A woman hand holding Uber app showing on Samsung note 3 in the car

Uber have now announced a carpooling option for commuters in Singapore. Source: Shutterstock

Uber starts ignition for carpooling service in Singapore

THIS WEEK, Uber Singapore has launched Uber Commute, a new carpooling service that allows drivers to pick up commuters heading in the same direction.

This is the first time the San Francisco-based ride-hailing firm is offering such a service in Asia and will go live on the Uber app today.

Drivers using the commute service will be allowed to keep all of their earnings, unlike Uber’s private-hire drivers who currently give the company around 20 percent of the fare.

According to the company, Uber Commute is expected to be up to 51 percent cheaper than it’s private uberX service.

“Uber Commute is designed for people who are already driving themselves to and from work, and are open to sharing their daily commute with fellow individuals traveling in the same direction,” said the company, in a news release.

The new carpooling feature allows commuters to schedule their rides up to one week in advance, or request a ride within an hour. Unlike other services though, Uber Commute is only available from 5 am to 10 pm on weekdays, in order to stay compliant with current laws.

As well as this, Uber Commute drivers are only allowed to offer their services to one rider per trip.

“Based on the regulations, drivers on Uber Commute can only recoup their costs through carpooling,” said Warren Tseng, General Manager, Uber Singapore & Malaysia.

“Allowing only one passenger on the trip is the approach we decided to take to ensure adherence to the law on this product,” he added.

In regards to tolls incurred during the ride, drivers and riders would need to agree on splitting the cost.

“In cases where drivers have to enter an ERP zone to pick up or drop their rider thereby incurring additional fees, drivers may gently ask the rider to share the cost,” according to Uber. “We encourage drivers and riders to discuss this before the start of the trip to avoid disputes.”

Uber isn’t the first ride-hailing company in Asia to offer carpooling options to its users. The company’s rival, Grab, has been offering its own carpooling service since 2015. Both Uber Commute and GrabHitch seem to be pretty similar in their features.

This new feature from Uber will help in Singapore’s vision of becoming a car-lite society. And from today, riders can enjoy an automatic 30 percent discount on their Uber Commute rides.