UberPOOL Pricing — How Does It Work?
UberPOOL is a system that was created in order to match riders heading in the same direction. Instead of customers paying full-fare, riders receive a discounted rate by choosing to ride with other passengers — hence the name, UberPOOL.
So, how does POOL’s pricing system actually work?
UberPOOL — A Dynamic Pricing System
Pricing for UberPOOL is fairly complex.
Generally speaking, UberPOOL rates are 20% to 50% cheaper than regular UberX trips.
Rates differ greatly across various states and cities. For the vast majority of POOL users, rates are subject to a plethora of overlapping factors.
How POOL’s Price Structure Works
So — how are POOL passengers really charged for a standard trip?
Final fares depend on a number of factors. Of course, mileage, time of day, and duration will always affect the offered rate — but: it’s not that simple.
If you were to compare two of the exact same UberPOOL routes — the rate to be dropped off may be more than it would be to get picked up.
Why is this?
Well, Uber’s algorithm calculates UberPOOL rates based on the chance of matching. Basically: it may be more common for people to get picked up in one direction, compared to the opposite direction.
When there’s a lower chance of ‘matching’, a passenger will be charged more. The same is true based on the time of day. Between the hours of 7 AM and 9 AM, for instance, more people are taking UberPOOL in order to commute to work — and the likelihood of matching will thereby increase, reducing the offered rates.
POOL Standard Ride (Example):
There are TWO Kinds of Uber Pool Rides:
- ‘Matched’ trips: i.e., rides where multiple riders have been picked up along a route
- ‘Unmatched’ trips: i.e., trips where you only one passenger is picked up along a given route.
What About the Drivers?
When two separate parties are picked up, each paying their own rate, how does the driver get paid?
Drivers are often paid a lower rate overall in comparison to UberX, but POOL’s more frequent ‘stream’ of fares & passengers is arguably more profitable for drivers.
Drivers are paid out based on the total distance and time they drive. For example, using UberPool, drivers may receive $0.70/mile and $0.10/minute + pickup fee (which is typically around $1.50). If ‘surge-pricing’ applies, it will be added to each UberPool fare separately.
Uber states: ”Very large discounts [are offered] on uberPOOL trips in order to get more riders taking more trips. Whenever you hear about our large uberPOOL discounts remember that these will not affect your fares and that your fares will be calculated by time distance and base fare no matter what discount is offered to the rider”.
Basically, drivers are picking up two — sometimes three — passengers, and dropping them off at different locations, all for a discounted rate. However, Uber subsidizes POOL trips, in order to ensure POOL drivers are not making less than on regular trips (i.e., they make up the difference between POOL and X fares).
Although drivers are essentially making two or three trips, they are still paid a close or equivalent amount to an UberX fare. And, because trips are constant (due to multiple passengers), Uber claims active POOL drivers actually stand a good chance of making more money than regular UberX drivers.
Unlike UberX rates, UberPool rates are not often published publicly (thus, it’s reasonably hard to determine how rates are calculated and how drivers are paid).
How Do Rates Vary From City-to-City?
If UberPool pricing wasn’t complicated enough, it’s worth noting — rates are not the same in each city. Fares are calculated not only in terms of distance, but also according to specific city rates. Some cities which are much cheaper than others — this Uber fare calculator can help you determine approximate costs (you must extrapolate costs using an established UberX fare; then by lowering your final fare price by 20 – 50% per passenger. This will determine a rough, generalized estimate of a typical UberPOOL fare).
At this time, Uber is operating in more than 420 cities around the globe. Of those cities, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and San Francisco are all within the Top Ten most popular destinations for UberPOOL. This is simply because these cities feature densely populated areas — which make it profitable for drivers, and passengers, to use the POOL service frequently.
In densely-popular cities where POOL is extraordinarily popular, Uber often institutes a special pricing regime which is quite different from its ‘normal’ pricing structure. Some cities with special UberPOOL pricing systems include:
- New York (UberPOOL fares were capped at $5 in the city in 2015 — but, in order to qualify for a $5 rate, passengers must travel to designated ‘pick-up spots’ throughout the city. In the case of UberPOOL in Manhattan, the number of passengers who get in a vehicle does not affect final trip price — even if there’s only one passenger in the vehicle, a trip will always cost $5. Drivers are paid at surge rates when driving in Manhattan — so their margins are not adversely affected by a lack of passengers or POOL’s capped fee-structure).
- San Francisco (UberPOOL fares were initially capped at $5 in 2014, but were raised to a $7 maximum in early 2015, and have remained at that level through 2016).
- Toronto (UberPOOL in Toronto instituted a $6 flat fee in the Spring of 2016).
- Miami (UberPOOL rates across Miami are guaranteed 50% lower than UberX. Occasionally, a promotion is offered where POOL’s fares are capped, such as a recent promotion which capped Dade County’s 305 Zone at an astonishingly low rate of $3.05 per trip)
The higher the demand for Uber cars, the higher the rate — meaning, cities such as Toronto and Vegas can be more profitable for POOL drivers. It’s also important to be aware of Uber surge pricing, which is generally applied during peak hours (surge pricing applies equally to UberPOOL, not just UberX, as is sometimes assumed).
At the end of the day, if you’re an efficient driver, it’s possible that you can make more per hour with UberPool, in comparison to UberX.
UberPool trips tend to be longer, creating high payouts. It’s also worth noting that UberPOOL is becoming increasingly popular, reportedly accounting for approximately 20% of Uber trips worldwide. If you’re considering becoming an Uber driver (or are already a current Driver-Partner), it’s definitely worth considering the advantages of POOL — especially if you’re working within stricter time parameters and prefer a constant stream of steady fares.
Interested in becoming a rideshare driver? Sign-up at uber.com and receive a cash sign-up bonus.