Uber users in London will be newly able to share the cars with others to cut cost and reduce congestion

Uber launches car-sharing scheme to cut congestion

Uber has introduced a new feature of its taxi app that enables people to share rides to save money and contribute to cutting congestion in the city. 

Dubbed the Uberpool, the new feature will allow up to three passengers to share a car, thus helping to reduce the number of vehicles on the streets of London.

Uberpool was first introduced in San Francisco in September 2014. One year on, the popularity of the service has grown and it today accounts for more than half of all Uber rides in the US city.

Londoners will be able to start sharing their Uber cars on Friday at 4pm, which will make London the second European city after Paris to benefit from the taxi-sharing scheme. The service will initially only be available for journeys starting in central London or from Heathrow Airport.

The Uberpool fare will be 25 per cent lower than the standard Uber fare, with each pick-up restricted to a maximum of two people. No more than three passengers will be allowed in the car.

"Uberpool makes it easy and affordable for people going in the same direction at the same time to share the trip,” said Uber's UK general manager Jo Bertram.

"That means cheaper rides for passengers, less time between trips for drivers and fewer cars on the city's streets over time."

Uber has been criticised previously by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson for contributing to London’s ever-worsening traffic jams. Since the app launched in London in late 2012, the number of private-hire driver licences in the city has increased by almost 30 per cent.

The Uberpool launch comes as Transport for London (TfL) prepares a series of measures that are believed to affect Uber.

The proposals - which TfL say could ‘improve and inform’ the regulations that govern the capital's private-hire trade - include enforcing an interval of at least five minutes between a booking and the start of a journey to allow drivers to plan an appropriate route.

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