Uber resuming shared ride service in some cities

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(NEXSTAR) — Have you missed cheaper rides with strangers?

On Tuesday, Uber announced the rollout of UberX shared ride service in several U.S. cities — which lets riders “share” rides with other riders for a discounted rate — after suspending the option at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Uber says the UberX sharing option, which typically results in a 20% total fare discount, will be available in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix, San Diego, Portland, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh.

“At Uber, we know affordability is important to making transportation more accessible for more people — especially in the current economic climate,” Uber wrote in a statement. “Together we can chip away at our ultimate shared competitor: personal car ownership.”

The possibility of discounted rides comes as pandemic-era concerns have relaxed and more people have begun using rideshares again. But companies like Uber and Lyft now must balance increased demand with a shortage of drivers, as Wall Street Journal reports. Using data from market research firm YipitData, numbers showed rideshare fares in April for both Uber and Lyft had hit an all-time high.

In addition to a worker shortage, Uber has faced skyrocketing gas prices in recent months. Back in March, the company announced a $0.45-$0.55 fuel surcharge would be added to rides. Meanwhile, Uber Eats customers saw $0.35-$0.45 fuel surcharges on their receipts.

Overall, YipitData reports average U.S. rideshare fares are 35% higher than before the pandemic.

Uber says it will roll out its UberX sharing option, which was previously known as Uber Pool, to other cities throughout the summer. The company says new features of UberX include a two-person share limit and a guarantee that passengers will only arrive up to 8 minutes later than a non-shared ride.

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