The Metrorail shutdown had riders flocking to Uber in droves, the company says.
Uber says the number of people signing up for the app in the run-up to the morning commute was 70 percent higher than on the same day last week. And compared to last week, three times as many people took their first trip during commuting hours — meaning they were likely using the app to fill Metro’s void.
Uber expanded the range of its popular uberPool service to the entire metropolitan area for Metro’s shutdown. During Monday’s bungled Metro commute, caused by a cable fire near McPherson Square, the company said nearly 20 percent of its uberPool rides were taken by users new to the ride-splitting option.
Wednesday, the company said, 1 in 4 of its trips were on pool. Uber says the number of pool trips overall represents a D.C. record since the ride-splitting option’s October launch in the District, a likely product of the expanded coverage area.
It also says a record number of its drivers were on the road — 50 percent more than the same time last Wednesday.
Lyft, meanwhile, said the proportion of rides taken on its ride-splitting service ‘Lyft Line’ increased by 65 percent compared to last Wednesday. And the number of drivers on the road was 50 percent higher, it said.
Lyft’s most popular routes included Columbia Heights to downtown and Old Town Alexandria to Rosslyn, two corridors that are served by Metro on normal days.
One upside for ride-hailing users: While their trips may have been pricier than Metro, they probably didn’t reach the astronomical prices feared when the shutdown was announced.
Customers had worried Uber’s surge pricing would skyrocket Wednesday. To be sure, surge pricing did go into effect. But not to the levels seen Monday, when the average was around 2.6 times the normal fare at peak demand and the multiplier reached as high as 4.7.
Uber says its average surge Wednesday stayed below 1.7 times the normal fare, well below the 3.9 surge cap it put in place ahead of the shutdown.
(Washington Post owner Jeffrey P. Bezos is an investor in Uber.)