Uber is announcing two more expansions of its reach to two more forms of transport, including a pilot project in San Francisco that will let users rent a vehicle from within the app and also a ticketing solution which will allow passengers to buy and use tickets from within Uber’s app, too.
Wired magazine reports that this is on top of its other solutions for those who don’t mind sharing a journey, (UberPool), and for those who don’t mind walking (Uber Express Pool) as well as on-demand food (UberEats) and connecting lorries with things that need moving (UberFreight) as well as the recent acquisition of Jump Bikes which puts people on shared, electric bicycles.
The report adds that Uber “has spent most of its life” vying to monopolise the ride-sharing space, and as it looks toward an initial public offering in 2019, it appears to have settled on a new strategy: killing the personal car, and owning every part of the urban transportation ecosystem.
“If you really want to provide something that can replace the car in people’s lives, you want to have more than ride-sharing,” Wired quotes Andrew Salzberg, Uber’s transportation policy chief.
The magazine then paints this scenario, “A family that really wants to give up their vehicle (or their second vehicle) can’t depend on UberX alone. It’s too expensive. But now, mum could reserve an electric bike for her commute back home, dad could rent a minivan for his biweekly grocery trip, and the resident teen could order delivery because she hates dad’s cooking—all while that weird cousin borrows the actual family car to go on a camping trip. And come the weekend, the whole clan could reserve train tickets to visit grandma in the suburbs. They could all do it without leaving the Uber app. Call it … UberLife.”
“Sometimes timing is not on our side: The market isn’t mature enough, the tech isn’t mature enough, the user isn’t ready,” Susan Shaheen, a University of California, Berkeley civil engineer who has studied mobility services for decades told the magazine. “At what point does this all come together and suddenly take off?”
“Uber and its competitors are betting that time is now, for a few reasons,” the Wired report adds. “First, Uber itself helped change people’s feelings about sharing stuff. Second, the smartphone has enabled a suite of GPS-powered services that help transportation options get to you, or you to them. Third, Uber is willing to pour a lot of money into the enterprise, to force broader mobility services into being.”