UberPool launches in Perth, offering cheaper fares

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Sarah IsonThe West Australian
VideoA big change coming to Uber, it's called Uber Pool, designed to save passengers money, and time. It's only on trial in Perth at the moment for people traveling between Fremantle, Scarborough and Belmont.

Perth Uber customers will soon be able to share their rides and split the cost with the launch of carpooling service UberPool.

Perth will be third city in Australia, behind Sydney and Melbourne, to introduce UberPool as an additional feature to the Uber app, which will pair up riders travelling in a similar direction so they can hop in the same car.

UberPool will start as a six month trial, starting at the end of the month, and will save customers up to 55 per cent on their fare.

ANZ Uber Australia and New Zealand head of operations Dom Taylor said Perth was the first low-density city to introduce the UberPool in Australia, but was confident there was the demand to see the service extend beyond the trial.

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“We’ve looked at the geography of Perth and set a boundary from just south of Fremantle, up to Scarborough and out as east as Belmont where we’re confident the density and demand will exist,” he said.

“The two main features to this service are walking and waiting… that combination really increases the efficiency of our match and lets us lower costs to 45 to 55 per cent savings versus UberX.”

A customer travelling from the Perth CBD to Maylands would pay as little as $6.30 in an UberPool, compared to an $11.50 UberX charge, assuming surge was not in effect.

If a customer is not matched with anyone on UberPool, the same discount is applied, with Uber scaling back its service fee to 5 per cent to ensure the driver’s income was not affected.

Riders could be waiting up to five minutes for their UberPool, and ride times would vary depending on the number of people they shared with, but Mr Taylor said the amount of time and money spent by Uber users was for them to decide.

In response to safety concerns, Mr Taylor said 24/7 response and an emergency help button were live on UberPool, while drivers and riders signing up to Uber also signed onto community guidelines based on mutual respect.

Mr Taylor said recent data around congestion in Perth showed the city would have four out of 10 of the most congested roads in Australia by 2031, begging for solutions like incentivised carpooling.

“The idea is to get more people into the average four seats of a car,” he said.

“That allows us to get more use out of these vehicles and get less cars on the road, which is a critical part of what we’re doing.”

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