Traveling in London will get a little cheaper starting on Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. thanks to Uber's taxi-sharing service called UberPool. Right after Paris, this will be the second European city that'll employ this service — that is, if everything goes according to the transportation company's plans.
With UberPool, users will be able to share a ride with another user who is also requesting a ride along a similar route. When a shared ride is found, the app will ask the user if they want to share it with the other user. When the user accepts, both the driver and co-rider's names will be sent.
Compared with UberX, passengers stand to save 25 percent in fare expenses through this taxi-sharing service, according to the company. It does, however, have a few restrictions, where each pick-up is limited to two passengers only, as no more than three occupants are allowed in a ride.
It might seem good and all at first on paper, but Transport for London (TfL) does not share the same sentiment as Uber when it comes to ride-sharing private cars.
"We intend to explore measures to ensure that private hire vehicles cannot be used for ride sharing purposes in London unless there are very clear controls in place to protect the safety of passengers and drivers," reads (PDF) TfL's proposal.
UberPool operations will be greatly affected depending on the outcome of TfL's current consultation on measures for private hire vehicles. On top of that, London's Mayor Boris Johnson suggests that Uber is at fault for the growing traffic in the city.
On the other hand, General Manager of Uber UK Jo Bertram says that UberPool will ease traffic congestion in the city.
"UberPool makes it easy and affordable for people going in the same direction at the same time to share the trip. That means cheaper rides for passengers, less time between trips for drivers and fewer cars on the city's streets over time. By getting more bums on previously empty seats, this new service will help cut congestion and pollution in London," she says.
In a bid to win the case, it might be possible that Uber timed the launch of UberPool before TfL's consultation closes on Dec. 23 to gain the support of users. It's unclear how things will turn out, but at any rate, Londoners will have another option for transportation in the meantime.