Nov 13, 2019

Uber CEO: More cars "not the answer"

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.

Go deeper

Uber's driverless technology strategy

Uber self-driving test vehicles in Pittsburgh. Photo: Angelo Merendino/AFP via Getty Images

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says the first AVs could be deployed on the ride-hailing network within three to five years, but other companies will bear the cost of owning and maintaining those self-driving cars.

Why it matters: Driverless technology is a key to profitability for Uber, which has warned investors to expect losses of almost $3 billion this year. But if all it does is replace the cost of a human driver with the overhead from managing its own fleet of self-driving cars, it won't be any closer to achieving a profit.

Go deeperArrowNov 15, 2019

Uber struggles with 'open secret' of shared driver accounts

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

Since London decided to revoke Uber's operating license, the city's transportation regulator found that 14,000 rides in late 2018 and early 2019 were completed by unverified drivers who had "rented" a real driver's account, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Uber says shared driver accounts are a global problem, including in the U.S. An Uber spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal the company has adjusted its policies in London to combat the issue, but it still not a "silver bullet."

Go deeperArrowNov 28, 2019

London declines to renew Uber's operating license

Photo: Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images

London's transportation agency declined Monday to renew Uber's license to operate, citing a "pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk."

Why it matters: London is one of Uber's biggest markets, so this is a significant blow to the company.

Uber commentArrowNov 25, 2019