We’ve posted a couple stories about UberPool lately and this week’s big news was that Uber is testing out ‘bus-like’ routes in San Francisco. Remember, Uber’s goal is to make themselves cheaper than owning a car for the average consumer but there’s one thing that’s holding them back: drivers.
Since there’s a minimum dollar amount (that Uber is constantly testing) at which drivers are willing to drive, the only way to continue driving the price down for passengers is through more efficient pick-ups (see smart routes and suggested pick-up points) and removing all of the wasted space/time of each ride.
In an ideal world, drivers would never have an empty seat as long as they’re driving and all of these Uber-innovations are actually headed in that direction. In just the past few weeks, we’ve seen Uber add multiple potential pick-ups to UberPool rides, smart routes, suggested pick-ups, and I suspect they’ve got lots more of these features in the works.
My hope would be that Uber would pass some of the savings on the consumer’s side to drivers but as we’ve already seen with UberPool, that’s probably not going to happen. I think Uber is running down a slippery slope since some of these efficiencies (like UberPool) are asking a lot more out of drivers yet the compensation doesn’t reflect that. It’s going to be difficult for Uber to achieve its goals without most of its drivers buying in, but it may be a while before they realize this.
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Today, RSG contributor, John Ince, takes a look at why Uber and Lyft continue to look more and more like mass transit, and more. Please let us know in the comments below what you think of Uber’s new smart routes and what the longer-lasting impact could mean for drivers.