Uber tests out carpool rides with specific pickup and drop-off locations.
Uber is launching a new service during Thursday’s commute, and it looks closer to transit than taxi.
The service, called UberHop, costs $5. Riders meet an Uber driver at a pickup spot, join the carpool and are driven downtown.
The company is launching three trial routes: From Ballard to South Lake Union, from Capitol Hill to downtown, and from Wallingford to downtown.
The routes will run from 7 to 10 a.m. and be reversed for the evening commute, between 5 and 8 p.m.
The app Thursday morning showed cars on each route leaving every 15 minutes from designated pickup sites.
Geekwire writer Taylor Soper tested the service Wednesday and wrote that it felt like riding on a “private bus” with more precise arrivals and departures. Plus, “you get to sit in a nice SUV and pay directly in the app.”
Comparative bus fares during UberHop’s operating hours would be $2.50 or $2.75 for adults. Some of Uber’s routes are similar to Metro routes. For example, the 40 route from Ballard to South Lake Union has a stop about seven blocks from UberHop’s Ballard pickup.
In South Lake Union, the bus stops about two blocks from where Uber would drop you off.
UberHop is launching ahead of a pivotal Seattle City Council vote for the company. The council is considering a proposal by councilman Mike O’Brien that would give Uber drivers collective-bargaining protections though they are independent contractors. Uber opposes the measure.