Uber to open en­gi­neer­ing hub

Chief ex­ec­u­tive wants ser­vice to be ‘one-stop shop for mo­bil­ity in any city’

The Peterborough Examiner - - Business | Classified - TARA DESCHAMPS

Uber Tech­nolo­gies Inc. is build­ing a roadmap to be­come more than a ride-hail­ing app and it’s chief ex­ec­u­tive is in­di­cat­ing Toronto will fig­ure into that tran­si­tion.

Dara Khos­row­shahi hinted at global plans for bus and train ser­vices, the ex­pan­sion of its Jump bike and e-scooter rentals, more part­ner­ships with pub­lic tran­sit providers and au­tonomous ve­hi­cle ef­forts in an in­ter­view with The Cana­dian Press, where he stressed how im­por­tant the city is to the com­pany’s growth.

“We need to move be­yond the car as be­ing the main ur­ban trans­porta­tion mech­a­nism. I be­lieve a revo­lu­tion is com­ing,” he said.

“We re­ally want Uber to be the one-stop shop for mo­bil­ity in any city.”

He made the re­marks while he was in Toronto for the first time in his role with Uber to an­nounce a new en­gi­neer­ing hub — the com­pany’s eighth out­side of the U.S. — and a $200-mil­lion ex­pan­sion of its self-driv­ing ve­hi­cle cen­tre in the city.

Both are ex­pected to help the San Fran­cisco-based tech giant build and up­date its in­fra­struc­ture so it can con­tinue to scale and of­fer more fea­tures and prod­ucts to riders, driv­ers and cities.

The mo­bil­ity revo­lu­tion he said he is sens­ing will cen­tre around sin­gle-oc­cu­pancy elec­tric bikes and scoot­ers, which he called “mag­i­cal.”

In March, Uber ac­quired Jump Bikes, an elec­tric, dock-less bike­shar­ing ser­vice it pi­loted in San Fran­cisco, and in July it teamed up with Lime to bring elec­tric scoot­ers to its app in some mar­kets.

“I hope that they show up here,” Khos­row­shahi said. “It’s some­thing that be­longs in ev­ery city out there.”

He is even eye­ing some more se­ri­ous modes of trans­porta­tion.

“We want Uber to make bus ser­vice avail­able or train ser­vice as well,” he said.

But be­fore any of those lofty plans can hap­pen, he ad­mit­ted, “there’s a huge amount of work to be done.”

Uber in­tro­duced a part­ner­ship in 2017 with the town of In­n­is­fil, Ont., north of Toronto, that of­fers flat-fare rides be­tween se­lect des­ti­na­tions as an al­ter­na­tive to build­ing a tra­di­tional pub­lic tran­sit sys­tem.

In­n­is­fil has es­ti­mated it will save the town more than $8 mil­lion a year, when com­pared with run­ning a tra­di­tional bus ser­vice.

How­ever, the com­pany is still fac­ing op­po­si­tion to its ser­vice and strug­gles with reg­u­la­tion in nu­mer­ous big cities around the globe, in­clud­ing Van­cou­ver.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Uber will in­vest more than $200 mil­lion over five years on ex­pand­ing its Ad­vanced Tech­nolo­gies Group Re­search & Devel­op­ment Cen­tre.

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