#Asia Sticking a thumb out is so 2015: uberPOOL launches in Singapore


uberPOOL will immediately have to compete with GrabHitch, which has been operating in Singapore since November 2015

UberPool 2

“It’s all about getting more butts into fewer cars.”

In one sentence, this is the pitch Uber is making to consumers today as it announced the launch of its uberPOOL service in Singapore.

For users, it provides a cheaper alternative to ride-hailing services or traditional taxi because riders share the fee for the trip. While the average Uber ride might require a destination too specific to share with someone else, hitching a ride to a central destination like an MRT stop or a mall near work makes logical sense.

In Singapore, Uber is not a first-mover in the business as local rival Grab has been running its GrabHitch programme since November 2015.

GrabHitch now runs a free pilot programme between Johor Baru (Malaysia) and Singapore after some legal confusion led the Land Transit Authority to declare the paid service between the two countries to be illegal.

Also Read: Didi Chuxing lands US$600M from China Life — an Uber investor

As with many Uber initiatives, the result of uberPOOL globally has been a mixed bag of intriguing social changes dampened by individual incidents.

For example, in Chicago, a study from June found uberPOOL was both faster and cheaper than the exact same route on the city’s train system.

However, in London, a woman was assaulted by two men who did not realise they were sharing the taxi service and became irate.

The service is relatively popular for the ride-sharing giant, especially in China where the number of trips is estimated by Uber to top 30 million per month. Uber says the car-pool feature makes up 20 per cent of trips globally and has crossed the 100 million mark since its launch in August 2014.

Also Read: Can Uber survive against Go-Jek, Grab, and the Government?

Uber has always marketed itself as a means to lower the number of cars on the street and did so today with the uberPOOL announcement.

“It’s also another tool to help cities solve congestion and pollution.  And because uberPOOL is cheap and easy to use, over time it offers a credible alternative to car ownership.  If you can press a button and get an affordable ride across town within minutes at any time of day or night, why bother to own a car at all?” the statement read.

Overall, Uber estimated that if people across the world had driven their own private vehicles instead of using the service, 1.8 million extra gallons of gas would have been consumed and 16,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted.

Photo courtesy of Uber




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