A day after we tested eight ways to commute in Miami, Uber is introducing a new one. The increasingly popular car-by-app service is set to launch UberPOOL in Miami. UberPOOL is essentially carpooling through Uber. A user indicates where he wants to go, and the app matches him with another user in the same area who wants to go in the same direction. The cost is then split between the two users.
The service will launch November 19 in Miami, Miami Beach, and Coral Gables, which conveniently gives local drivers and local riders about two weeks to get used to the service before the traffic apocalypse the week of Art Basel Miami Beach. The service will eventually be rolled out to the rest of Miami-Dade and then Broward and Palm Beach.
Update: Here's the initial coverage area in Miami-Dade:
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Aimed at users who would usually ride solo (though two people riding together can also still use the service), the biggest advantage is that it obviously saves money. Uber claims it reduces costs 25 to 50 percent.
Uber also publicizes the ecological and traffic impacts of the service. Already available in the United States in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, New York, D.C., and Boston and in several international cities, the service helps cut down on gas usage, road congestion, and CO2 emissions, Uber claims. The company says UberPOOL has helped reduce 50,000 gallons of gas used in San Francisco and cut 400,000 miles of driving in Los Angeles this past October alone.
Uber also announced the service in 2014 as something of a "social experiment" but has since published an etiquette guide for users. Basic tips include ensuring you don't make the car wait when it arrives to pick you up and staying off your phone if possible in the car. Though, the guide also reminds you to avoid political discussions and to take a shower in the locker room if you're on a trip home from the gym.
Uber, of course, is still technically illegal in Miami, but Mayor Carlos Gimenez has claimed that an official deal to legalize Uber and its competitors is coming soon. In the meantime, the services are being allowed to operate without interference.