Ride-hailing app Uber launched its carpooling service in Manila, its second city in Southeast Asia, as it ramps up service across the region to compete with local rivals.

UberPool allows users to share rides and split the fare with other commuters. One of the stated aims of the service is to help reduce the number of vehicles on the roads, cutting both congestion and pollution. More importantly for Uber, it expands the addressable audience.

Uber Philippines general manager Laurence Cua said fares will be up to 25 per cent cheaper than with its UberX service, whether or not another passenger joins the trip, BusinessWorld reported. Up to three people can share a ride. Unlike UberX, a fixed fare is shown upon booking the trip. Payment can only be made by credit card.

To allay security concerns, Cua told BusinessWorld that every passenger has to be registered with a mobile number and credit card so everything is tracked. “Drivers cannot just pick up passengers on the street.”

According to a Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board representative, Uber doesn’t need a new licence since the carpooling service will use its UberX cars, so it’s not a new franchise.

Last month Uber introduced its carpooling app in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, its first launch of the service in Southeast Asia.

In China Uber has started to shift its focus towards its new carpool service as it faces intense competition from rival Didi Chuxing. Fifteen of the 38 cities around the world where UberPool was launched are in China, where it is doing 30 million pool trips a month.

Uber has been aggressing expanding in Asia and is locked in a battle with Didi to raise funds. At the beginning of the month Uber received $3.5 billion from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the biggest investment it has received to date. Meanwhile, Didi, China’s most popular ride-hailing app, said it has raised a total of $7.3 billion in equity and debt that value the firm at an estimated $25 billion.