As a means to improve Uber’s efficiency with its cars and fleet of drivers and offer better rides for its customers, Uber is testing a new feature ‘Smart Routes’ program along the roads of San Francisco to encourage passengers to take it as a better alternative to public transport.
This ‘Smart Route’ feature first spotted by TechCrunch, is part of the Uber’s car pool service called UberPool. This feature allows passengers to ride a specific route which cost similar to the bus fare but a little more comfortable. The user can take a ride anywhere along the green line on the map, which outlines the route of the car. It is more or less similar to how the bus works. For regular user of the smart routes, the company offers a discount of $1 or more from the usual UberPool price.
“We have begun testing a new feature to streamline the UberPool experience for both riders and drivers,” said Uber spokesperson. “This experimental feature called ‘Smart Route,’ aims to simplify pick-ups by encouraging riders to request a ride along specific routes in San Francisco. Smart Routes is part of our ongoing efforts to increase the efficiency of driver-partners’ time spent on the road while helping riders save time and money too.”
Apart from the passengers, this feature benefits the drivers too as it reduces the unnecessary time waste and saves fuel. This means the driver can finish the UberPool rides quickly and take up more riders which thereby helps them earn more money.
The idea may be new with Uber but the idea is not by itself. A San Francisco -based startup Loup does the same by allowing the passengers to book a seat in black car driving on a specific route which changes depending on the demand. Another startup company called Chariot offers private shuttle buses for passengers for a stipulated route which is slightly more expensive than bus tickets but offers amenities like Wi-Fi. Even Uber’s competitor Lyft offers a same feature as ‘HotSpots’ for its carpooling service for a much lesser price.
Apart from Smart Route, Uber is also testing another feature called ‘Perpetual Rides that allows drivers to continuously pick up passengers when they have an open seat, rather than finishing a set of UberPool before starting up with a new one.
However, Uber is testing its Smart Route feature in two route in San Francisco. If proved successful, it would be made available in other cities too.