Uber launched a new service in Chicago Thursday that seeks to get more people in the same car at the same time -- and could possibly eat into CTA's ridership as well as customers from direct competitors Lyft and Via. Express Pool requires customers to walk up to two blocks to meet up with their ride, which will be shared with other random customers who are headed in the same direction. And the app will spend up to five minutes processing a request in order to most efficiently pair riders who are going the same way. Riders won't be dropped off at their exact destinations, but within a two-block walk.
The walking and the extra computing will reduce the often circuitous and frustrating routes experienced by UberPool customers who are each picked up at specific locations after being matched with other riders just moments after requesting a ride. The new service will operate throughout Chicago but not at its two airports. The rides have been up to 40 to 60 percent cheaper than UberPool rides in the eight U.S. cities that currently offer Uber Express.