Nov 13, 2019 - Technology

Uber CEO: More cars "not the answer"

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo by PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty Images

In an interview last week with "Axios on HBO," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said its business has to "radically shift how it grows" to avoid wearing out its welcome in cities.

Why it matters: That means investing in fleet electrification and convincing people to take alternative modes of transportation like Uber buses, electric bikes and scooters are key goals for the company — which doesn't have a history of playing nice with cities.

"We are guests on the streets of the cities in which we operate. And we have to make sure that our growth is always in concert with the regulators, etc. ... More cars is not the answer."
— Dara Khosrowshahi

The big picture: In many places, Uber is the face of the gig-economy and all the baggage that comes with it — like tensions around driver pay, lack of benefits for workers and, in terms of transportation, increased congestion. (Khosrowshahi points out drivers are making more and like the schedule flexibility.)

What's next: Uber wants to be the "operating system for your everyday life, anyway you want to get around or anything that you want delivered to you."

  • Uber Eats is a model that will expand to grocery and other items like medicine. Even taking the subway (though that won't make money for Uber) may be part of that network.
  • "Using Uber for us means that we become an everyday use case and we can help you depending on what you need and want, not depending on what makes us money," Khosrowshahi said.

Reality check: Uber essentially wants to be a platform for moving around your city. But it's becoming a tougher time to be a massive platform company as the anti-Big-Tech climate persists.

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