Uber is planning its Northern Virginia launch of a new carpooling option called “Commute,” which pairs commuters hoping to make use of HOV lanes along specific corridors. But the paid feature will be competing with long-running free options, such as traditional sluglines.
An uberPool trip costing $15 to upward of $25 would cost $5 to $10 with Commute, the company says.
So why does Uber think commuters will pay for a service they now get free? Well, despite the established slugging culture on I-395, the company sees a potential market for paid carpooling on I-66, where there are HOV-2 restrictions during rush hours (compared with HOV-3 on I-395) and fewer places for would-be slugs to catch a ride.
In addition, Uber said the feature might appeal to a new group of customers who are used to ride-hailing apps but can’t afford to use them for daily long-distance commutes — or who don’t want to wait in slug lines.