Uber is trialling a carpool tool which allows people on longer drives to pick up extra passengers they can split the cost with.
The new service, called Uber Commute, will be piloted in Chengdu, China first, but the plan is to expand to the rest of the world, Uber said in a statement:
Over time we hope to adapt Uber Commute for other cities around the world so that more people can carpool, helping reduce costs for everyone while also cutting congestion.
The ride-hailing app is growing rapidly in China, raising some $1.2bn just weeks ago for a further push into the Asian market.
Uber Commute will be similar to the company’s existing service Uber Pool, but more geared towards carpooling. This means it can make use of drivers that don’t have to be working for Uber, just people who’ve signed up to save money on a commute they were going to be making anyway, as Uber described the new service:
Drivers sign into the app and tell Uber where they are going. We then show them requests from riders who are traveling in the same direction as well as the payment they will receive for the trip. The driver can then decide whether to accept the request or not.
This isn’t the first or only carpooling service available, with existing companies like BlaBlaCar and Tripda offering a similar service. Uber’s advantage, though, lies in the sheer number of passengers signed up, as Uber Commute would tie into the company’s core ride-sharing function.
Exactly when this tool might be landing in the UK remains to be seen.