May 3, 2023 - Economy

Uber aims to put more butts in fewer cars with shared rides

Illustration of a car full of peach emojis with a few falling outside of the window.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Uber is doubling down on shared rides in an effort to make ride-hailing less expensive and cities more livable, Axios is first to report.

Why it matters: By matching riders headed in the same direction, Uber says it can reduce congestion and emissions while making its ride-hailing service affordable to more people.

  • "Getting more butts in seats of fewer cars will help achieve our goal of zero emissions," says Uber's head of cities and transportation policy, Shin-pei Tsay.
  • Uber aims to become a zero-emissions mobility platform by 2030 in the U.S., Canada and Europe, and globally by 2040.

Driving the news: Uber plans to announce this morning an expansion of its revamped shared-rides offering, UberX Share, to five additional U.S. cities.

  • Shared rides were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, but relaunched last summer in nine major cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
  • The five new cities are Baltimore, Miami, Nashville, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., with more to come.

Context: Uber's expansion of X Share comes a week after Lyft laid off 26% of its workforce and said it would eliminate shared rides to "simplify" its offerings.

What they're saying: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told investors Tuesday that UberX Share is "designed to operate with positive unit economics for Uber, while offering a lower-cost alternative to consumers."

  • He added that the company expects UberX Share to become "our newest billion-dollar gross bookings product in the coming quarters."

How it works: UberX Share is the cheapest option for riders in cities where it's offered.

  • In the U.S., riders will receive an upfront discount if they choose UberX Share.
  • If they are matched with a co-rider along the way, they can save up to 20% off the total fare.
  • Riders don't have to be headed to the same destination — just in the same direction.
  • The technology is designed to add no more than eight minutes to your ride, the company says.

The bottom line: If you're running late, UberX Share might not be the best choice.

  • But if you're on a budget, sharing a ride could be a good way to go.
Go deeper