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Uber Has Big Plans To Exploit The Impending DC Metro Headache

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Uber is making a major investment in the Washington, D.C., area by expanding their UberPOOL service in an effort to expand their business, as the region copes with 10-months of Metro delays and closures.

Uber said they plan to spend $10 million dollars in D.C. and will incentivize drivers with bonuses for riders driving in areas affected by ‘SafeTrack,’ D.C. Metro’s massive maintenance overhaul of the system. UberPOOL is a carpool service which allows riders to share a car and split the bill. Representatives for the company said they may give rider incentives in the form of price discounts during single-tracking and station closures, reports The Washington Post.

Uber cleaned up during Metro’s now infamous 29-hour full system shutdown in March, breaking driver and rider records. The company says they have no plans to cap price surges however, which can spike over 4 percent during rush hour periods. Uber capped the surge price at 3.9 percent during the March closure to ease the price burden on commuters. (RELATED: DC Metro GM Goes Scorched Earth, Fires 20 Managers And Says More Layoffs Coming)

“We find that surge pricing is a really helpful tool in ensuring reliability,” Meghan Joyce, Uber’s east coast general manager told The Washington Post. “It means that those times when many of us would rather be at home in bed like a rainy Saturday night at 2 a.m., the drivers have incentive to get out on a road when they need it and the riders can get a ride when they need it as well.”

The company expanded UberPOOL, their price sharing program, to Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Metro area neighborhoods in Virginia this week ahead of ‘SafeTrack.’ Metro will start the repair plan June 4, which General Manager Paul Wiedefeld says will condense three years of work into just 10-months. (RELATED: Two Week-Long Track Shutdowns Imminent As DC Metro Reveals Final Repair Plan)

Some politicians are unconvinced companies like Uber and Lyft will be enough to offset the crippling impact ‘SafeTrack’ will have on daily commutes.

“I have thought, if it’s this way now, what is it going to be like when they do shut down the lines,” Congressman Gerry Connolly told Politico. “And, candidly, I don’t know that the existing infrastructure – Uber and private taxicab companies and so forth – frankly have the capacity that’s going to be required.”

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