Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As new transportation options like bike and scooter rental services proliferate, ride-hailing companies are rushing to outfit their mobile apps with as many services as possible, including public transit.

Yes, but: They still have to compete with Google Maps, the 800-pound gorilla in this realm —which is also their business partner.

"Just like Amazon sells third-party goods, we are going to also offer third-party transportation services," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said last year. "So we wanna kinda be the Amazon for transportation."

For years, both Uber's and Lyft's U.S. apps offered only their various car ride services.

  • Over the years, the companies gradually added more options, including higher-end ride services as well as carpooling.
  • They also experimented with special discounts and drop-off locations for riders heading to major public transit hubs.

With the boom in bike and scooter rentals last year, both companies started adding new transportation options to their apps.

  • In February 2018, Uber inked a partnership with JUMP in San Francisco and made its electric bike rentals available to some customers via its app.
  • Shortly after, Uber acquired JUMP, announced it would add scooters to its arsenal, and even inked a partnership with Lime to include its scooters in its own app in some cities.
  • Meanwhile, Lyft acquired bike-sharing operator Motivate and has begun to roll out Lyft-branded scooters in a small number of cities. (At one point, Lyft was also exploring a partnership with scooter startup Spin, as Axios reported.)
  • Uber has also experimented with car rentals via a partnership with startup Getaround, though it recently suspended a pilot rental service for Uber riders. It continues to offer rentals to Uber drivers who need a car.
  • In September, Lyft started adding public transit information in its app, now available in a handful of cities, while Uber made its first foray last month, starting with Denver.

The big picture: Expanding their apps' services only makes these companies' relationships with Google Maps more complicated.

  • Despite strongly prohibiting third parties from creating "aggregator" apps that display both companies' services side by side, both Uber and Lyft have long made an exception for Google Maps. For years now, Google Maps users have been able to see Uber and Lyft rides in the app with routes, get approximate fares and hail a ride via the respective apps.
  • Last year, Google also inked a partnership with Lime to make its bike and scooter rentals available as a transportation option to users in some cities.
  • And of course, Google Maps has long made it possible for users to plan a route via public transit and even compare it to alternatives like driving and walking.
  • All this has made Google Maps the original all-in-one transportation planning app.

Payments for transportation also remain a tricky area.

  • A year ago Uber inked a partnership with Masabi, which handles ticket payments for 30 public transit agencies, but has yet to make that available. (The company says that's coming soon — first in Denver, where it integrated transit data.)
  • In 2017 Google Maps announced it would provide the ability to book and pay for an Uber ride via its own app, but the short-lived experiment ended the next year. A separate app for Android, Google Pay, does let users pay for some local transit services.
  • Meanwhile, some smaller players, like transportation apps Transit and Citymapper, have been able to make inroads in local transit purchases.

The bottom line: Uber and Lyft have an opportunity to broaden their apps' value by integrating more information and services with them. But they'll have to improve fast to best Google and persuade users that their apps are good for more than summoning a car.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Blinken protests Israel settlements approval in "tense" phone call

Benny Gantz (L) and Tony Blinken. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken protested the decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank during a tense phone call on Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time new construction in the settlements has been approved since President Biden assumed office, and the Biden administration had been privately pressing the Israeli government not to proceed.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.