A leading ridesharing and mobility company has intentions to offer additional transportation options to its customers, with plans to launch a super app for travel. Here’s the latest.
What Happened: Ridesharing company Uber Technologies Inc UBER offers vehicle transportation, food delivery and grocery delivery to many customers around the world.
Uber announced Wednesday that it will add trains, buses, planes and car rentals as transportation options for its customers in the United Kingdom later this year. The plans draw on Uber’s intent on having a travel “superapp.”
This doesn’t mean you will be able to hail a train for a quick ride, but rather Uber will partner with airlines, bus and rail operators and car rental companies.
Uber said the move will be a pilot that could be expanded to other countries
Uber hopes to be a “one-stop-shop for all your travel needs,” according to Uber Regional General Manager Northern & Eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood.
“Later this year we plan to incorporate flights, and in the future hotels, by integrating leading partners into the Uber app to create a seamless door-to-door travel experience,” Heywood said.
Why It’s Important: Uber plans to announce partners on the additional transportation services in the future and may take a cut on bookings from the partnered platforms.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in 2018 that more transportation options were planned for the app in the future.
The move by Uber could continue diversification for the company, which used to rely heavily on vehicle transportation of customers. A move into the food delivery market with Uber Eats helped the company better weather the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic than pure play rideshare rivals like Lyft Inc LYFT.
The mention of including airlines on the app could be worth watching for eVTOL companies, which are hoping to provide short trips and many moving to become the “Uber of the sky.”
eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) companies that have gone public over the last two years include Joby Aviation JOBY, Archer Aviation ACHR, Lilium LILM, Vertical Aerospace EVTL and Blade Air Mobility BLDE.
Joby Aviation stands out as a potential winner and potential partner company on the Uber superapp with Uber owning a stake in the company. Joby Aviation, which went public via SPAC merger, purchased Uber Elevate from Uber Technologies.
Uber Elevate was the company’s eVTOL division prior to the sale. Uber is now an investor in Joby, which plans to offer flights in high urban traffic areas that cost the same amount as a taxi ride.
A partnership between Uber and Joby seems natural given the investment and relationship.
eVTOL companies and the potential growth of the sector has caught the eye of Ark Invest and CEO Cathie Wood with Blade and Archer among the top 15 holdings in the Ark Autonomous Tech & Robotics ETF ARKQ.
Uber’s desire to partner with travel companies rather than build out new companies in-house could signal being a middle man in the travel industry and collecting booking fees along the way.
With Uber’s move into the space, a move by Lyft to partner with other transportation companies, including those in the food delivery and eVTOL space can’t be too far off.
Price Action: Benzinga Pro indicates that Uber shares are down 5.23% to $33.13 on Wednesday, versus a 52-week range of $28.27 to $61.50.
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