CITY AIR TAXI TRIAL

UBER CON­SID­ERS CUT-COST 14-MIN FLIGHTS TO MEL­BOURNE

Geelong Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - DAVE CAIRNS

A 14-MINUTE trip from Gee­long to Mel­bourne on a fly­ing taxi is one of the po­ten­tial ser­vices be­ing flagged by Uber for its fu­tur­is­tic UberAIR pro­gram.

Gee­long Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Mark Ed­monds said the ex­cit­ing project would fur­ther en­hance Gee­long’s rep­u­ta­tion as a clever and cre­ative city.

A 14-MINUTE trip from Gee­long to Mel­bourne on a fly­ing taxi is one of the po­ten­tial ser­vices be­ing flagged by Uber for its fu­tur­is­tic UberAIR pro­gram.

The Uber El­e­vate team has this week been in Mel­bourne and Syd­ney in its search for an in­ter­na­tional trial site for the ser­vice in­volv­ing ver­ti­cal-take­off-and-land­ing air­craft.

Its Mel­bourne route exam- ples in­clude a flight from Mel­bourne Air­port to the CBD in five min­utes and Gee­long to Mel­bourne CBD in 14 min­utes.

UberAIR plans to fly from rooftop to rooftop on “ver­ti­ports”, with Los An­ge­les and Dal­las al­ready en­listed as launch cities. Test­ing is due to start in 2020.

It is look­ing for a third in­ter­na­tional city for the trial and, with Mel­bourne and Syd­ney on the short list, the com­pany this week met with both state gov­ern­ments and other stake­hold­ers.

The head of Uber Eats Aus­tralia, Jodie Auster, told a fu­ture of work fo­rum in Gee­long yes­ter­day that the ride-shar­ing app as­pired to pro­vide a plat­form for dif­fer­ent modes of trans­port from elec­tric bi­cy­cles to fly­ing cars.

“We are go­ing to find the best way to get you from A to B,” Ms Auster said.

“If you want to jump on an UberAIR, a ver­ti­cal take­off and land­ing ve­hi­cle, that maybe in Gee­long will take you to Mel­bourne in 14 min­utes and then hop off, and we know you need to get just two kilo­me­tres down the street, so we put you on an elec­tric bike.

“In the app, you will be able to nav­i­gate those op­tions seam­lessly.”

Uber es­ti­mates the to­tal end-to-end jour­ney for a Gee­long to Mel­bourne com­mute at 18 min­utes.

Gee­long Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Mark Ed­monds, who was at the fu­ture of work fo­rum, said the cham- ber would fol­low up with Uber to sup­port the trial com­ing to the city.

“We are re­ally im­pressed with what Uber is do­ing,” Mr Ed­monds said.

He said the ex­cit­ing project would fur­ther en­hance Gee­long’s rep­u­ta­tion as a clever and cre­ative city.

Ms Auster said new tech­nol­ogy would bring new trans­port op­tions as au­tonomous ve­hi­cles took driv­ers off the roads.

“They are go­ing to need thou­sands of pi­lots to be in these ver­ti­cal take­off and land­ing ve­hi­cles,” she said.

The themes of em­brac­ing change and on­go­ing skill de­vel­op­ment in the work­force were cen­tral to the Strong Aus­tralia fo­rum on the fu­ture of work hosted by the Busi­ness Coun­cil of Aus­tralia.

Sky News po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor David Speers fa­cil­i­tated the dis­cus­sion, which also in­volved MYOB chief ex­ec­u­tive Tim Reed and Aus­tralian Unity chief ex­ec­u­tive Ro­han Mead.

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