MANILA, Philippines – Transport network company Uber on Wednesday, June 15, launched its newest carpooling service that aims to provide on-demand rides to its passengers, while using fewer cars in a bid to avoid worsening the traffic problem in Metro Manila.
The newest uberPOOL service allows passengers to share their rides with up to 3 other people heading to the same destination, and pay fares that are typically 25% cheaper than the company’s cheapest service, UberX.
Uber Philippines general manager Laurence Cua said riders only need to select the uberPOOL option on the app, select their destination, and choose how many people they want to share the ride with. The system then calculates a route to pick up and drop off the passengers.
Because it is a ride-sharing service instead of a point-to-point service, it may take a bit longer for passengers to get to their destination. But Cua said that the benefits outweigh a few minutes of waiting. (READ: UberPOOL in PH: How Uber’s carpool feature works)
“It does change a little bit of behavior, but we do think overall, in the bigger scheme of things, that additional 5 to 10 minutes is worth the effort. It’s not too big of an inconvenience, and it will help in taking cars off the road,” Cua said in an interview during the service’s launch at the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) compound in Quezon City.
Cua said the latest service is the company’s solution to Metro Manila’s traffic woes, which cost the Philippines P2.4 billion a day in productivity losses.
Experts have also pointed to the boom of car sales as one of the causes behind the gridlock in the metro.
Currently, 40 cities around the world have the uberPOOL service. Since it was first launched in 2014, Uber said more than 100 million rides have been taken using the service.
Aside from providing cheaper fares for passengers, Cua said the new service would also benefit drivers and the environment. Since passengers share rides, drivers would have less idle time waiting for passengers. Fewer cars would also be needed on the roads – which, in turn, would cut harmful carbon dioxide emissions.
Based on its estimates, Uber said that its carpooling service has saved about 1.8 million gallons of gas and 16,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions in the first 4 months of 2016 alone.
LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez also expressed his support for uberPOOL, noting its contribution to helping ease congestion in Metro Manila.
He also clarified that there will be no new franchises issued for the new carpooling service.
“UberPOOL will use UberX cars. This is not a new franchise. All those that were authorized already will be using the same authority, so no authority, no new license will be issued,” Ginez said.
Meanwhile, Cua assured passengers that sharing their rides with others won’t compromise their safety. He said that all Uber users are validated because they are required to provide their credit card information and mobile number, among others, before using the ride-hailing service.
“Drivers on Uber cannot just pick passengers off the street. When you register, you have to have a credit card, mobile number, email. So everything is tracked. And besides that, we have a support system in the backend. If a passenger has a complaint, they can email and we respond very quickly,” he said. – Rappler.com
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