Ride-sharing giant Uber is reportedly attempting to strike a deal with government transit agencies to replace certain elements of public transport in major cities around the world.
A recent report from Quartz states that the ride-sharing service Uber has begun shifting its focus away from self-driving cars and robotaxis and is now attempting to replace portions of public transit systems worldwide.
In January, Uber published a 52-page report on what it aims to do for public transportation, amid a crisis that has hollowed out transit agency budgets and sent ridership on a steep decline. The company’s pitch to government officials includes several options: Transit agencies can pay Uber to provide rides to people traveling to and from transit stations , or to replace inefficient routes with Uber service. They also can buy routing software to guide both pre-planned and on-demand trips, or allow users to plan, book, pay for, or navigate any trip on public transportation straight from the Uber app.
The hope is that sometime in the next three to five years, while standing at a transit platform, you will be able to pull up an Uber app featuring various fare offerings you can purchase, whether that’s for the bus, subway, scooters, bikes, or ride-sharing.
Numerous analysts, academics, and bloggers have tried to answer whether Uber is a friend or foe of public transportation. Covid-19 may have clarified the status: In the past year, Ivan Mihov, head of strategy and planning for Uber Transit and a co-author of the company’s report, says that interest on the part of public transit agencies has increased.
Mihov reportedly stated: “We start to see a future where public transportation is much more of a public-private partnership, but agencies are the ones with that in control. We’re just improving their tool box.”
Uber’s ride business has taken a hit during the pandemic and the firm has sold off divisions that it was banking on to produce profits in the future, such as its air taxis and autonomous vehicles. But Mihov notes that Uber’s Transit team of 220 employees has not diminished during the pandemic. Mihov stated that “it’s still one of the bets within Uber” with “an area of growth and opportunity.”
Read more at Quartz here.
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