Feb 24, 2015

$5 flat rate? Sure. Who knew it was gonna last for 30 days!

On paper, both Lyft and Uber sound precisely identical. They are nose-to-nose competitors, and media surrounding this fact is pretty heated. After being fully immersed in Lyft and the laidback, neighborly culture it tries to create, Uber's prestige and corporate feeling became pretty clear. 

My overall experience with POOL was good; my bank account also fared well during the $5 POOL Party. With the economic incentives, it was fascinating to see uberpool's system functioning at its maximum capacity. It created so many demands, every uberpool ride was a carpool. For the first time, I saw a proof-of-concept experiment really come to life, it was fascinating.

The entire Uber app feels like an MVP; Minimal Viable Product

It gets its job done by getting its passengers from point A to point B efficiently and economically. It has an in-app GPS for drivers (even though it sucks), as well as the the lowest fare among its competitors. (The In-app Uber GPS is clearly designed on a computer, and not for the environment it would be used in – a car; text are too long and font sizes are too small for drivers to interpret, while the text-to-speech audio literally reads everything out-loud.) Outside of the scope of efficient and economically travel, Uber doesn't do much. Compared to its competitiors, Uber lacks culture, brand stories, micro-moments, and all-in-all a real human experience.

Every time I get on a POOL, I asked myself, why am I on an UberPool again? Oh, it's still $5 and I am moderately late. Some of my trips were just ridiculous (see image 2,3). If I knew my carpool routes ahead of time, I would have canceled these trips and hailed an UberX instead. My feedbacks to Uber were responded quickly, and the pairing algorithm seemed to be a bit better the further I got into the month. 

Throughout my POOL journey, I tried to document my trips by taking screenshots, photos, and selfies. However, because I often was told to sit in the backseat, I didn't get to communicate really well with my driver and passengers. Since there’s an unspoken rule of passenger seating – first passenger sits in the back seat, while the second passenger sits at the front seat. 

Here are my notes comparing the 3 Carpooling Services in San Francisco: UberPool, LyftLine, and Hitch

UberPOOL Party

UberPOOL Party

Image 2

Image 2

Image 3

Image 3

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