From slug lines to Bikeshare to uberPOOL, D.C. commuters have always been willing to share. But most people still drive to work on their own. The result? Some of the worst congestion in the country. In fact, commuters in the D.C. area spend 60 hours a year–over one working week–stuck in traffic every year. And all that congestion costs not just time but also money: D.C. commuters spend on average $1,700 annually on gridlock-related expenses.
Last year we launched Pooling Together, an initiative designed to reduce congestion and disruption during maintenance work on Metro’s SafeTrack. Today, we’re excited to announce Commute, a new pilot program to make it easier for commuters to share their journey to work. Think of it as digital slug lines. Drivers commuting along specific routes, including I-395, I-66, and the GW Parkway, will get paired with commuters from headed the same way in the mornings as well as the afternoons and early evenings. You can sign up for Commute today with trips beginning in the coming weeks.
By sharing their daily commute, drivers heading to and from D.C. can help recoup the costs of their trip, like gas and parking. Commuters in need of a trip into or out of town will be able to get a low-cost, convenient ride with a neighbors or co-worker. And both will benefit from access to those speedy HOV lanes.
Here’s how it works: if you’re a commuter looking for a ride, just open the Uber app and select “Commute” from the menu in the upper lefthand corner of our app. Enter your pickup and drop off addresses, as well as the date and time you want to commute. All rides will be scheduled in advance. If we can find a match, you’ll be connected to your fellow commuter turned driver the night before.
If you drive to work and want to recoup the cost of your trip, select “Commute” from the menu in the upper lefthand corner of our app. Enter your pickup and drop off addresses, and you’ll then be prompted to download a special commute driver app. Once your account is set up, you can start scheduling trips in advance, or simply check in an hour before you leave to see if anyone nearby needs a ride. You can get or give a ride Monday through Friday during commuting hours (5AM to 10AM and 3PM to 8PM) if you live in Tysons Corner, Alexandria, and Fairfax and work in D.C., or vice versa.
Congestion is a real challenge for Washington D.C. And of course public transit is an important part of the solution. But the subway or bus will never make it to everyone’s front door. So we need to make cars part of the solution too. And slug lines as well as services like uberPOOL help do that by getting more people into fewer vehicles. Today, a quarter of all Uber trips in the D.C. area are with uberPOOL. And we hope that our new commute pilot will mean that more neighbors and co-workers can now share their daily commute to work. Because by turning more rides into shared rides –whether on mass transit or through carpooling–we can help change the way cities move.