As part of the previous announcement, Uber-CEO Khosrowshahi also announced that the company is expanding its recently acquired bike-share service, Jump, to Washington, D.C., where there is an existing dockless bike-share pilot and several competitors.
Uber is also beginning to work with local Washington, D.C., regulators to establish a data-sharing pilot that the company hopes can be replicated in other cities. In addition to that pilot in D.C., the company is making its anonymized traffic data available in 12 more cities including Amsterdam, Bangalore, Brisbane, Cairo, Hyderabad, Melbourne, Mumbai, Nairobi, Perth, Pittsburgh and Toronto.
This willingness to share nonproprietary data to help cities better maintain and operate infrastructure is an about-face from the Uber of the past. The ride-hail company spent much of its early existence fighting off any attempts made by local regulators to gain access to varying degrees of its anonymized data.
But it’s an important means of showing good will. Khosrowshahi is trying to tell cities that the Uber of today is a “true partner” — and not the combative, “ask for forgiveness, not permission” startup of the past.
His announcement today echoes a sentiment Khosrowshahi expressed in the days after London regulators decided to ban Uber in the city. In a memo to staff, Khosrowshahi wrote:
Going forward, it’s critical that we act with integrity in everything we do, and learn how to be a better partner to every city we operate in. That doesn’t mean abandoning our principles—we will vigorously appeal TfL’s decision—but rather building trust through our actions and our behavior. In doing so, we will show that Uber is not just a really great product, but a really great company that is meaningfully contributing to society, beyond its business and its bottom line.
For some, the idea of Uber becoming the dominant bundle provider for most transportation transactions in a city may be cause for concern. But it could increase utilization of public transit, e-bikes and car-rental services by simply making it easier to access those things.
- Uber’s playing nice with data, for example in Amsterdam.