Do you remember the day I opened the Uber application and only saw cars? Well, that is about to change. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is in Washington, DC today to make a broad announcement about Uber's plans to integrate a variety of new transportation options to his application, including bicycles, shared vehicles and public transportation such as buses and trains. . Uber will also share more of its data on traffic patterns and the use of sidewalks alongside cities in an effort to become "true long-term city partners," Khosrowshahi said.
It is a bold expansion into new modes of transportation for a company that is still trying to shake off its reputation for breaking rules and just a few weeks ago suffered one of its worst setbacks to date after a Uber Uber car killed a pedestrian in Arizona. But since taking the helm last year, Khosrowshahi has rushed to redo the company in his own image. The acquisition of the Jump free bike company earlier this week was his first big business. And today's announcement is the next step in his plan to transform Uber from a mere shared-travel company into a global transportation market.
"As we think about where we want our cities to be in the future, we know we can do more," Khosrowshahi writes in a blog post, "and we will do it."
Shortly after the acquisition of Jump, Uber announced today that residents of Washington could reserve and pay Jump bicycles with the Uber app. The electric startup, without anchor for shared bicycles, has been operating in DC since September 2017, and now those bikes will be available for rent in the Uber app.
Uber is also immersing itself in the world of car sharing. At the end of this month, Uber will launch a new product in San Francisco called "Uber Rent", in which users can rent cars in the Uber application through a partnership with Getaround. Uber and Getaround, a car-sharing startup, have been working together in San Francisco for almost a year to provide daily car rental for people who want to drive for Uber but do not own their own vehicle. Now, that service will be available to anyone who needs a car for a few hours or perhaps a whole day, also through the Uber application.
Using Uber to reserve someone else's car for running errands or taking a day trip to Lake Tahoe may seem like an act of cannibalization of Uber's business, but the company insists that it fulfills the broader mission of reducing personal property. automobiles "Not all travel is well served by Uber," said Jahan Khanna, product manager of Uber's mobility division. "Without this offer, our platform can not really compete holistically with the value proposition of having its own car, and we are cutting that piece piece by piece, and this is an important aspect of that."
Uber Rent will only be available in San Francisco to start, but if all goes well, it could reach other cities served by Getaround like Boston, New Jersey, Portland and Washington, DC, said Sam Zaid, the company's CEO. That said, Zaid does not see this collaboration with Uber as an audition for an eventual acquisition, à la Jump. "I can not rule out what the results could be," he said. "Getaround has been around much longer than Jump, we are a much more mature company."
Zaid said he fully agrees with Uber's mission to reduce personal car ownership. "What we hear loud and clear from our users when they start using Getaround actively and move away from car ownership, they still have to use things like public transportation, biking, walking, as well as sharing the trip to get the experience complete, "he said. "I think that's also true on the Uber side … how do you give people a complete set of mobility solutions, recognizing that any particular mode is insufficient to replace the possession of a car?"
Another piece of the puzzle is public transportation. Recent studies show that transport services such as Uber and Lyft tend to take passengers out of public services such as buses and the metro. But Uber says he is committed to providing more links to public transportation. The company has just signed an agreement with the London-based mobile ticket company Masabi to allow Uber users to purchase and use transit tickets in the application. The two companies are still working on which markets and for which transit systems the integration of Masabi into Uber will work.
It is likely to work in a similar way to the Masabi partnership with Transit, a popular public transport application in the US. UU., In which users can browse rates, make payments and receive mobile tickets, all within the same application used to unleash Uber cars. Masabi's mobile ticketing technology is currently being used by more than 30 authorities and transport operators around the world, including the New York MTA, the Boston MBTA, the National Express Bus in the United Kingdom, the RTC in Las Vegas , the Metrolink of Los Angeles and The Hague.
The partnership with Masabi seems to be in line with Khosrowshahi's ambitions to expand more aggressively towards public transportation. Earlier this year, Khosrowshahi said that Uber could eventually become a market for other transportation providers, just as Amazon is a market for third-party merchants today, and highlighted the variety of existing Uber businesses, ranging from the delivery from food to road transport.
"I want to run the bus systems for a city," Khosrowshahi said at an event sponsored by Goldman Sachs. "I want you to take an Uber and enter the subway … go out and have an Uber waiting for you."
On the data-sharing side of the equation, today, Uber announced his plans to expand his Movement project to more than a dozen new cities. Launched for the first time by Uber last year, Movement is an online tool specifically for cities to map travel times, driven by the company's vast amount of travel data. The site allows users to measure travel times between various parts of a city, keeping track of how those trips become faster or slower over time. The cities that will now have access to the Uber Movement tool include Amsterdam, Bangalore, Brisbane, Cairo, Hyderabad, Melbourne, Mumbai, Nairobi, New Delhi, Perth, Pittsburgh and Toronto.
More locally, Uber is partnering with the city of Washington DC and SharedStreets, a non-profit collaboration between the National Association of Transportation Officials of the City and Open Transport Partnership, to collect and analyze data on the use of sidewalks in Washington , DC. Uber will share his data on popular brakes to pick up and drop off passengers in the city in the hope of convincing officials to designate more space for transportation services such as Uber.
"Understanding how curbs can be used can help cities around the world to prepare for a future in which more and more people access transport through a combination of shared modes, instead of relying on our own vehicles," said Khosrowshahi. in a blog post.
On the surface, Uber's announcement in Washington may seem like only a handful of pilots and some spot-on experiments. But Andrew Sulzberg, director of research and transport policy at Uber, said the goals are much more ambitious.
"When thinking about the central challenge in urban transportation, not only in the US but also in cities around the world, a lot of this is how to manage cars," Sulzberg said. "There is a great emphasis on the city side of how to get people into other modes of transport that do not drive their own cars."
But Uber is not a non-profit organization, and its motivations should not be seen as completely altruistic. Clearly, the company considers that the profits will be obtained in the exchange of bicycles, car sharing and the issuance of transit tickets. And for a company that has never been profitable, Uber closed 2017 with $ 3.2 billion in the well, the search for new sources of income outside of its main travel business is increasingly urgent.
"We are still very small as part of travel in general in this country and around the world," Sulzberg said. "One-digit percentage, 1 percent, give or take, so there's a lot of room to grow by adding more options in the application, it's not a new strategy for us, in terms of lower prices and new options."