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How Uber Plans on Reducing Personal Car Ownership

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How Uber Plans on Reducing Personal Car Ownership

Uber is expanding its business beyond ride-hailing, outlining plans to soon offer bike sharing and car sharing through the mobile app, along with mobility solutions for public transportation.

The transportation and technology giant purchased bike sharing app Jump earlier this week for a rumored sum of $100 million. Jump operates a fleet of dockless, electrically assisted bikes that can be rented out through its own mobile app. Uber will now operate a pilot project with Jump in San Francisco, allowing users in the city to reserve an electric bike from inside the Uber app. The NYC-based company has also been operating in Washington DC without the help of Uber since 2017.

Bike sharing is just the beginning, though. Uber wants to reduce personal car ownership on a global scale, and it’s going to need more than a fleet of electric bikes to do that. The company will launch ‘Uber Rent’ in San Francisco shortly, which will allow users to rent cars for a few hours, or even an entire day. It’s the result of a partnership between Uber and San Francisco-based startup Getaround, which operates an app-based peer-to-peer car sharing service in Washington, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, among others. Uber Rent could eventually expand outside of the Bay Area, but will initially only operate within the San Francisco region.

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Finally, there’s public transportation. As The Verge reports, Uber recently entered a partnership with London-based company Masabi, which specializes in mobile ticketing services. With Masabi’s help, Uber will allow users to buy and use transit tickets in its app. The logistics are still being worked out, however, and it’s not yet clear what city (or cities) the transportation ticketing pilot will launch in.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he’d one day like to expand on this idea, possibly organizing a service in which an Uber would be waiting for you once you got off the bus or subway, for example. Similarly, Khosrowshahi has said Uber would like to one day help to identify the most popular curbs in a city for customer drop-offs and turn them into designated spaces for ride-hailing. Such a service would not only make getting an Uber or Lyft in a city easier, but may help with traffic flow and could also be safer for both Uber drivers and passengers.

Amid controversies surrounding its self-driving car program, it seems Uber is investing in anything that isn’t an autonomous vehicle. And putting all opinions about the autonomous industry aside, it’s nice to see Uber investing in Jump and electric bikes – technology that is real, usable and can actually make a difference today.

[Source: WIRED, The Verge]