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Online cab aggregator Uber has expanded UberCOMMUTE, a solution for private car users to offer carpooling options to Bangalore from 7AM to 9PM. This is a follow up to its service in Delhi, which was launched last month.

UberCOMMUTE is not to be confused with UberPOOL, Uber’s ride sharing product which was launched in September last year. While UberCOMMUTE is for private car drivers who want to share car rides when they’re driving, UberPOOL lets users book a Uber ride and possibly let other people ride with them to their destinations.

In September, Uber had said that the carpooling (ride sharing really) service would not be available under UberPOOL, and that commuters would have to choose UberGo. Once the ride sharing option was selected, Uber would pair passenger and commuters headed in the same direction. Uber claims that its drivers make 10-15% more from UberPOOL, as compared to drivers on the Uber platform.

According to Uber, 1,600 new cars operate in Bangalore every day, while the traffic congestion has increased 3x, reiterating that its carpooling service has worked well in its other cities of operation like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

How it works: Private car owners/drivers need to sign up with UberCOMMUTE to start using the service, but can log off from the partner app any time they like. The aggregator will make weekly payments to drivers, and the trip fare will be calculated as Rs 35 as base + Rs 7 per km + Re 1 per minute. Drivers need a valid driving license, a national ID and personal car documents, insurance included to sign up on carpooling. Uber also states that drivers cannot bring other passengers into the ride while using UberCOMMUTE.

Other carpooling and ridesharing developments:

– Last week, rival Ola launched a private carpool category on its app in Delhi NCR, which let car users create groups and pool rides via the app. The feature was free for use and used Ola’s route matching algorithms to pool rides. Ola also launched Ola Share, the company’s ride sharing service, in Mumbai, after initially launching in beta in Bangalore in October 2015.

– At the same time, radio taxi company Meru Cabs launched ridesharing features on the platform, starting with Delhi. Users booking a Meru Cab would be provided with an option of sharing their ride with other passengers travelling in the same direction and offer a fixed 30% discount on the estimated trip fare. Last month, Meru partnered exclusively with Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), to promote carpooling. IOCL and Meru would inform people about the latter’s Carpool through an option in the Meru Cabs’ app, which would allow regular office goers or car users and share their ride with people going in the same direction.

Image credit to the author.