Uber has plans to eliminate car ownership, take over the public transportation systems, and even fly you across cities.
Uber says this dream can become reality in just few years’ time, as it rolls out plans to become “Amazon of transportation.”
While last few years have been tough for Uber – it’s been plagued by toxic company culture and accused of avoiding regulations and ‘gaming’ the system — the new CEO is making sure Uber is on its best behavior.
The new peaceful strategy has resulted in Uber’s return to London — its largest European market — and more recently to Germany, after being kicked out early last year.
Uber has even partnered up with private taxi services and taxi companies in Germany that possess required licenses, so that it can start operating in the country as soon as possible.
Uber’s latest service — Ride Pass — is offering customers a subscription plan of $14.99 per month, or $24.99 in Los Angeles, to avoid surge pricing.
The new subscription option sounds appealing at first as riders can evade dynamically adjusted prices in the times of high demand, but Uber created this price-inconvenience in the first place.
Last year, when the New York City was caught in a heavy snow storm, Uber’s algorithm increased prices to over four times the regular price.
Last year Uber was hit by a class action lawsuit in California on the accusations that riders are charged more during the surge, whereas the drivers don’t always get the cut they are entitled to.
In other words, while Uber knows the exact distance a rider travels to, prices charged, and surge-price coefficient, neither drivers or riders have such information.
Uber has so far seized only 1 percent of transportation systems around the world, but it’s now ready to take a bigger chunk of the pie — cities’ entire public transportation system.
This raises the question whether it’s a good idea to have a for-profit ride-hailing company responsible for our public transportation, considering that in many cities buses and trains have been an affordable mode of transportation, accessible to all.
Possible, but unlikely considering that Uber, for example, has heavily resisted being regulated in the past, insisting that it’s a technology company and not a transportation company.
On the other hand, if safety standards are met, a private company such as Uber would be much quicker to adapt and implement technology that could be beneficial for us as users.
Some cities such as Innisfil, Canada and Summit, New Jersey, USA have already taken a radical step of letting Uber fill in the gaps where the public transportation comes short.
These cities are subsidizing Uber rides to meet residents’ transportation needs.
Ford’s Chariot, on the other hand, is creating an on-demand bus service, providing more flexibility than the traditional public transportation system.
Uber is already helping eligible drivers explore new professions by offering a full tuition coverage for an undergraduate degree, but it needs to do much more in the future in order to help drivers switch jobs when its strategic plans become reality.
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