For UberX riders willing to ride with others, there's some ride-hailing credit up for grabs.

To encourage more shared rides on Uber's ride-hailing app, your request for a solo UberX ride could be a "Non-Stop Shared Ride." Starting Thursday in 16 cities throughout the U.S., that ride request will ask if you'd be willing to take the last seat in a shared ride called an Uber Pool. You're guaranteed to get dropped off first — and get some Uber Cash for the different type of ride and potential stress of sitting next to a stranger.

So while the new option encourages more riders to ride with strangers, it does so without sacrificing time or speed, since you'll be the last rider in the carpool and the first out. You can always click "no thanks" and carry on with your private ride with no need to explain or have anyone know you declined to carpool. Uber Pool rides allow up to two passengers per request.

Here's what will come up on the app:

Make new friends on your next ride.

Make new friends on your next ride.

Uber Pool product director Brandon Trew said in a phone call this week the new feature is a way to expose more people to shared rides. "How do we get more people more excited about sharing the same car?" he pondered.

His Pool product colleague Neil Kamireddy added they hope to appeal to a certain subset of riders who are "open to sharing, but not open to the inconvenience." A traditional Uber Pool is always cheaper than an UberX, but can take much longer with a lot of stops and detours. Some shared rides can keep adding new riders so that the first passenger in makes multiple added stops before reaching their destination.

Trew said, "We think there are people who would love to save emissions, but are focused on the speed element."

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The non-stop shared rides are only available on certain rides based on destination, time of day, and route — and you have to order an UberX. It's not guaranteed a non-stop option will be available for your particular ride request.

For drivers, it's just another passenger in a Pool trip — those Uber Cash dollars aren't taken from the driver. The passenger can use the Uber Cash on a future Uber trip or on the Uber Eats food delivery app.

Kamireddy and Trew said non-stop shared rides are expected to be an on-going ride option even if it begins converting riders to the shared-ride lifestyle – at least, if all goes well.

Uber Pool started in San Francisco five years ago and is now in more than 50 cities around the world. The non-stop option will be in 16 U.S. cities to start, but notably won't be offered in New York City. The cities with the new Pool option are:

  • Atlanta

  • Austin

  • Boston

  • Chicago

  • Denver

  • Las Vegas

  • Los Angeles

  • Miami

  • Nashville

  • New Jersey

  • Philadelphia

  • Portland

  • San Diego

  • San Francisco

  • Seattle

  • Washington, D.C.

If only you could select non-stop every time — that'd make Uber Pool the ultimate ride-sharing option. For now you can try to get lucky and score a cheaper ride with a cash bonus for the same amount of travel time.

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