Uber's Testing A New Mass Transit Alternative

Uber is gearing up to pilot a new ride-sharing service in Seattle called uberHOP, in an attempt to get "more butts into the backseats of fewer cars," according to an Uber blog post from today. Uber already has uberPOOL in place, which makes up almost half of Uber's rips in San Francisco, but the company calls that a "first step."

With uberHOP (pictured above), the app will match you with a driver as well as other people going the same way as you. You'll receive directions on where to jump into the car, and then get dropped off at a pre-determined spot. uberHOP will be available in Seattle starting this Thursday, December 10 along certain routes during commuting hours for a $5 flat fee, GeekWire reports.

In Chicago, Uber is going to start piloting a new program for Uber drivers called uberCOMMUTE, which will be available Monday through Friday from 6 AM to 10 PM. This seems to be geared toward people who don't already drive for Uber, but are looking to make a few extra bucks while driving to and from work. Passengers who want to roll with uberCOMMUTE need to select uberPOOL and then choose the "commuters" option. I'd imagine the commuters option would be cheaper than the standard pool option, but I'm waiting to hear back from Uber for more details.

"These two pilots are an app-based version of something that's already happening every day," Uber wrote on its blog. "Casual carpools (or slug lines) have taken off in places like Washington, DC and the East Bay in Northern California. With casual carpools, commuters line up at prearranged points. Drivers pull up with a sign in their window showing their destination and passengers going to the same place jump in. By using technology we can make this process more convenient, more reliable and safer."

This article by Megan Rose Dickey originally ran on TechCrunch, a leading technology media property, dedicated to obsessively profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products, and breaking tech news.

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