US: Uber and Lyft could soon focus on car-pooling services image

Transportation startups Uber and Lyft have always argued that using their services decreases traffic congestion in crowded cities, but the reality is a bit different.

Even though the rival companies heralded their ride-sharing goals, arguing that using their services reduces the number of cars on the roads because they’re much cheaper to be used than driving a personal car, the claim is a little shaky, to say the least. That’s because they both attracted numerous professional drivers that usually carry just one passenger (ring any bells – we’ll give you a hint, it starts with “t” and ends with “axi”). Uber even assits drivers that want to work for them to secure faster auto-loans, thus increasing the actual number of cars on the roads. For example, the Associated Press even stopped using the “ride-sharing” term to describe such companies, instead referring to them as “ride-hailing” or “ride-booking.”

There’s a change of focus lately on their behalf – with both startups now having programs that test services that could be finally considered as worthy of the promises. UberPool and Lyft Line, so far available in few cities across the US, offer the same car to more than one rider if they go in the same direction and charges them less than usual. “I do think this is the future of ride-sharing—the actual sharing of rides,” comments Harry Campbell, an Uber and Lyft driver and author of The Rideshare Guy, an industry blog. The carpooling – which is not a new idea in the US – could become crucial in the industry war between these service providers and the traditional, $11 billion-worth, taxi and limo industry.

Via Bloomberg