Uber Launches UberX Share, Rebranding Uber Pool


In another sign that companies are reverting to pre-pandemic practices, Uber brought back pool rides earlier this past June. They’ve tweaked the program, giving it a new name—UberX Share. 

Many drivers groaned when they heard the news that pool rides had returned. Others, admittedly a smaller percentage, welcomed the return. It fits their driving strategy. 

This blog post answers questions about the UberX Share program, how it works, and how it might benefit drivers. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Is Uber Pool back?
  • What is UberX Share?
  • Driver response to UberX Share.
  • UberX Share as part of a driving strategy. 
  • Lyft has a similar program.
  • Tracking your Uber earnings and miles. 

Is Uber Pool back?

Yes, but in a different form. Uber Pool was a program originally launched in 2014. Uber and Lyft canceled pool rides during the pandemic, fearing that having too many people in a car would spread COVID. Uber has reactivated the program, but they rebranded it with a new name, UberX Share, and made a few changes to benefit the passenger.   

Passengers who selected a pool ride agreed, in exchange for a lower fare, to share the ride with passengers headed in the same general direction. As a driver, this meant that once you picked up the first passenger, you could still receive ride requests from additional passengers traveling in the same direction. With Uber Pool, a driver could have as many as four passengers in their car traveling to a maximum of three destinations in the same general direction. 

Often a pool ride ended with the driver never having to stop for another passenger, as there were no other pool riders in that area. Other times there could be multiple passengers. There were unconfirmed urban legends of passengers that spent as many as two hours in a rideshare pool because the driver kept getting ride requests. 

What is UberX Share?

Is it the same as Uber Pool? Not quite. UberX Share launched in June of this year with a few changes to Uber Pool. Most significantly, the company addressed passenger concerns about rides taking too long. According to an Uber release, the two major changes are:

  1. Passengers receive an automatic discount for choosing UberX Share. The discount increases to as much as 20% if the driver picks up another passenger along the way. 
  2. The Uber algorithm matches passengers in UberX Shared rides with other passengers only when it is determined that the second passenger adds no more than eight minutes to the ride. 

Additional changes include that UberX Share rides are limited to a maximum of two passengers, and each passenger can reserve only one seat. Uber Pool allowed a passenger to reserve up to two seats. Under the new rules, this still allows for passengers in the back seat to have an empty seat between them, according to Uber.  

According to BGR.com, a website that reports on technology and trends, Uber tested the new UberX Share program in the Miami market early June. The program rolled out to more markets later that month in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix, San Diego, Portland, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh, with plans for future expansions. There is no word on how, when, and where those future expansions will occur. An Uber representative also told Gridwise that UberX Share is available in several international markets, including Argentina, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Australia. The company has plans to expand UberX Share to even more international cities in the future. 

Driver response to UberX

Shared rides have never been a favorite among many rideshare drivers. With Uber Pool, they  complained that they received a single fee for these pool rides, while the rideshare company charged each passenger and got paid up to three times, perhaps even more. Drivers also claimed passengers would occasionally argue about whose destination would be first, and the driver found themselves transformed into a referee. The Uber Pool algorithm determined the order that passengers were picked up and dropped off, the driver having no control over it. The same is true with UberX Share rides. 

Other drivers reported little or no problems with Uber Pool rides and are likely to find little fault with the new version.

“I drove for 15 months before the pandemic,” said one former full-time rideshare driver based in the Los Angeles area. “Unless I went looking for shared rides, they never made up more than 5% of my total ride volume. Out of 5,700 rides in 15 months, I had one shared ride that went in a bad direction. My initial passenger was a young woman. My next passengers were two men who had been drinking. They were aggressive and used bad language. I warned them twice. It was a short ride, though. I got them out before it became a problem, and I made sure the young lady was okay. I immediately reported the incident through the app. I later received a message that Uber contacted the drunken passenger that paid for the ride and banned him from the app for six months.”

Other drivers complain that passengers sometimes used Uber Pool for a trip to the airport or train station, where arriving on time can be critical. Drivers had to be vigilant and remind passengers that the addition of passengers could jeopardize their arrival time. If the new eight-minute factor works out in UberX Share rides, arriving late is less likely to be a problem. Still, drivers should warn passengers. 

Uber Pool and the new UberX Share program also have positive stories. Pocket-lint.com, a website that reports on “tech that matters,” cited stories from Uber about Uber Pool rides that turned into “singalongs, new friends, and other chance encounters.” 

Although Uber could not provide hard numbers on the use of the UberX Share program, a company spokesperson did say that Uber was happy with the level of driver and rider engagement. 

UberX Share as part of a strategy

Those drivers who like shared rides report using UberX Share rides as part of their overall driving strategy. If a driver picks up a shared ride, each passenger counts as a ride. This is a boost if a driver is working on an Uber Quest, an incentive which includes drivers getting a bonus for completing a specified number of rides in a given time period.  

Drivers report that they are more likely to get shared rides near colleges and universities and other places where younger people using rideshare are looking to save money. 

Other drivers like the shared rides because the dynamics of strangers in a car leads to interesting conversations and encounters—and happy passengers are passengers who tip. 

Lyft has a similar program

Prior to the pandemic, Lyft had a competing program to the Uber Pool ride program. Lyft called it “shared” rides. Like Uber, they shut down the shared ride program when the pandemic started. Lyft reinstated shared rides in July 2021, almost a year earlier than Uber. The rides are limited to two passengers per car, and all passengers plus the driver have to wear masks. There has been no news on whether the mask mandate has been lifted on shared rides, and there is no mention in Uber releases whether Uber passengers must wear masks. 

Tracking your Uber earnings and miles

If you’re doing UberX Share or other gig services, you need to track your miles and earnings. Thousands of gig drivers are using Gridwise’s free mileage tracker to increase their mileage deduction. On top of the free mileage tracker, Gridwise users can take advantage of:

  • Additional features like When to Drive and Where to Drive, which direct drivers to the best earning opportunities
  • Graphs that show peak arrival and departure times at airports
  • Alerts that notify you when people are likely to leave concerts, sporting events, and other large gatherings
  • A $50/month gas discount, sponsored by GasBuddy

Start earning and saving more


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