UberPool goes East

UberPool expands to the East Coast before Lyft Line

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Uber’s carpooling option, UberPool, is going bicoastal. On Thursday, the company will launch UberPool in New York City, covering all five boroughs. Passengers will be able to request shared rides through the app, dramatically decreasing the price they pay if they’re matched with another rider.

Such carpooling makes perfect sense for Manhattan, where many people live in Brooklyn or other boroughs and commute into the city for work. Subways are overcrowded, but taxis are very expensive to go such a distance. Since there’s such a high, frequent flow of passengers between the city and the outer boroughs, UberPool may flourish. It’s not a bad option for getting to JFK airport either.

This is the third city to offer Uber’s carpooling option, following behind San Francisco and Paris. Lyft Line, which is Lyft’s version of the service, is offered in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Uber appears to be beating Lyft at its own game, expanding faster than its rival, despite the fact that Lyft is the one that pioneered the carpooling concept and technology. But just because UberPool is in more cities doesn’t mean it has nailed the particulars. Carpool-ridesharing requires adequate driver and passenger training and finely tuned matching algorithms. As we saw in the first few weeks of Lyft Line and UberPool’s launches, there were plenty of rough spots.

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