Stories

Uber's IPO shows it views mass transit as a competitor

Jalopnik's Aaron Gordon noticed something important in Uber's big IPO filing that underscores how ride-hailing can cannibalize mass-transit.

What they found: "While the filing does mention the company’s efforts to offer riders 'multi-modal trips' that may include public transportation should they choose, the vast majority of the filing’s mentions of public transit make plainly clear the company sees buses and trains as a competing service," Gordon writes.

  • "Far from being a partner in helping people move around cities, Uber regularly slots public transportation as 'competition' or an obstacle to the company’s 'growth strategy,'" the piece adds.

Why it matters: As we wrote about Friday, some analysts fear that the growth of Uber and similar services will stymie efforts to wring carbon out of transportation and lead to more congestion.

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva: It’s no surprise that multiple ride-hailing companies, including Uber and Lyft, were born in San Francisco — it’s a proven market where the local public transit doesn’t meet the needs of some residents.

  • Though it recently shut down, the Ford-acquired Chariot commuter bus service was a prime example as it provided a more comfortable alternative to popular bus routes for commuters willing to pay a bit more or who weren’t served by the city’s subways.
  • Similarly, Uber and Lyft’s carpooling options have also become popular among commuters, Kia adds.

Go deeper: How on-demand transportation could make public transit more efficient