Uber the mobility service provider is testing Pool Chance, a feature that allows riders heading in the same direction share the cost of the journey, in Kenya, with plans to roll out the low-cost service to Ghana and Nigeria.
According to TechCrunch, Uber spokesperson has confirmed that is part of a pilot (beta version) of the service that it plans to roll out more widely, pending the outcome of the smaller test.
The low-cost popular service was suspended in many regions including the U.S. and Canada due to COVID-19 restrictions, but it the technology firm is slowly bringing it back in some markets and introducing it where it was unavailable before.Uber said the two products share a similar concept but are not identical, without offering further details.
“We are currently trialling a new Uber ride, Pool Chance, which will cut costs for riders in Nairobi (Kenya) when they share their ride with others heading in the same direction,” Uber’s head of communications for East and West Africa, Lorraine Ondoru, told TechCrunch.
“We use this approach when introducing something new and we want to ensure the marketplace remains healthy and balanced. We will share more details once this has been officially launched,” she added.
In April, Uber launched Pool Chance in Auckland, New Zealand after introducing it in Kyiv, Ukraine in October last year. They also switched back on the low-cost ride-share service in Australia’s Sydney and Perth cities earlier in the year, and thereafter launched Pool Chance in Adelaide.
Uber says on the app that Pool Chance will bring the cost of rides down by up to 30%, further making its trips more affordable to riders.
“Affordable shared rides can mean more riders using the app, which can lead to more trips, less downtime and more overall earnings for you,” Uber said about the new service, in a message to its drivers, in the three African countries.
Uber is available in eight markets across Africa including Egypt, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and Months, the company has over the last few months expanded and introduced new products in its new strategy to retain its customers and attract new ones amidst growing competition from rivals like Bolt, the Estonian-based ride-hailing firm.
Uber’s plan to introduce the fare-splitting service in markets across Africa comes after it said in a recent report that “ride-sharing will likely play an increasingly important role within the public transportation mix in the next 3-5 years.”
The company added that while bus and rail transportation will remain core to public transportation due to their ability to transport large numbers of people, they will be complemented by microtransit, ride-sharing and micromobility means.
“The addition of new modes with a variable cost structure like ride-sharing and the proliferation of on-demand services will unlock new optimums of efficiency and lower cost structures for public transportation agencies,” said Uber. This, it said, will go toward ensuring and improving “the equity, accessibility, resilience and flexibility of their networks.”