necessary for this type of service to work.
For a general near-real-time hailing system, limiting it to a smaller area means that even if your best match would add a relatively high distance penalty (say 50%), in absolute terms that's still tolerable (a few extra minutes). So that increases the probability of finding a match right now where the economics work out.
I also just tried out Car2Go which costed me ~$15. The same trip from Uber, albiet at a different time of day, costs $9-12, and I get a driver. If Uber's pricing is even lower due to car sharing, then services like ZipCar and Car2Go may be in a little trouble.
Of course, I realize if you're going to pick something up from a hardware store or whatever you may not want to use Uber, but for many types of trips using a service like Uber or Lyft is better and more convenient than driving yourself
My guess is that rental services need a considerable oversupply of vehicles to make up for the uneven nature of demand. If I'm going to use such a service, I need to be reasonably certain that I can get a car within walking distance, and that means they need enough cars within a fairly small area to handle the 95th percentile of demand (or whatever percentile is appropriate).
With something like Uber, the supply is effectively shared within the metro area, so sudden demand in one small area doesn't hurt. If the nearest Uber car is a five-minute drive away, that's fine. If the nearest ZipCar vehicle is a five-minute drive away, you are probably not using ZipCar today.
I think this brings us back to the continuing discussion of self-driving cars....
Which is what, a 4 minute walk? That seems pretty minimal to me.
In what way is ~1250 feet considered a far distance to go for a rental car? Even in a populous metro area that seems about as short a walk as I would expect, are they generally closer?
Bicycle rentals don't work like that -- you get on a bike at one stand and leave it at the stand closest to where you want to end up. I don't know why the car model is so badly broken.
An hour of Divvy is surprisingly close in cost to an hour of ZipCar, which is astonishing considering how much more it must cost to operate ZipCar.
With Zipcar, you first pay a membership nearly as expensive as bikesharing, then pay at least $10/hr.
The same UberX trip would be $13 before taking mileage into account. If it took you 36 minutes, I assume you went at least 3 miles. So that makes the trip cost at least 17 bucks.
I've found that Car2Go is quite a bit cheaper than using either Lyft or UberX. I usually use them together though. I'll take a Car2Go to the bar, then take a rideshare home after drinking too much to drive.
Are there multiple locations you can drop the car at, and if not, how do you handle that when taking it to the bar?
With Car2Go, you leave the car in any legal on-street parking space (sometimes limited to 15 min+/1 hr+/2 hr+ depending on city) in the "home area" (borders depend on the city but are typically pretty expansive). The company contracts with each city to basically pay a flat rate for street and metered parking for all the cars yearly.
How extensive the home area is depends heavily on the city. In Los Angeles, it looks like a tiny sliver of the city  whereas in Berlin the coverage looks a lot better  (although it's possible I'm being confused by different map zoom levels)
This just doesn't sound like it will work with their core user base. Maybe they are trying to expand their user base to the public transportation crowd, but that may devalue the brand.
However the rise of Lyft and other competitors essentially pushed Uber to go into a price gauging war. They went into a big price cut with UberX that essentially made them cheaper than both Lyft & taxis, and had a lot of advertising campaigns talking about their price advantage. This happened late last year (I believe) and since then both Lyft & Uber have been going through a series of price cuts & driver promotions to compete on both side of the table.
So yes, Uber users are definitely price conscious. This has happened largely because Uber has shifted its model more towards UberX. Slashing fares was a pretty bold move (companies rarely cannibalize cash cows with high margins).
The new focus, I think is to consolidate their position by growing aggressively, competing with Lyft on pricing & driver promotions, and ultimately, drive the cost of service so low that they expand the market past on-demand limos (Uber before X), cabs (Uber now), to a service cheaper than owning a car (Uber in the future).
I just think of brand differentiation with these companies now, not really the price point.
One thing I've been considering is using Uber / Lyft, but it's a lot of money over the course of a year. At 40% cheaper it looks a lot more attractive, though. And sharing a car with another rider isn't any worse than sharing it with the driver! :)
Depending on that 3 mile commute (hills, traffic, bike routes), it may also be faster.
Also, before they put the bike lanes in biking during rush hour felt stressful and dangerous.
That said, a lot of people seem to sweat less on bikes with an electric assist; people worried about sweat might look into those as an alternative.
And learning to ride it :)
I spend north of $300 per month on uber, and I'm selling my car because I never touch it anymore. That changed recently as prices kept dropping.
Oh the horror.
I don't know if higher net-worth necessarily means that there aren't a good amount of those that are mindful of their spending (or cheap).
A huge problem Hitch faces is having enough demand-side riders on the market to make the marketplace viable 
Uber is going to be subsidizing the demand-side of the marketplace until the marketplace matures and demand fills in.
How is this possible without eminent domain?
Still, these calculations could be pretty difficult. There are a lot of unknown variables. What was each customer's alternative mode of transport? Did the customer actually have a car before? Etc.
Re: your incentive point, I'm not sure how that would work with emissions since it would basically just be "who drives the most," but I could see Uber promoting some incentive programs to get people to sell their car. They could even buy cars from people, in exchange for cash and/or uber credits, then repurpose those cars as uber vehicles.
i.e. a route becomes increasingly crowded to the point you can't get on the bus anymore. The problem gets so bad over a few years that you have to let 3-4 busses pass. An election comes up and miraculously the increased demand is met. kombis help alleviate these shenanigans.
Imagined future scenario, though: UberPool Buses. At the right peak times it could work, but I wouldn't like to use it in New York.
*Note the date
We just use Venmo :)
"This is also a bold social experiment." come on!
They're making it sound like they discovered nuclear fusion.
For all users who try UberPool at least once, find clusters where they all leave regularly at approximately the same time and head to the same destination.
Uber can even ask something like "Do you mind if we collect your commuting data for 1 week. If there is low variability, find clusters and suggest routes.
It think this could work bananas in places like SF-SouthBay, SouthBay-SF, and Washington DC where a sizeable chunk of people move back and forth in the same direction each day.
I think that while the biking culture in Boston is great, it won't be a good replacement for cars until there are more bike lanes and more careful drivers.
I don't quite understand what that means. Are they saying that all Google employees have access to the beta, or is Google involved in some other way?
they may be modifying one of the routing algorithms with google maps. How far of a deviation can you make from a given route to pickup another group without increasing the ride time by X percentage type questions?
"Shared rides in a premium SUV or Mercedes van.
As fast as a taxi at a fraction of the price."
All of the competition in ride sharing has been great in the Bay Area. UberX is sometimes in a price range closer to riding the bus or BART.
If they make this work, the Uber could turn out to be a huge environmental boon, reducing both the number of cards manufactured as well as fuel and road usage.
Hope it works...
> just happens to be requesting a ride along a similar route
> Uber from the Castro to the Financial District
Isn't 90% of the time it's like, one person goes to the Financial District, and the other one will just drop off Mid-Market, or just a few blocks towards SOMA, thank you?
So do you get stuck waiting until there is a person with just the same exact route, or how is this partially-overlapping ride determined and split? You detour a few blocks to the right to accommodate the "nearby SOMA" person? But what if the original person says, screw SOMA, I'm not paying or waiting for any detours, I need to get to FD on a straight line asap.
Sounds pretty hard, matching millions of similar but different routes.
(considering that it'd probably still be faster than normal taxis around here)
Different people evaluate & value those three differently. To get a customer that equation needs to yield a higher value than the next best thing. To win in a a market completely, you need to tick all three boxes. Better, cheaper, faster.
Uber focused on high quality early on, the limo market. They beat limos for price and convenience (the competition sucked) and matched the quality. More expensive than taxis, but better quality (nicer car). As the network grew, "convenience" went up, fast pickup times. They expanded downmarket (lower price & quality) with uberXand to take on Taxis.
I think this ridesharing/carpooling, if it works well might find an unserved niche somewhere between Taxis and public transport.
A next step might be something close to public transport. Basically minibuses running something similar to shuttles between hotels and airports. Most cities have these. They are possible because hotels can coordinate. That's why they are more common between the hotel and the airport than the other way around. There are probably lots of other use cases that are just missing the coordination.
There's also a huge and mostly hidden network of "dollar vans" in cities with large immigrant populations, private operators serving areas not touched by public transport routes. Not saying that Uber will expand this far downmarket, but interesting to note that what you describe exists in some form already.
Sam Altman's insight about his own (high end) car use and the potential cost of replacing it completely with Uber is one legitimate example of how they could expand beyond of the taxi market. I don't think it's impossible for uber to have a few hundred or thousand core users in major cities that spend $10,000 per year on Uber. That only really applies to a small group of wealthy individuals.
But, the real big markets are usually nearer the bottom of the pyramid.
This is what they did at CES: http://blog.bandwagon.io/post/92569728340/meet-the-hop-lane-...
It was really successful; and he got bought out for a decent sum of money.
But please, the phrase "game changer" is horribly overused today & diluted.
Every time I read about Gerber I wonder who the target market is. Then I remember that I'm a childless adult with a pantry full of food and lots of takeout menus on hand. And then I realize that Gerber is made by and for old, married, child-bearing couples with who live in the Midwest.
Obviously those with young children specifically are in a different position and that's likely to be hard to address. You'll have a particular pram/stroller you use and specific snacks. You're more likely to be tied to your car if you don't want to be packing and unpacking each time. I get it - I have a car with a car seat for a 2yo. But there are also loads of times I'd use an Uber service alone or with my partner or even with a child if it were prevalent in my city.
But transporting young children is a specific use case, and it's a very common one where something like Uber isn't really an attractive or viable substitute for your own car given the bulky support paraphenelia required, often by law (car seats, strollers etc.)
You will be able to give your full attention to your children instead of having them distract you from the road. In the future it might seem downright irresponsible to drive your children yourself. Sure you'll drive for fun sometimes, but not with the kids in the back.
Parents do plenty of horribly "unsafe" things with their kids, but the point is _they_ do them -- they aren't going to pass the responsibility for their children's lives on to a computer willingly. Heck, I've known people who refused to take their children on driverless trains, they sure won't put them into a driverless car.
No, you didn't actually say anything like that. But your post is pretty heavy with dismissal, as opposed to just saying "I don't think that this would work for my situation because A, B, C...". I doubt that something like this can accommodate even close to most people's lifestyle and needs, but there is no need for this "pff, only those privileged young people would find this useful" crap.
How will they know if I'm in their area? I wonder if they cross-referencing my phone # with my existing Uber account.
Disabling the box-sizing: border-box shows the content. Anyone ever run into an issue like this before?
Also has the potential to kill their own service. Very smart.
How would this give them any more data than they already have? What extra data?