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Ubers New ‘Shuttle’ Option Will Make Airport Trips More Efficient—and Cheaper

Leaving a music festival outside of Austin in 2014, I remember pulling up my Uber app to book a ride back to the city—but thousands of other festival-goers around me were doing the same thing. After many failed attempts later, with no alternatives to make the nearly 20-mile journey back so late at night, I took a risk and piled into a car with a group of strangers. Thankfully, I was dropped off at my hotel safely.

Despite the conveniences that rideshare services have brought into our lives since Uber was first introduced in 2010, the high volume of demand on crucial routes—like large concerts and sporting events, and getting to and from the airport—can often lead to stressful situations like this one.

To solve that pain point, the company announced Wednesday that it will be rolling out a new service called Uber Shuttle this summer, allowing riders to reserve a seat with others heading to the same destination on large-capacity vehicles, ranging from 14 to 55 seats.

“Uber Shuttle is our answer to providing an easy, affordable, and convenient way to get around,” Uber Shuttle general manager Anthony le Roux tells Condé Nast Traveler, explaining that the service will vary depending on the city and venue.

For travelers heading to and from the airport, if an Uber Shuttle is available, the option will pop up in the Uber app with details on the pick-up time and place. Riders can book up to five seats starting seven days before the trip, and up to five minutes before the scheduled departure, as long as there are still seats available. The Uber Shuttle rides will come “at a fraction of the price of an UberX,” says an Uber spokesperson, with cost varying by location.

Like a normal ride, users can track the status of the Shuttle and pay for the ride directly through the Uber app. The major difference is that these larger vehicles will be operated by licensed livery drivers in each city.

The capacity for each ride—which can range from vans to buses—will vary based on demand. “Frankly, we’ll see as we launch Uber Shuttle and see how they operate,” le Roux says. “I can imagine when we get really busy to airports, we will start to offer big buses on those routes.”

The service will start rolling out this summer at select venues that Uber has partnered with, with more specifics being announced in coming weeks. Le Roux says the goal is to eventually implement the Uber Shuttle in all major cities, taking into account the particulars of each destination. “It really has to complement the existing public transportation infrastructure,” he says. “You have to think a little differently for each city.”

In addition to airport transportation, Uber Shuttle will also be offered at major events, including certain concerts at Live Nation venues in Charlotte, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. In those cities, fans will be able to board a shuttle in accessible downtown pick-up spots and be transported straight to the venue. The service will also be available at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins and Formula One Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix.

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