Uber Boston says its carpool service has “saved” nearly 1M miles in six months

Uber headquarters in San Francisco.
Uber headquarters in San Francisco.

It’s been six months since Uber launched its carpool-on-steroids service in the Boston area, and the company is disclosing a little bit of data about how much it’s been used.

Uber said Tuesday that its uberPOOL service had saved “nearly 1 million miles” of car travel for Boston-area passengers who opted to share their ride with someone else instead of going solo. That amounts to 19,300 gallons of unburned fuel if you figure those saved trips were being taken in a hybrid car that gets about 50 miles per gallon, Uber said.

The company didn’t disclose any detailed statistics about uberPOOL use in the region. Uber determined the “miles saved” figure by calculating the distance that would have been traveled if additional passengers in a carpooled ride would have taken a solo ride instead.

The company also said people in Roxbury and Dorchester are big users of uberPOOL, using it nearly twice as much as people in other parts of the city.

Uber’s carpooling option offers passengers cheaper fares to compensate for sharing  rides that may take a little longer. If a passenger hails an uberPOOL driver, that car will get a ping on its smartphone when another person is looking for a shared ride somewhere along the current route.

It’s proven quite popular in other cities; Uber says that about half of the trips it arranges in its hometown of San Francisco are uberPOOL rides. Boston was the fifth US city to be served by the carpooling option when it launched in August; the service expanded its Boston-area footprint in January.

Uber and its top competitor, Lyft, are the subject of proposed state legislation that would regulate the services. They’re currently operating in something of a gray area under state law, which is set up to oversee old-school cabs and livery services, but hasn’t yet contemplated smartphone-app ride-hailing services.

Uber policy adviser David Plouffe was in town last week, meeting with a key Beacon Hill lawmaker and extolling the company’s economic benefits at a town hall event in Roxbury. Plouffe, a former Obama administration official, knows the state well: he also worked on both of former Governor Deval Patrick’s election campaigns.