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Uber launches new ride sharing service that acts like a bus

Uber has launched UberHop, a ride-sharing service that acts like a bus, with passengers gathering at a designated pick up point and hopping off along the route Uber launches new ride sharing service that acts like a bus

Uber, the minicab app that's revolutionized the taxi industry as well as picked up flack from cabbies along the way, has added another service to its repertoire: a ride sharing service that acts like a bus.

Not an actual bus. UberHop, a new scheme being piloted in Seattle, lets cars pick up more than one passenger from a designated pick up point and drop them off at various points along the route.  Aimed at commuters there’s a pre-designated  destination and where necessary passengers are advised to “walk the last few blocks to work”.

All users have to do is open the App, select UberHop then wait to be paired up with a driver and other passengers heading in the same direction. 

Tardiness won’t be tolerated – in a blog post Uber reminds passengers that the driver will leave at the pre-agreed time. But the service is available along popular routes during commuter time and is being hailed as a way of cutting down travelling time, traffic and cost.

The scheme is an app-based version of something that’s already happening. Casual car shares - where drivers hold a sign to their destination so that other passengers can jump in – are a regular occurrence on Uber.   

“By using technology we can make this process more convenient, more reliable and safer. It’s a model that the French ride-sharing company BlaBlaCar has proven can work over long distances in Europe”, Uber says on its blog.

The company rolled out UberPool, a similar service, in London last week, although UberPool can make rides longer because the driver has to pick up each passenger from different locations.

With Uber the grand plan is to cut down the need for a car at all (apart from Uber drivers, obviously, who’ll need a set of wheels):

“By making it easy and affordable for people to share rides, we can get more butts into fewer cars”, Uber says. “Over time, we can create credible alternatives to car ownership. After all, if you can press a button and get an affordable ride across town within minutes at any time of day or night, why bother to own a car at all?”

Indeed. 

Better than waiting for a real bus to come along?

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