TfL might be trying to clip Uber’s wings, but the start-up is having none of it. It’s announced – via FT – it will launch UberPool, its ridesharing service, in London this Friday.
Last week Uber claimed the service would launch in the coming months. Now it looks like it’ll arrive sooner than we expected.
UberPool lets Uber users share a car with others who are going the same way to reduce the cost of the ride. According to Uber, it will be 25 per cent cheaper than UberX, its most affordable option. The firm also claims it could end car ownership in London.
Since launching in Paris a year ago, UberPool accounts for 10 per cent of all Uber rides there. Uber expects that to rise to about 50 per cent in the next two years.
“It used to be an experiment, now it’s a product,” said Thibaud Simphal, Uber’s chief executive for France.
Uber has faced its share of controversy in both the UK and France. Here in Blighty, TfL has sought to put restrictions on the service, claiming that it unfairly disadvantages black-cab drivers. For example, TfL would like to impose a minimum wait time of five minutes, which is considerably longer than you currently have to wait for a lot of Uber cars.
In France, meanwhile, Uber suspended its UberPop service following violent protests and pressure from the government. UberPop let private-car owners to offer lifts without any formal training, whereas UberPool uses only licensed drivers.