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Uber isn’t done shaking up the transportation industry. The company’s latest endeavor involves a new service targeted at commercial buses.

“We have begun testing a new feature to streamline the uberPOOL experience for both riders and drivers. This experimental feature, called ‘Smart Routes’, aims to simplify pick-ups by encouraging riders to request a ride along specific routes in San Francisco,” mentioned Uber to TechCrunch.

“Smart Routes is part of our ongoing efforts to increase the efficiency of driver-partners’ time spent on the road while helping riders save time and money.”

In line with Uber’s products, individuals will be able to benefit from discounted rates and seamless riding experiences. The option is currently being tested in San Francisco along the Mission district on Valencia St. between 15th and 26th, and one up Fillmore St. from Haight St. to Bay St. in the Marina. As Josh Constine pointed out in his report, the local BART service does not cover these areas.

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Staying on the Green Line

Testing for the new feature is still at its very early stages. Depending on feedback from customers, the ridesharing brand will likely branch out to other in-demand routes within San Francisco before expanding to other major cities around the US.

People within the coverage area can participate in the pilot program through the UberPool service. A thick, green line highlights the available Smart Route in the location map. To get picked up on the fixed path, users must indicate that they want a ride from the main street.

If done correctly, an UberPool vehicle should appear with other passengers inside who are splitting the usual fare charge. For now, one should consider that the service is only an extension of UberPool. Jumping on an eligible Smart Route ride places the customer in a position to receive a $1 discount (or more).

Minor Trade-offs

The trade-offs for a cheaper ride are minimal. For Uber drivers, quicker trips equate to more money, even at slightly lower rates. Less time is also spent on detours to the customer’s destination. People interested in shaving a couple of bucks off their daily commute will need to walk to the main street. The option may not be convenient for some, but the feature isn’t designed to replace the company’s core services.

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Suggested Pickup Points

In July, Uber began testing a side feature called “Suggested Pickup Points” in San Francisco to decrease time spent initiating a ride transaction. Accessible through the app, the built-in map displays real-time recommendations for spacious pickup spots around one’s location. Committing to a suggested point does not provide any discounts or incentives, but it can make the entire experience more convenient- especially for ride requests around one-way streets, construction sites and no U-turn zones.

The feature also helps both parties avoid congested areas and traffic, which is useful around venues that hold large events. To provide relevant recommendations, the company leverages its history of past rides, and crunches the data to find where drivers commonly stop in selected locations.

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