Uber users will be able to book e-bikes, buy public transit tickets and rent a car via the Uber app — and it’s all part of a bigger plan
Uber wants to be the app that connects people to all types of transportation, not just car rides, writes Johana Bhuiyan on RecodeNet.
Uber isn’t just a ride-hailing service anymore — or at least the company is trying not to be. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced that the company would soon allow customers to buy public transit tickets and rent a car in Uber’s app, via a series of partnerships.
Uber has long billed itself as much more than a ride-hailing service. But this signals the next big step in its evolution into a broader transportation platform. Uber wants to own a piece of every trip that happens in cities, from e-bikes to public transit — even if it’s not an Uber-operated service.
Soon, customers will be able to buy public transit tickets in the Uber app in 12 cities like New York (commuter rail), Los Angeles and New Orleans through a deal with online ticketing platform Masabi. And in eight cities in the U.S., Uber users will be able to rent a car from Getaround, a rental startup, right in the app.
The big picture: Uber envisions a world with little personal car ownership, one where people would rely more heavily on using services like Uber. And it wants to prime its user base by providing access to multiple means of transportation that meet a variety of needs that makes it easier to ditch their cars.
It’s also an opportunity for Uber to benefit from transportation transactions that happen off of the company’s platform.
The company did not reveal the details of the logistics of the deals, such as Uber’s financial relationships with Getaround and Masabi.
But if it can create a useful interface for planning and booking so-called “multi-modal” routes, which combine multiple types of transportation — such as an Uber ride to the nearest commuter rail station — it could be a win-win.
And specifically by connecting customers to public transit, Uber is attempting to counter narratives that its services are the antithesis to city infrastructure, and that it takes customers — and, therefore, revenue — away from public transit agencies.
To be sure, it’s unlikely Uber will ever be able to replicate the scale of public transit, even with its many bus-like services like Express Pool. Under Khosrowshahi, Uber is attempting to build an image of a company that’s not just open to working with cities, but one that proactively does so.
- Uber wants to be much more than a ride-hailing service.