If you're signing for a Uber's carpool service instead of the standard UberX taxi, chances are you're not in the biggest hurry. Still, it's reasonable that even if you want to save some bucks, you don't want to take too long to arrive at your destination, so now Uber is guaranteeing your arrival time with a whole $2 refund.
Once you've updated to the latest version of the app and select uberPOOL, you'll see a price quote and a latest arrival time. Your cab will likely arrive before the stated time – it's supposed to be a maximum – but if for some reason it doesn't, Uber will take off two bucks from your next uberPOOL trip.
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It's a nice gesture to the rider, and carpooling is nice for the environment, but it's not without it's benefit for Uber. Providing an arrival time guarantee will make more people confident in choosing the pool option, and it means Uber can get more people moving in less cars.
Speaking personally, the subway generally provides the best cost-to-ETA ratio in NYC, but occasionally cabs are quicker. When I do order an Uber, it's almost never a carpool precisely because I have no idea when I'll arrive at my destination; this feature is precisely the type of thing that might make me change my mind when I'm feeling too lazy to take the subway.
Though it's only being rolled out in LA for now – worldwide capital of traffic jams – Uber says it will arrive in more markets soon.