Every city presents a unique challenge for a ride-hailing scheme like UberPool. One algorithm can't provide the same experience in Chicago as it might in, say, Manhattan. That's why Uber is changing things up.
Specifically, Uber is once again changing how UberPool works in Manhattan. Last year, it asked riders to walk to the closest corner for a pickup, to help speed things along. Now, in order to speed things up even further, it's changing the way it deals with both pick-ups and dropoffs.
Instead of walking to the closest corner, you might now be asked to walk a block or two, if it means keeping the UberPool car on the cleanest path for everyone. Its app will even tell you which side of the street to stand on, so the car can stay pointed in the same direction. It will also take bus lanes into account on certain avenues, so that drivers aren't asked to pick riders up in areas they shouldn't.
For drop-offs, the story is similar. The app will recalculate the ideal drop-off spot every few seconds as an UberPool car approaches its destination. If it's more sensible for the carpool to leave you one block away from your destination while it travels in the same direction, that's what it's going to do.
The routing itself has also been worked over. Uber claims its new routing algorithm reduces the number of required turns per mile by 20 percent. It's also attempting to minimize detour routes, and it's making an effort to keep drivers on avenues for more direct (and, therefore, faster) routes.
Of course, if you're outside Manhattan, this isn't going to mean much. But for the scores of users who grab a carpool in the heart of New York, it could make for some big improvements in service.