Your experiences with the new Uber Pool Express

iOS and iPadOS

I don't use Uber often because we have both buses and paratransit I can use more cheaply instead. But when I do need Uber, I do need it.
This morning when they closed our workplace early due to bad air (I live in Silicon valley and the smoke from the northern California fires is just sitting here) I had to Uber home. My ride choices were Uber Pool express and Economy , which didn't seem very economical at all at almost $40 to travel 15 miles. So I picked Uber pool Express, not realizing it was different than Uber pool.

About five minutes later I got a notification that my ride was ready with walking directions to a nearby intersection.

Now normally, I would have been happy to try this out. I am a guide dog user and we both love exploring. But I recently tore my ACL and meniscus so walking more than a few feet was out of the question. Until I heal up, I would need to use the much mor expensive so-called "economy" ride.

I did some research online and "Uber Pool Express" has Uber going to popular intersections to wait for riders who walk there. Uber Pool is what it has always been, a shared ride.

Now if I'd followed those walking directions, would I have been able to find my ride? Are they good enough I would have been able to get to the correct corner of the intersection it was directing me to?

Or is Uber Pool Express a bad idea for a blind traveler? How well do the walking directions work with voiceOver and can I trust them, should I want to give Uber Pool Express a try?

All experiences are welcome!



Submitted by techluver on Friday, November 16, 2018

I love it. I used to spend a good $750 per month on uber. Express has cut it down to about $450. I'm so happy.

Submitted by Siobhan on Friday, November 16, 2018

Hi. Although I haven't used Uber Pool Express, let me help a little if I can. First, 40 bucks for 15 miles isn't exactly that crazy. I say that because going ten is around 13 to 15 bucks. If you start using it a bit more, two things will happen. If you can wait a bit, prices usually go down. Granted, the fire not withstanding. Also Lyft is another option you might want to try. Plus if you had been able to walk there, I'm sure had you said your work was closing early you'd have gotten a pretty sympathetic driver. He or she may not have even charged you. Note, that's only a guess, not saying anything about drivers. Also I now have a Lyft and Uber driver in my phone I can contact so should a situation such as yours comes up, you might be able to get them who should be closer. Last and not least, i hope your knee heals up soon. Ouch, I'm sorry you went through that. Also i hope the smoke clears soon.

Submitted by Patrick Smyth on Friday, November 16, 2018

I just traveled to Berkeley for a trip and tried Express while I was there. My experience was that getting to the correct intersection was a little stressful but I did make it on the two occasions I used it. On the first I couldn't find the place (it was an airport) the first time and cancelled for a few dollars. Then afterward I saw where it was I was supposed to go and called it again, and it was fine. The second time I went to the wrong side of a building and had to move quickly once the person called me. I'm low vision and not totally blind. I'm not sure I would recommend it, but I think it could work out if you know where the location is near you from experience. i.e. you can walk to that location before calling the Express and avoid the stress, if if you're not worried about time, or if you're with a sighted person. Otherwise I would call a normal pool or an Uber X. Note that you also have to walk a bit at the destination, but that part doesn't stress me out at all, since there's no time limit at that point.

Submitted by Deborah Armstrong on Friday, November 16, 2018

Well, how can you find out what intersection they will want you at ahead of time? One place online I read that there were designated pickup points throughout the city; would there be a way to know what those were? And assuming you are somewhat familiar with the intersection, and you can follow the walking directions, what happens when you get there? How do you know if it's the southeast corner or the northwest corner? How specific are the directions? Is following them with VoiceOver like using other accessible routing apps, say Nearby Explorer?
In my case, the intersection they wanted me to go to was only fifty feet away as the crow flies but I had to navigate a confusing parking lot, find a crossing on a perimeter road that has no sidewalk and then make another crossing which is not lined up with the first crossing to get there -- a walk that's nearly 800 yards even when I'm walking it with a sighted friend. I wonder if Uber's map realizes that it's not a straight shot.

I like the idea, but I dislike what felt like misleading marketing to me, nor will it be possible for me to use pool express until I can walk a bit better. But I want to be prepared when I can!

Submitted by Patrick Smyth on Friday, November 16, 2018

Honestly I think if you have that many questions about getting there you should avoid it. Basically the way I would use it regularly would be to be near work or home or some place I would want to travel from frequently and just call a car and try to get there. If you fail that's ok, take your time and find the location. They tend to be the same locations but they don't let you know those locations without calling a car. You just have to accept that you might have to cancel. Once you know where they leave from you can walk there first before calling the Express every time after that. Not recommended if you're in a hurry but I could see it being useful in some specific circumstances. And again, I'm low vision 20/800 orso but not totally blind, your milage may vary. Also if you don't want to, or can't walk at the moment, I would not recommend it.

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Saturday, November 17, 2018

Where I live I don't have Uber just yet.
We've got Lift, but I've not had much of a need for lift just yet.
Hope you start recovering soon.

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