Choosing Uber’s carpool option can be risky. Yes, you can save money, but the tradeoff is efficiency, convenience, and speed in terms of reaching your destination.
Uber today acknowledged that UberPOOL is “not perfect” and announced that it has updated the technology under the hood in an attempt cut down on wait and drive times. For the moment, that change primarily involves tweaking the algorithm in Manhattan to encourage people to walk to more optimal pickup spots.
“After realizing that a short walk could save people both time and money, we knew we were on to something,” said Uber in a blog post. “Our data was starting to show that we could pick more people up and get riders to their destinations faster. Since then, we’ve been refining our algorithms to create a flexible, affordable carpooling product that is customized for Manhattan.”
To improve pickups, the company is trying to better understand the numerous variables, like picking someone up before a traffic light or just after a traffic light and whether there is a bus lane. Perhaps most importantly, the service is having passengers walk to a single main road to reduce the turns and lane changes that have to be made.
On the drop-off side, the app will now recalculate the best drop-off spot as the car gets closer to that spot.
We’ll see if this addresses some of the criticism UberPOOL has faced.