When ordering an Uber in Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York, you may have been hit with an offer to save money using UberPool.
Rather than riding solo, the option allows you to share the backseat with a stranger headed in the same direction who's willing to share the cost.
Uberpool was introduced a year ago, and according to CEO Travis Kalanick, Uber is actually sacrificing profit with the offering, because those riders are spending less money. This from a company that was recently valued at $50 billion.
"It's profitable in San Francisco, but not as profitable as a normal ride," Kalanick said Wednesday at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference, in an onstage chat with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. The idea is to promote "the carpooling thing," he said.
In some cities, more than 100,000 people a week are using Uberpool, he said. "That's two cars becoming one."
Kalanick is trying to beat back the critics, who have jumped all over Uber for everything from surge pricing and overaggressive marketing tactics to lack of concern for rider safety and skirting labor laws.