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Uber Pool: How It Works, Cost, Pricing & More

Are you confused about how Uber Pool works? Learn everything about how much UberPool costs and its benefits to riders and drivers.

Key Takeaways

  • Uber Pool offers cost-effective shared rides, matching passengers traveling in the same direction.
  • Rides involve multiple pickups and drop-offs, potentially adding time but lowering individual costs.
  • Uber Pool limits seat reservations to two per party to ensure space for additional riders.
  • Drivers may earn more consistently through a series of Uber Pool fares compared to individual UberX rides.

What is Uber Pool?

Uber Pool is a ride-sharing service offered by Uber that matches you with other passengers heading in the same direction as you.

During your trip, the driver may pick up and drop off multiple people along the way. While this shared system can extend your travel time, it also reduces the cost of your ride.

vector graphic showing two uber riders outside of an uberpool vehicle

Before you commit to Uber Pool, the app provides an estimated time of arrival. Although it’s possible to find yourself as the sole passenger, especially during lower-demand periods, it’s common to share the ride with at least one other rider.

How Does Uber Pool Work for Riders?

For a single rider, select one seat in the Uber Pool option. If no other passengers are matched with your route, you may end up enjoying a private ride at the lower Uber Pool rate.

For two riders, specify that you need two seats when booking to ensure there’s enough space in the vehicle. If the car is full upon arrival due to a booking error, the driver may cancel, and you’ll have to request another ride.

Uber Pool does not accommodate more than two seats per booking to ensure there’s room for others. If your party includes three or more people, you’ll need to choose UberX for adequate space.

How Does Uber Pool Work for Drivers?

Uber Pool allows drivers to earn by picking up multiple passengers on a single trip, each heading in the same direction.

While the fare per passenger is less compared to UberX, the collective earnings from several riders can add up, especially in busy areas.

The continuous chain of picking up and dropping off passengers means drivers can increase their earnings potential without the downtime between individual UberX trips.

For instance, a driver could pick up one passenger in Santa Monica and another heading towards East LA, making more in the process than if they only drove the first passenger.

The increased number of riders and reduced waiting time for new fares make UberPool a potentially lucrative option for drivers in urban settings.

Can Drivers Turn Off Uber Pool Requests?

Uber drivers do not have the option to disable UberPool requests. They can choose not to accept UberPool rides, but frequently declining these requests can negatively impact their acceptance rate.

Consistently avoiding UberPool trips may also lead to a decrease in their overall driver rating.

Where is Uber Pool Offered?

Uber Pool exists in the biggest markets such as Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles.

Use Uber’s city page.

Locate your city to find out if Uber Pool exists there.

Open the app and look for the Uber Pool option.

Why Is There No Uber Pool Option When I Open Uber?

You won’t see the option for Uber Pool if Uber’s platform doesn’t offer that service in your particular region.

Or, you might not see it in larger cities where it’s normally available because Uber suspended it temporarily due to COVID-19.

Does Uber Still Offer Uber Pool During COVID-19?

Uber’s website reports that Uber Pool is unavailable temporarily due to COVID-19.

However, the message indicates that the service disruption affects only certain regions.

You need to check your app to find out whether Uber’s desire to avoid close contact between riders caused it to cancel carpooling in your city.

How Much Does Uber Pool Cost?

That’s a loaded question because it’s difficult to detail out how Uber’s algorithm works for this product.

vector graphic showing the best times driving for Uber works

Just like any other Uber ride type, though, Uber Pool prices are upfront and based on the same set of factors.

However, Uber Pool prices are always cheaper than many of the other Uber services — even UberX — in any given market.

The regular UberX algorithm prices its estimates based on:

  • Time of day (whether surge exists or not)
  • Estimated trip time
  • Distance

Your exact rates will vary by city, but here’s a look at current rates in Washington, D.C. (as of January 2021) so you have an idea of what Uber fares to expect:

  • Base fare: $1.22
  • Per-minute rate: 26 cents
  • Per-mile rate: 81 cents
  • Booking fee: $2.80
  • Minimum fare: $7.84
  • Rider no-show fee: $5.25
  • Cancellation fee: $3.25

Like other Uber services, Uber Pool rides are subject to surge pricing and riders are expected (though not required) to leave at least a 15% tip.

The biggest difference to be aware of when taking Uber Pool rides is the fact that your driver will only wait at your pick-up location for two minutes (instead of the typical five), so you will be charged a no-show fee earlier than normal.

By the way, Lyft Line (Lyft Shared) and its pricing work in a similar fashion.

Does Uber Pool Charge per Person?

No, Uber Pool doesn’t charge per person.

It uses the above factors such as distance and time of day.

It does provide riders flat rates, though.

High-Level Summary of Uber Pool Cost

From a high level, you’ll pay less using Uber Pool than UberX because you’re spreading the cost between you and other UberPool riders.

If you want to lower your Uber charges, then try using Uber Pool during surges.

Uber Pool prices do rise during a surge, but you should experience more riders entering the car during times of congestion.

That means you can save money overall.

Uber Pool Cost vs Uber X

Uber estimated that Uber Pool trips cost about 30% less than UberX after studying the Los Angeles market.

Uber Pool Cost vs Lyft Shared Saver

Many factors go into the difference in cost between Uber Pool and its competitor, called Lyft Shared Saver.

It all depends on the market, whether each company offers the shared-ride concept in that market, and demand at any given moment.

One way to know for sure is to look at both apps to compare in real-time.

Uber Pool vs Other Services

Uber Pool vs. Uber Express Pool

In some cities, you may notice a ride option called “Express Pool” in addition to the traditional Uber Pool .

Express Pool is the only service that’s cheaper than Uber Pool because it reduces your time in the vehicle and increases your time spent walking.

While Uber Pool will sometimes add significant detours to get right to your requested pick-up point and destination, Express Pool prioritizes traveling in straight, clear paths like a bus line.

With Express Pool, you’re picked up and dropped off at points along the set route, instead of exactly where you’re located or headed.

Express Pool typically adds about one or two blocks to your walk, which is usually no more than five extra minutes of walking time on top of what you’d experience with Uber Pool.

The exact price difference can vary by city, but is often worth it if you’re not short on time.

Uber Pool vs. Public Transit

While the Uber Pool experience may be less desirable than Uber’s many private ride options, its benefits do beat public transportation by a long shot.

Uber Pool rides tend to be far more reliable, with drivers arriving on time and dropping you off within a designated time frame.

Plus, you’re never tied to set routes, so if your destination is a long walk away from the nearest bus stop or subway station, Uber Pool can easily cut your travel times.

Ridesharing also tends to be safer than your average public transit experience.

The Uber app provides a handful of personalized safety features, like route sharing and an emergency button that sends your trip information directly to dispatchers if you tap “Call 911.”

While your fellow riders don’t have to pass background checks, Uber will always have a record of their payment details in case anything goes wrong.

On top of this, Uber Pool vehicles are typically well-maintained and much cleaner than buses and subways.

With fewer co-riders, guaranteed seats, and personable service from your driver, Uber Pool will connect you to the most comfortable ride experience possible at its low price range.

How to Request an Uber Pool Ride

Requesting an Uber Pool ride is just like requesting any other ride type on the app, but if you’re brand new to Uber, you’ll need to start by setting up your account.

Start by downloading the Uber app onto your iPhone or Android and tapping “Register” upon opening the platform.

Then, follow the prompts to provide requested information — including your full name and contact information — and verify your phone number and email.

You’ll then be prompted to enter your desired payment method, which can always be updated in the “Wallet” section of your app.

Graphic from Uber, explaining how Uber Express POOL works

Once your account is fully set up, follow these steps to request your Uber Pool ride:

  1. Tap the “Where to?” bar to enter your pick-up and drop-off locations.
  2. Select “Uber Pool.”
  3. Review your ride price, estimated drop-off time (this is usually a range for Pool rides), and payment method.
  4. Then, tap “Confirm Uber Pool” to complete your request and get matched with an Uber driver

Uber Pool Rules You Must Follow

Make sure you understand Uber Pool’s rules.

Failure to abide by them can cause Uber to deactivate your account.

  • Arrive at your pickup point early or on time. Others are waiting on you.
  • Don’t eat in the car. You’re sharing a ride, and others might not want to hear you eating or smell your food’s strong odor.
  • Do not cancel. Drivers will cancel you out of the trip if they have to wait longer than two minutes for you to show up at the pickup location.
  • Keep track of your stuff. It’s difficult to get a driver to return items left behind after an Uber Pool ride. He or she is immediately picking up or dropping off someone else.
  • Beware of Uber luggage policies. Don’t order Uber Pool if you’re going to the airport and carrying five suitcases.
  • Understand that you chose a carpooling option. The driver must follow the app and pick up or drop off others before you reach your destination. If you’re in a hurry, then selecting Uber Pool is your mistake.

Frequently Asked Questions

Taking an Uber Pool ride is a great way to get to your destination without spending more than you need to.

For more information about this Uber service, read our answers to these frequently asked questions:

How Do Secondary Trips Work?

Secondary Uber Pool trips appear automatically once another person requests a shared ride en route.

The Uber app does not require permission from the first passenger to accept another ride.

Instead, Uber Pool automatically updates the route in the map for a more efficient pick-up and drop-off.

Can You Still Change the Pickup Location or Destination?

Updating the trip location is not possible once an Uber Pool trip has started.

The app uses the original pickup and drop-off locations to match with other riders heading towards the same destination.

If a rider requests a destination change, the driver reserves the right to cancel the trip.

How does the drop-off order work? Can I be dropped off first if I was picked up first?

The order of drop off doesn’t necessarily follow the order of pick up.

It depends on where each of the rider’s destination falls along the route.

If the second passenger’s destination comes before yours, they will be dropped off first.

The driver doesn’t get to pick the order of the drop-off.

The app automatically shows them the most
efficient pickup and drop off sequence.

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