Uber has started offering a carpooling service.
Almost three years too late, I might add.
After all, the first carpooling app in Singapore, RYDE, started back in April 2015, and Grab introduced their GrabHitch service in Nov 2015, and and they are pretty similar in terms of features.
Here are 8 facts about Uber’s newest carpooling service you need to know.
1. 51% Cheaper Than UberX Service
What could be more important than the cost, right?
Uber Singapore promised that their latest carpooling service, Uber Commute, will be “up to 51 percent cheaper” than UberX.
When Uber announced the new service, they also mentioned that the fares will be based on the costs incurred by the driver.
Just so you know, the rates mentioned by GrabHitch is “20% to 40% cheaper than commercial services”.
2. It’s different from UberPOOL
So you’re asking, what’s the difference between UberPOOL and Uber Commute? There are two key differences.
Number one: these drivers are not professionally trained, private-hire drivers. (Refer to #3)
And two, you don’t have to share the ride with more people. (Refer to #4)
So you might just sit in a BMW or Mercs ‘coz they’re not driving to make money, but just making their way to somewhere which is on the way (seriously, it’s 2018 and we still have to explain how carpooling works?).
3. Uber Commute is designed for people who are driving to and from work
Unlike normal Uber services, the drivers of UberCommute are not professionally trained, private-hire drivers.
Instead, the new service is designed for car owners who drive to and from work. And they don’t mind picking up a fellow individual travelling in the same direction.
This service is only available on weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. during weekdays.
It’s unknown why people can’t hitch a ride between 10:01 p.m. to 4:49 a.m., and during the weekends. Weird, isn’t it?
Also, unlike normal Uber drivers, Uber Commute drivers get to keep 100% of their earnings.
4. You won’t need to share your ride with more than 1 person on the trip
Uber Commute only allows one rider to be picked up every trip. This is because Uber wants to obey the carpooling regulation in Singapore.
Under Singapore’s carpooling regulations, the amount of money earned from carpooling by the driver cannot exceed the cost of fuel and toll charges (if any) on the journey.
“Allowing only one passenger on the trip is the approach we decided to take to ensure adherence to the law on this product.”
But hey, this is better, isn’t it? A more comfortable ride with no unnecessary time wasted for other pickups.
5. Drivers might ask you to share cost for tolls
The Uber Commute app service doesn’t automatically factor in additional toll charges.
If you have to go past the ERP to drop off or pick up your carpooling buddy, the additional costs are not added to the fare.
Instead, drivers are encouraged to ask politely if the passenger is willing to share the cost with them.
Before the ride even starts.
So don’t be too shocked if your driver suddenly turned to you and ask for ERP charge. He’s not trying to scam you.
This is a nice little touch to mention, because the issue of who pays for the ERP on a hitch ride has often been a hot debate.
6. Riders and drivers can access this service from existing Uber app
Starting since yesterday (15 March) Uber stated that riders and drivers can access the service from the existing Uber app.
And they can use their existing account to do so.
For riders, just tap on “settings” and you’ll see “Commute” as one of the new options.
But here’s the thing, with the carpooling regulations in Singapore, don’t think of trying to earn money through this service.
7. Carpooling regulations in Singapore
Here’s the simple logic behind carpooling in Singapore: it’s a not-for-profit service.
Below is a simple list of carpooling regulations most relevant in this situation, so you won’t break the Singapore law unknowingly mah as the police won’t accept I don’t know.
- Drivers are not allowed to pick up more than 2 passengers a day
- You’re not allowed to solicit and pick up passengers in public spaces, the carpark or on the roads
- The destination must be clarified before the journey starts
- The amount or value of benefit cannot exceed the cost of carrying the passenger to their destination, i.e. fuel cost and toll charges
- Even with more than one passenger in the car, the total amount payable cannot exceed the cost of carrying the passengers to their destination
8. Some carpooling ethics to keep in mind
If you’re a die-hard Uber user, this carpooling thing is likely a new thing for you.
So here are some guidelines (or ethics) to keep in mind so you won’t appear rude AF.
- Take the front seat, they’re not private-hire drivers, think of them as friends doing you a favour.
- Book way in advance because unlike other Uber on-demand services, you won’t be able to get a match that fast. To be safe, just book the night before.
- Always indicate the number of pax for the ride, because your driver needs to gauge if he has enough space in his car for your whole village.
- Don’t cancel last minute because hey, he made time to come pick you up. That’s irresponsible.
- Don’t be anti-social, just chat with him or her. Who knows, you might just make a new friend that way.
9. It’s not to earn money
Remember that all money goes to the driver? So, how does Uber make money from this service?
Short answer: they don’t. Here’s what Mr Warren Tseng, general manager for Uber in Singapore and Malaysia, said, “Not everything we do is about profit.”
Now, don’t be shocked because it’s the same for GrabHitch: there’s no commission involved, too.
But knowing how Uber and Grab has been losing money every year, it won’t be surprising that they can offer something for free.
10. Issues about Car-pooling: Some treat it like Tinder
Whether you like it or not, there are always black sheep everywhere.
So if you’re new to Carpooling and are excited, don’t yet. Getting a match might be easier on Tinder than on your carpooling app #justsaying
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This article was first published on goodyfeed.com
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